February 20, 2010

Saints Rally Late, Take 9-8 Thriller over Bellarmine

Box Score

DAHLONEGA, GA – The North Georgia baseball team took game one of a doubleheader and game two of a four-game series with Bellarmine University 9-8 on Saturday afternoon, using timely hitting to erase a six-run deficit and rally to take down the Knight in non-conference action.

The Saints improve to 5-3 on the season with the victory, taking the first two games of the weekend series with Bellarmine, while the Knights fall to 1-4 on the year.

Bellarmine jumped on top in the third inning as Chris Wiedmar belted a double over the head of centerfielder Kenny Bellevance, scoring a pair of runs to put the Knights up 2-0. Patrick Brady drove in the third run of the game and inning with an infield single, while Anton Garcia added another run in the fourth, looping a single to right field, giving Bellarmine a 4-0 advantage.

North Georgia went hitless their first time through the lineup, but Andre Airich broke up the no-hitter in the last of the fourth, lining a single up the middle, but the rally fizzled as the next batter struck out swinging.

The Knights added another run in the fifth frame as Brady came to the plate and launched an opposite field homer, just clearing the 365 sign in right center to give Bellarmine a 5-0 lead. Michael Morrissette drove in the second run of the inning and sixth of the game with his third hit of the contest, bringing Nick Riganti trotting home from third and giving the visitors a 6-0 edge.

A six-run deficit is all the Saints needed to get the bats going as the offense finally got off the deck in the fifth inning with four big runs. Troy Snitker led off the inning with a double down the left field line and came around to score North Georgia’s first run on a groundout by Brad Hall.

Denver Stovall would follow with a free pass and come around to score on an error, setting up a wild play with a pair of runners aboard as Jordan Erisman singled through the left side, scoring Bellevance as Erisman raced to second on the play, drawing a throw that skipped into centerfield, allowing Brisson to race home on the play and Erisman to advance all the way around to third, making it a 6-4 Bellarmine lead.

In the sixth, the Saints set the score even once again as Snitker walked, bringing Hall to the plate who connected on a two-run blast to right-center, bringing Snitker home and knotting the score 6-6. The home run came in the Caruso’s home run inning, making Denise Pope the year’s first winner thanks to Hall’s second home run of the season.

The Saints took their first lead of the game in the seventh inning as Chad Sage singled to right field with two outs, bringing Erisman racing to home to make it a 7-6 North Georgia lead. Bellarmine answered right back in the their half of the eighth, using a groundout from John Lyons to knot the score once again at seven runs apiece.

The Saints would not go quiet in their half of the eighth however, putting a pair of runners aboard before Bellevance came to plate and split the gap in right center, clearing the bases and giving North Georgia the lead once again at 9-7. The Knights pulled to within a run on a sacrifice fly in the ninth, but Daniel Petitti gunned down the possible tying run for the final out of the game.

Justin Yackee (1-0) came on in the eighth inning to close the door before setting the Knights down in the ninth inning for his first win of the season. Chris Rearick was the starter and lasted 4.2 innings, allowing nine hits and six runs while striking out three. Alex Simmons tossed the middle innings, finishing with a line of 2.1 innings, allowing one hit, and one run, while striking out one and walking one.

North Georgia and Bellarmine are set to play the second game of a doubleheader and the third game of the series on Saturday afternoon with first pitch set for 4:00 p.m.