COLUMBUS, GA – In a battle of top-15
teams in the country, 12th-ranked North Georgia pulled out an 8-7
victory in the series finale over 8th-ranked Columbus State,
avoiding the weekend sweep as the Cougars took game one of the
Saturday doubleheader 5-1 in PBC action.
North Georgia moves to 24-11 overall on the season and 12-6 in Peach Belt Conference action with the doubleheader split, while Columbus State takes the three-game set, improving to 27-7 on the year, and 7-5 in league action.
In game one, Columbus State scored a run in the first inning, three more in the sixth, and added one more in the seventh inning for the 5-1 victory. North Georgia’s only run of the game came in the eighth inning courtesy of an RBI single from Andrew Wallace to plate Kenny Bellavance who led off the inning with a double to left center.
The Cougars’ game-winning three-run sixth inning was powered by RBI hits from Jason Rogers and Cameron Griffin as CSU took a four-run advantage. Rogers was the only player with multiple hits in the game, going two-for-four with two runs batted in.
Blake Hobby (5-2) suffered the loss for the Saints, lasting 6.0 innings and allowing four earned runs on six hits, while striking out five and walking three. Thomas Campbell (5-2) was credited with the victory in 8.0 innings of work, surrendering one run on five hits while fanning five six and walking one.
The Cougars eyed a series sweep in game two of the doubleheader, but the North Georgia bats had different ideas, scoring in five different innings before holding on for the 8-7 victory in the weekend finale.
Adam Baker had a day at the plate for the Saints, recorded a pair of hits in three plate appearances, while driving in three runs and walking once. The senior was responsible for the first two runs of the game in the second inning, sending a double to right field with two outs to give North Georgia a 2-0 lead.
Following a three-spot in the bottom of the second inning to give Columbus State the lead, Andre Airich knotted the score at 3-3 with a solo shot down the left field line in the third inning, his seventh home run of the season.
Both teams tallied single runs in the fourth inning to keep the score deadlocked before the Saints took the lead with a run in the fifth and three more in the sixth inning. The three-run sixth was started by a sacrifice fly from Craig Brisson before Jordan Erisman and Airich notched back-to-back RBI hits to give North Georgia a four-run lead at 8-4.
Columbus State tacked on a single run in the sixth inning, but the big damage came in the seventh when Wes Adkins brought the Cougars to within a run with a two-run home run to make it an 8-7 game.
The Cougars had a chance in the ninth inning with two runners on and no outs, but Jacob Rickett slammed the door with a fly out and two strikeouts to give the Saints a come-from-behind victory.
Michael Patton (5-0) was the winner, tossing 5.0 relief innings and allowing four runs on seven hits while walking four and striking out three. Rickett tallied his seventh save of the season in 2.0 innings of relief work.
The Saints return to action in mid-week action, playing host to Southern Wesleyan o Wednesday evening at Bob Stein Stadium. First pitch is set for 7:00 p.m. in Dahlonega.