– The 16th-ranked North Georgia baseball team out-dueled the
Lander Bearcats in a middle innings game of home run derby as the
Saints came out on top 11-3 in game two of a three-game weekend set
at Bob Stein Stadium in Peach Belt Conference action.
The Saints avenge a series opening loss and improve to 21-9 on the year, and 10-4 in the Peach Belt Conference, while the Bearcats fall to 18-10 overall and 4-7 in league action.
Lander scored the game’s first run in the third inning on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Bud Lanier, sending Michael Vesnesky racing for a 1-0 Bearcat advantage.
The Saints came back and scored a run in the bottom half of the inning on a Craig Brisson single, plating Daniel Petitti and knotting the score at a run apiece. North Georgia played long ball in the fourth inning as Chad Sage led off with a solo shot the other away, giving the junior his 11th home run of the season and the Saints their first lead of the day at 2-1.
North Georgia was far from finished in the fourth as a single and a walk put a pair on base for Anders Oster who legged out a swinging bunt to third base to load the bases with two outs. Craig Brisson followed and found the same jet stream Sage did earlier in the inning with a fly to right field, just clearing the fence and giving the Lawrenceville, Ga., native a grand slam and capping the five-run inning.
Lander responded in the fifth inning with back-to-back solo homers to cut the North Georgia lead to three at 6-3. Joe Tebaldi led off the inning with his first home of the season to right field, and Devin Ridlehoover followed with a no-doubter to straight away center, putting a lid on the two-run frame for the Bearcats.
North Georgia continued to add to the score with a single run in the fifth inning as Sage led off and reached on an error before advancing all the way around to third on the play. Kenny Bellavance followed and singled down the left field line to plate Sage and make it a 7-3 lead.
Four more runs came home in the seventh to give the Saints their largest lead of the day at 11-3. Davy Wallach drove in the first run with a double down the left field, and Oster followed with his third hit of the day, a double of his own to left field to send to more runs racing to the plate. Oster came home to score the final run of the frame on a sacrifice fly to center field by Jordan Erisman to create the eight-run lead.
Blake Hobby (5-1) tossed his first complete game of the year, allowing six hits and all three Lander runs while striking out 10. Darrin Tew (4-4) suffered the loss in 5.0 innings of work, allowing seven runs on nine hits while walking two and striking out three.
These same two teams will play the third and final game of the three-game set on Saturday evening with first pitch set for 5:00 p.m. at Bob Stein Stadium.