April 26, 2008

#24 Saints escape with 5-3 win over Emory

North Georgia honors Neil Krock and Chris Curtis on senior day

DAHLONEGA, GA - North Georgia College & State University jumped out to an early lead Saturday evening, and held off a furious ninth-inning rally by Emory University to take a 5-3 win on senior night in non-conference action.

The 24th-ranked Saints improve to 34-18 on the year, while Emory University ends their regular season with a record of 25-11-1 and likely headed to the Division III tournament.

North Georgia jumped on top early with single runs in the first two innings for a 2-0 advantage. Andre Airich brought the first run to the plate in the opening inning with a two-out single up the middle to plate Kevin Morrison for a 1-0 lead. Neil Krock sent Chad Sage racing home in the second inning with a sacrifice fly to center, giving North Georgia a 2-0 second inning lead.

Emory answered with a single run in the sixth to cut the Saints lead in half as Frank Pfister guided a single up the middle, bringing Dan Molner home to make it 2-1. North Georgia came right back in the bottom of the inning with three runs of their own however, as Airich added another RBI, this time on a double to left center, scoring Morrison to make it 3-1. Josh Tate followed with a double of his own with a liner that one-hopped the fence in left-center to score Airich. Tate would then steal third and score on a wild pitch, capping a three-run sixth inning for the Saints and making it 5-1.

The game would be far from over however, as Emory University came out in the ninth and quickly lined two singles off North Georgia starter Chris Curtis to chase the senior in his final home game. The Eagles used four hits in the final frame, including an RBI single to left field off the bat of Andrew Cohen, plating Michael Saleh and making it a 5-3 game. The Saints would call on Caleb Copeland, the fourth pitcher of the inning, to record the final out, striking out Molner to save it for Curtis and give North Georgia a 5-3 senior night win over Emory.

Chris Curtis (8-2) picked up the win for the Saints, going eight innings and allowing nine hits and three runs while striking out five. Copeland converted his second save of the season, coming in and striking out the final batter on three pitches.

Julian Smith (3-2) was tagged with the loss for Emory, tossing six innings and allowing six hits and five earned runs while striking out four.

North Georgia (34-18) will hit the road for their final regular season series of the year, facing Flagler in a four game set starting Wednesday at 4:00 p.m.