– The 16th-ranked North Georgia baseball team took the rubber
game of a three-game weekend series on Saturday afternoon, taking
the finale 10-3 from the Bearcats at Bob Stein Stadium in Peach
Belt Conference action.
The Saints drop the series opener, but rebound to take the final two games and the weekend set, improving to 22-9 on the season, and 11-4 in Peach Belt Conference action, while the Bearcats drop to 18-11 overall and 4-8 in league action.
Lander took an early lead for the third straight game, this time in the first inning thanks to a single through the left side off the bat of Robert Skinner to send Bud Lanier trotting home from third and give the Bearcats a 1-0 advantage.
North Georgia would do one better in the bottom half of the inning as Jordan Erisman singled up the middle for the Saints’ first hit of the game, and Andre Airich followed with a towering home run to right center to shift the lead over to the Saints at 2-1.
Following a pair of scoreless frames, Lander knotted the score in the fourth inning, using a single from Aaron Fludd to send Ryan McNulty home and tie the game 2-2.
The Saints had something to say about that in the bottom half of the inning, answering with a Troy Snitker two-run double to left center, sending Kenny Bellavance and Chad Sage racing home to give the Saints a 4-2 lead.
Another run in the fifth inning extended the Saints’ lead to three as Chad Sage lifted a sacrifice fly to center field, giving Airich time to tag from third and race home to make it a 5-2 North Georgia advantage.
A trio of insurance runs came across in the seventh as Craig Brisson led off with a triple, and Erisman looped a single to right field to send Brisson trotting home. Airich followed and continued his stellar game with his second two-run blast in the contest, this time a shot to right field to cap the three-run frame and make it an 8-2 North Georgia lead.
The Bearcats tallied a single run in the eighth inning as Lanier continued his big series with a double to left center, plating Brooks Reames and cutting the Saints’ lead to five at 8-3.
Airich’s big day at the plate continued in the bottom of the eighth with his fifth RBI of the game, a single through the left side to send Erisman home who previously tripled to left center, extending the lead right back to six runs at 9-3. The Saints hit double-digit runs two batters later as Bellavance roped a liner up the middle to send Airich home and give North Georgia a 10-3 series finale victory.
James Wiley (4-0) stayed perfect on the year in 5.0 innings of work, allowing a pair of runs on eight hits, while walking one and striking out five. Michael Patton and Jacob Rickett came on to shut down Lander over the final four innings.
Ross Davis (1-3) was tagged with the loss for the Bearcats, lasting 3.1 innings and allowing four runs on five hits. Drew Elliot came on in relief, tossing 3.1 innings as well, giving up four runs on five hits.
North Georgia returns to action on Tuesday evening, playing host to Anderson University with first pitch set for 6:00 p.m. at Bob Stein Stadium. The Saints broke out the bats earlier this season against the Trojans on the road, pounding Anderson 16-7 in South Carolina.