(DAHLONEGA) – The No. 8 University of North Georgia softball team kicked things off in the 2024 NCAA Southeast Regional with a 4-0 win over seventh-seeded Flagler at Haines & Carolyn Hill Stadium at Lynn Cottrell Park Thursday afternoon.

After all games in the Southeast Region #2 Tournament were pushed back a total of three hours from their original start times due to inclement weather, the Nighthawks finally took the field at 5 p.m. to begin another postseason run.

With senior pitcher Tybee Denton in the circle, UNG kept Flagler scoreless in the win, nixing every opportunity the Saints had at putting runs on the board.

The Nighthawks got on the board first after senior right fielder Madison Simmons reached on an error and eventually came around to score on a sacrifice fly from senior third baseman Gracie Mixson.

While the throw from Flagler left fielder Kyla Knier beat Simmons to the plate, catcher Emily Ricci was called for obstruction and Simmons was ruled safe. This marked the second time in a week Ricci was the victim of an obstruction call, after a very similar play happened between the Nighthawks and Saints last weekend in the Peach Belt Conference Tournament.

On the next pitch, junior shortstop Rylie Moody placed a line drive single into left field to score sophomore first baseman Marycille Brumby from third. UNG led 2-0 after two innings.

Flagler had a great chance to respond with a run in the next half inning. PBC All-Conference shortstop Sydney Stewart had a bloop triple with one out after her pop faded away from Simmons and UNG sophomore second baseman Katie Ward.

However, Denton got out of the inning after a pop out and strikeout in the next two at bats to strand Stewart.

In the home half of the frame, senior catcher Georgia Blair pounded a double off the wall in left field with one out. Then, with two outs in the inning, Simmons clobbered her second home run of the season with a towering shot over the left field wall.

The blast gave the Nighthawks a 4-0 advantage heading into the fourth inning.

As the game continued, Denton only allowed five base runners in the game, stranding all of them before the Saints could capitalize. Denton finished her 22nd complete game and 11th shutout of the year with seven complete innings, four hits allowed, three walks and four strikeouts.

With the win, the UNG advances to the next round of the regionals and will face third-seeded Francis Marion who took down sixth-seeded Columbus State 8-0 (5 Inn.) Thursday.

Friday’s matchup between the Nighthawks and the No. 19 Patriots will mark their first meeting since 2021 and their 41st in history. UNG is 36-4 all-time against FMU and has not lost since 2008.

First pitch takes place at 12 p.m. from Haines & Carolyn Hill Stadium. Game four between CSU and Flagler follows at 2:30 p.m. Should the Nighthawks win against FMU, they will advance to Saturday’s game in which they’ll have a trip to the Super Regional on the line. The loser between UNG and FMU plays again Friday at 5 p.m. against the winner between the Cougars and Saints.