– The North Georgia College & State University baseball
team returned to the friendly confines of Bob Stein Stadium on
Friday evening as the Saints’ bats came alive to drill
visiting Bellarmine University 12-6 in game one of a four-game set
in non-conference action.
The Saints improve to 4-3 on the season, winners of three of their last four and have picked up victories in all three series openers this season. The Knights drop their third game of the year, falling to 1-3 on the young season.
North Georgia jumped on top early, using a pair of singles and a walk to load the bases with no outs before back-to-back groundouts manufactured the first two runs of the game. Brad Hall then stepped to the plate and delivered a two-out double to left center, plating Andre Airich to cap the three-run first inning.
Both teams were quiet until the fourth frame when Bellarmine rallied to score their first run of the game, using a Chris Wiedmar double to left center before Patrick Brady guided a two-out single up the middle to plate Wiedmar and make it a 3-1 North Georgia lead.
The Saints broke the game wide open in the fifth inning with six big runs to take a 9-1 lead. North Georgia used a pair of walks and a single up the middle to load the bases with no outs before Troy Snitker lined a double to right center, clearing the bases and giving the Saints a five-run lead. Kenny Bellevance capped the inning four batters later with a clutch two-out single down the left field line, giving the Saints an eight-run advantage.
Bellarmine answered right back in the sixth inning with a trio of runs as Wiedmar skied a sacrifice fly to right field, scoring John Lyons for the first run of the frame. The Knights then capitalized on North Georgia mistakes and scored two more runs on a pair of wild pitches from the Saints’ staff.
North Georgia continued to stay hot offensively as Alan Fredriksson looped a two-out single over the third baseman’s head down the third base line, plating Hall and Snitker to give the Saints a seven run lead at 11-4. Daniel Petitti added an insurance run in the eighth inning with a bases loaded groundout, before the Knights tallied a pair of runs in the ninth to give North Georgia a 12-6 victory.
James Wiley (1-0) picked up the victory in his first outing of the season, lasting 5.1 innings and allowing six hits, four runs, three earned, while striking out three. Reliever Matt Adams was impressive in relief, tossing 2.2 innings, allowing six hits and two runs while striking out three.
Aaron Deatherage (0-2) suffered his second loss of the year, allowing six hits and six runs, all earned, in 4.0 innings of action. The junior right-hander fanned a pair of batters while walking four.
North Georgia and Bellarmine return to action on Saturday afternoon with a doubleheader scheduled to start at 1:00 p.m. Game two of the double dip is set for 4:00 p.m. while the final game of the four-game series will take place on Sunday afternoon at 1:00 p.m.