AUGUSTA, GA – North Georgia split a
doubleheader with Augusta State University Saturday afternoon,
falling 16-8 in game one before rallying in the ninth inning to
take the nightcap 8-7 over the Jaguars in Peach Belt Conference
North Georgia moves to 20-19 overall and 11-9 in the Peach Belt Conference with the doubleheader split, while Augusta State is now 19-20 on the season and 7-7 in the league.
In game one, Augusta State jumped all over the Saints in the early going, putting four runs on the board in the first inning, and adding six more in the third to take a 10-0 lead.
Wilkerson opened up the scoring in the opening frame with one of his three hits and four RBI’s in the game as he singled to center field to make it 1-0. Tristan Toorie and Evan Smith added run scoring hits later in the frame to complete the four-run first inning.
The Jaguars continued to add runs in the third inning, this time on a grand slam off the bat of Jorge Virguez to make it 8-0. Toorie walked to force in a run and Kevin Owens pushed another run across with a sacrifice fly as ASU took a commanding 10-0 third-inning lead.
The Saints put their first run on the board in the sixth inning as Adam Baker sent a sacrifice fly to center field to plate Jordan Erisman and make it 10-1. ASU answered the North Georgia run with five more of their own in the bottom of the sixth to jump out to a 15-1 lead. Wilkerson provided the fireworks with a three-run homer, while Alex Walker singled home a pair of runs to open up the 14-run lead for the Jaguars.
North Georgia woke up at the plate in the seventh inning with six runs on four hits and two Jaguar errors to make it 15-7. Andre Airich drove home the first run of the frame with a fielder’s choice, while Daniel Petitti and Davy Wallach each added run scoring hits to pull the Saints to within eight runs.
Both teams added single runs in the eighth inning to give Augusta State a 16-8 game one victory. Chris Tyler (4-1) picked up the win for the Jaguars, lasting 6.0 innings and allowing three runs, one earned, on six hits while striking out 10.
James Wiley (1-4) suffered the loss, allowing 10 runs on 10 hits while walking a pair in 2.1 innings of work.
Walker finished the opener 4-6 at the plate with three RBI’s, while Virguez and Wilkerson each added three hits and four runs batted in with a home run.
Airich paced North Georgia at the plate, collecting three hits in five chances while driving in a run.
In game two, Augusta State jumped on top again in the first inning, this time using a two-out rally and stringing together three straight hits to take a 2-0 advantage. Tim Rawlings doubled to left center to bring home the first run of the game, and Owens singled home Rawlings to make it 2-0.
North Georgia answered right back in the second inning with a four spot to take their first lead of the afternoon. Logan Sharrett singled to score Bennett for the first run of the inning, and Ross Book delivered his first long ball of the year later in the frame, a three-run blast to right center to give the Saints a 4-2 lead.
In the third inning, Wilkerson collected his second hit of the game and his first home run of the game, a solo shot to make it 4-3.
After North Georgia extended their lead back to two runs on an Erisman double in the fifth inning to plate Petitti, the Jaguars followed in the last of the fifth with a pair of solo home runs to tie the game. Wilkerson recorded his second blast of the game with two outs, and Rawlings followed and delivered a long ball to center field, giving the Jaguars back-to-back home runs to make it 5-5 after five innings.
Augusta State chased North Georgia starter Tyler Musslewhite in the sixth inning as Virguez singled up the middle to bring Tony Baker home and give the Jaguars a 6-5 advantage.
After a scoreless seventh, North Georgia knotted the score once again on a Book single to right field to plate Wallach and tie the game once again, this time at 6-6.
The Saints would take the lead for good in the ninth, using just one hit to take an 8-6 lead. Zach Bennett broke the tie with a single to center field, and Wallach drove home another run later in the inning with a sacrifice bunt as Airich scored on the play.
Wilkerson continued his showcase in the last of the ninth with his third solo home run of the game, bringing the Jaguars to within a run, but Blake Hobby struck out Robbie Downing to end the game and give North Georgia an 8-7 victory.
Hobby (3-3) recorded the victory in relief, tossing the final 3.2 innings and allowing just three hits and one earned while striking out five.
Patrick Lowe (2-4) was tagged with the loss in relief, lasting 1.0 inning and allowing two runs on as many hits while walking one.
Wilkerson finished his career game with four hits, including three home runs and three runs batted in.
Book made the most of his second start of the season, recording three hits in four attempts while driving in four, including a three run home run.
The Jaguars and Saints will play the rubber game of the series Sunday afternoon with first pitch slated for 1:00 p.m.