Aiken, SC – 13th-ranked North Georgia had
to rally to take game one 6-5, but the Saints pounded out 17 hits
to defeat USC Aiken 14-6 in the nightcap and sweep a doubleheader
from the Pacers at Hernandez Stadium Saturday afternoon as PBC play
opened for both teams.
The Saints improve to 7-4 overall and 2-0 in the Peach Belt Conference, while USC Aiken falls to 4-6 overall and 0-2 in league play.
In game one, USC Aiken jumped on the board in the first inning, but the Saints finally came around and tied the game in fifth frame as Andre Airich homered to center field to tie the game 1-1. North Georgia would add one more run in the inning on an Adam Baker sacrifice fly to bring Anders Oster home from third base for a 2-1 lead.
In the sixth inning, Chad Sage would extend North Georgia’s lead to 3-1 with a solo blast to right center, but the Pacers responded in the bottom half of the inning with three runs on a pair of hits to take the lead right back at 4-3.
The Saints were not to be denied as they came back in the seventh inning and pushed across two more runs to take the lead on just one hit in the inning. Jordan Erisman reached on a walk and stole second to set up an RBI single by Airich who later scored on a wild pitch.
After the Pacers tied the game in the bottom of the seventh, Erisman came through again, this time with a single to bring Craig Brisson home for the game-winner.
Jesse Coxwell (1-0) picked up the win in relief, tossing 1.0 inning of no hit ball, while Justin Yackee came on for his second save of the year, pitching 2.0 innings and giving up one hit while striking out two.
In game two, USC Aiken recorded the first run of the game again, this time in the second inning, but the Saints wasted little time responding as they put a three spot on the board in the third inning to take the lead for good. Oster’s two run homer to center field capped the three-run inning.
North Georgia answered the Pacers single run in the third inning by pushing five runs across in the fourth inning to take an 8-2 advantage. Oster drove in two more runs with a double as the Saints tallied five hits in the inning.
The Saints put the game out of reach with three runs in the seventh and eighth innings, before the Pacers tacked on four runs in their half of the eighth to make it a 14-6 North Georgia victory.
Tyler Musslewhite (1-0) tallied his first win of the season, going 6.0 innings and allowing two runs on 10 hits while striking out five.
Tom Cantrell’s team could do little wrong at the plate, recording 17 hits, as Oster finished with four, Airich and Brad Hall had three apiece, and trio of other players tallied two hits.
The Saints return to action Sunday afternoon as they look to take the final game of the three-game series with first pitch set for 1:00 p.m.
North Georgia is looking for their second straight three-game weekend sweep after sending Mars Hill away empty handed last weekend.