PEMBROKE, NC – North Georgia saw a win
slip from their grasp in the opener as Braves used a walk homer for
a 7-5 victory, but the Saints rallied in extra innings to take game
two 2-1 in 10 innings and split a doubleheader with UNC Pembroke
Saturday afternoon in Peach Belt Conference action.
The Saints move to 16-14 on the season, and 8-6 in the Peach Belt Conference as they put a lid on a seven game slide. UNC Pembroke is now 19-10 overall and 3-7 in the league after the doubleheader split.
In game one, North Georgia got on the board first in the second inning with a two-run blast off the bat of Zach Bennett to plate Andre Airich and give the Saints a 2-0 advantage. Chad Sage extended the lead with double to right center in the fourth inning to bring Airich around to score again and make it 3-0.
UNC Pembroke pulled to within a run in the fifth inning on a double from Josh Haley to plate a pair of runs to make it 3-2.
North Georgia added another run in the sixth frame as Airich singled up the middle to start the inning and later scoring his third run of the game on a wild pitch to make it 4-2. Craig Brisson drove home a run the seventh, but the Braves pulled to within a run at 5-4 as Jordan Pegram tallied solo home runs in the sixth and eighth innings.
In the ninth, Seth Kivett singled home Kevin Dietrich to tie the game 5-5, and Jason Coker came to the plate with two outs later in the inning with a runner at third base and delivered a walk-off home run to give the Braves a 7-5 victory.
Justin Yackee (4-4) suffered the loss, tossing 1.0 inning and giving up two hits and two earned runs while striking out two. Matt McGovern (3-0) went the distance for UNC Pembroke in the victory, allowing five hits and five runs, four earned, while striking out nine and walking four.
In game two, a pitcher’s duel broke out as the Saints and Braves went into extra innings, but Sage drove home the winning run in the 10th inning with single up the middle to bring Airich racing around from second base to give North Georgia a 2-1 lead. The Braves threatened in the ninth with two runners on, but Daniel Petitti picked off Kyle Adair at first base to end the threat and send the Saints to the one-run victory.
North Georgia manufactured their first run of the game in the fifth inning as Logan Sharrett led off with a double down the left field line and moved over to third on a sacrifice bunt by Brisson. JD Burgess followed and delivered a sacrifice fly to center field, bringing Sharrett trotting home from third for the first run of the game.
UNC Pembroke answered right back in the sixth inning, tying the game on an Edmund Locklear solo home run to make it 1-1. Locklear took the first pitch he saw from Tyler Musslewhite in the at-bat and delivered the long ball that sailed over the right field fence.
Musslewhite delivered his best start of the year for North Georgia, lasting 8.0 innings and allowing one run on three hits while striking out nine in the no-decision. Garrett Lussi (1-0) picked up his first victory of the season, pitching 1.2 innings in relief and holding the Braves to just one hit, while Nick White came on for the final out of the game to pick up the save.
Ryan Kirkman suffered the loss for UNC Pembroke, tossing 3.1 innings and giving up three hits and one earned run while striking out seven.
The two teams will play the rubber game of the series Sunday afternoon at Sammy Cox Field with first pitch scheduled for 1:00 p.m.