Columbus, GA – Finding themselves one game away from playing for the PBC Tournament championship, the Saints were unable to hold off Augusta State, falling in consecutive days to the Jaguars, including a 7-5 loss on Wednesday evening at Golden Park.
The Jaguars (24-29) followed a familiar pattern on Wednesday as they again put up a crooked number in the first inning and built a 5-1 lead through four. Single runs in the sixth and seventh built a comfortable cushion and the Jaguar pitching staff and defense did the rest.
Kip Custer (1-3) was strong into the seventh, striking out four NG hitters and scattering seven hits. The win was his first of the season. He allowed two earned runs before leaving with one away in the seventh. Chase Johnson took at that point and pitched into the ninth. Patrick Lowe earned his second save by getting the final two outs of the contest.
ASU took advantage of three North Georgia errors in the first inning to grab the early lead. After back-to-back hits by Caleb Saggus and Jake Sutton to start the frame, the Saints defense came a bit unglued on a sacrifice bunt play as Tristan Toorie reached base on the mis-played bunt and Saggus scored on a wild throw to compound the damage. Sutton, who reached third on the play, came home on a Casey Hanrahan sacrifice fly to make it 2-0.
North Georgia (34-20) cut the lead in half in the top of the second as Dustin Carpenter plated Terrell Jones on a sacrifice fly to make it 2-1. The Saints would not tally again until the seventh inning.
ASU got another gift run in the third as Alex Walker drew a bases-loaded walk to score Toorie. The Jags would add two more in the fourth on a Sutton RBI single and a Toorie sacrifice fly. Walker added another RBI in the sixth, this time on a single to make it 6-1 at that point.
Derek Hooper drove home Alan Frederiksson with a base hit for the Saints in the top of the seventh, but the Jaguars again had an answer as Saggus delivered an RBI single to score Colby Adeeb for the 7-2 lead.
The Saints tried put together a rally in the top of the ninth, scoring a single run on a wild pitch and loading the bases as Troy Snitker was hit by a pitch. ASU then called on Patrick Lowe to try and quell the uprising. He plunked Jones to drive home another run and another scored on a passed ball to make it 7-5. With the tying run at second base, Lowe fanned Kenny Bellavance on a breaking pitch and got Chad Sage looking at a pitch on the inside corner to end the game.
North Georgia got two hits each from Hooper, Jones, and Brad Hall as they tallied 10 safeties in the contest. Michael Patton (2-3) and took the loss for the Saints as he went 5.2 innings and allowed six runs on seven hits with five walks. Alex Simmons and Daniel Warzon finished up for NGC on the mound.
Sutton led a 10-hit attack for the Jags by going 3-5 with a run scored and an RBI. Saggus and Jeff Rice each added two hits in the game.
ASU will now take on UNC Pembroke in the title game on Thursday. The matchup sets up a battle between two teams who have never been to the PBC Tournament title game. First pitch is set for 1 p.m. at historic Golden Park.