DAHLONEGA, GA – North Georgia jumped out
to a lead in game one, but 29th-ranked Francis Marion rallied to
take the opener 5-3, before plating five runs in the eighth to
steal the nightcap 9-3 over the Saints Sunday afternoon in PBC
The Saints fall to 18-16 overall and 9-8 in the Peach Belt Conference, while the Patriots improve to 21-10-1 overall and 9-6 in the league.
In game one, North Georgia put two runs on the board in the second inning on three hits and a sacrifice fly to take a 2-0 lead. Logan Sharrett singled home Zach Bennett for the first run of the game, and Craig Brisson sent a fly ball to centerfield to bring Daniel Petitti racing home for a 2-0 advantage.
Francis Marion pulled to within a run in the fourth inning, plating a two-out run as Preston Shuey reached on an error, allowing Martin Gordon to score and make it 2-1.
The Saints added another run in the last of the fourth off a Davy Wallach solo home run, his first of the year, to make it 3-1. The Patriots came right back in the fifth inning to tie the game on a leadoff home run by Austin Smetana and an infield single by Gordon later in the frame to make it 3-3.
Smetana gave Francis Marion their first lead of the game in the sixth inning with a single up the middle, bringing Shuey and Keon Graves home to give the Patriots a 5-3 advantage that they would never relinquish.
David Walters (5-2) picked up the win for Francis Marion, tossing 7.0 innings and giving up three runs on 10 hits while striking out five.
James Wiley (1-3) suffered the loss, lasting 5.2 innings and allowing eight hits and four earned runs while striking out one and walking three.
In game two, it was the Patriots' turn to score first, using a solo home run from Barrett Kleinknecht to lead off the third inning and give Francis Marion a 1-0 lead.
Josh Edgin held the Saints hitless until the sixth inning when Andre Airich sent a laser single up the middle to bring Sharrett racing home from second and tie the game 1-1. Sharrett had reached on an error and advanced to second on a sacrifice fly before Airich came through with the clutch hit.
Francis Marion was not to be denied however, responding in the eighth inning with five runs on as many hits to take a five-run lead. Shuey singled home the first run of the inning, before Trent Knight stepped to the plate and doubled home two more to make it 4-1. Kleinknecht then stepped to the dish and delivered a single down the first base line, plating two more runs and giving the Patriots a 6-1 advantage.
North Georgia rallied back in the bottom half of the eighth, scoring a pair of runs on a single up the middle by Airich and a sacrifice fly by Adam Baker to make it 6-3.
Francis Marion added a trio of insurance runs in the ninth inning to take game two 9-3. Smetana singled up the middle to plate the first run of the inning before Alex Lee tripled to right center, bringing home two more runs to create the six-run advantage.
Blake Hobby (2-3) suffered the loss for the Saints, giving up three hits and as many runs in the eighth inning.
Josh Edgin (1-1) picked up the win for the Patriots, lasting 7.0 innings and giving up one run on just one hit while striking out four and walking two.
These same two teams will play the series finale Monday afternoon with first pitch set for 1:00 p.m. at Bob Stein Stadium.