After setting a school record with a 16-game winning streak earlier in the season, the Lady Jaguars were in a five-game slump.
In their previous four contests, they failed to score a run.
Then with family and friends watching, Augusta State’s seniors had the pressure of performing well against a quality Flagler squad.
“There’s no pressure if we played like we’re capable of,” Thornton said. “We just needed to play relaxed.”
On the strength of a Thornton blast in the first game, the Lady Jaguars rode the momentum to a sweep over the Lady Saints, 2-1 and 3-0.
Augusta State improved to 30-12, marking the fourth consecutive season the team has won 30 or more games.
The Lady Jags were well on their way to hitting the 30-win mark again, until their recent slump.
Then, they bounced back in a much-needed way.
“We definitely hoped coming in we’d be able to pick up what we had earlier in the season,” said Lady Jaguars coach Melissa Mullins, whose team plays host to Peach Belt Conference leader Armstrong Atlantic State in a doubleheader, starting at 2 p.m. today.
“We had a good week of practice. Earlier in the week, I felt like we’re back. We’re relaxed more. And we’re having fun again.”
The sweep comes at a crucial time for an Augusta State squad with designs on making another Division II Tournament appearance.
The Lady Jaguars, ranked fourth in the Southeast Region notched a pair of quality wins against Flagler, which is sixth in the region, and solidified their postseason chances.
“We try not to think about it,” said right-hander Emily Headrick, who notched the win in the first game to improve to 15-4. “But it’s in the back of our minds.”
In the first game against Flagler, Thornton blasted a two-run homer to left in the fourth inning to give Augusta State a 2-1 lead.
Headrick did the rest, going the distance for the win.
In the second game, Heather Hughes limited Lady Saints batters to five hits in the shutout win.
Macy Terry hit her second double of the day in the second inning to plate Augusta State’s first run.
It was all the Lady Jaguars needed.