DAHLONEGA, GA – The North Georgia baseball team held a late lead on Sunday afternoon, but 15th-ranked Francis Marion University rallied with an eighth-inning home run to snag the series finale 4-3 at Bob Stein Stadium in Peach Belt Conference action.
The Saints drop their second straight game, falling to 22-15 overall and 8-13 in the Peach Belt Conference action, while Francis Marion wins the series with back-to-back victories, improving to 29-10 overall and 13-5 in league play.
North Georgia broke a scoreless tie and jumped out top in the fifth inning when Derek Hooper came through with a two-out base knock, drilling a double to left field and sending Kenny Bellavance racing home to give the Saints a 1-0 lead.
The Patriots erased the lead in the bottom half of the inning when Preston Shuey launched his second long ball in as many days, a solo shot to right center to knot the score up at 1-1.
The Saints jumped back in front in the sixth inning when Bellavance connected with the first home run of his collegiate campaign, a two-run shot to give North Georgia the lead right back, this time at 3-1.
Francis Marion continued to trail by a pair of runs until the eighth inning when Martin Gordan stepped to the plate with two on and two out and drilled a three-run home run to left field, erasing the Patriots' deficit and giving FMU a 4-3 advantage.
The Saints were held hitless over the final two innings as Francis Marion held on for the 4-3 victory and series win. Patrick Mincey (2-2) was the winner, tossing the final 3.0 innings and allowing just one hit, while striking out three. Jacob Rickett (4-2) suffered the loss in relief, throwing 1.1 innings and allowing the three-run home run to Gordon.
The Saints return to action on Wednesday evening, traveling to Anderson University to battle the Trojans in non-conference action. First pitch is set for 6:00 p.m. at Anderson Memorial Stadium.