February 6, 2011

#35 Saints "Walk Off" with Series Sweep over Lions

 DAHLONEGA, GA – The North Georgia baseball team completed a three-game sweep of Mars Hill on Sunday afternoon, using a dramatic walk off win in the finale to grab both ends of a doubleheader and send the Lions packing in non-conference action at Bob Stein Stadium.

Offense was the story of the day in the opener as the Saints pounded out 19 hits and scored 18 runs on their way to an 18-5 victory. Brad Hall could do little wrong at the plate, recording four hits, while driving in five runs, including a solo shot in the 7th inning.

The Saints jumped out to a 9-0 lead with five runs in the first and four more in the second frame, but Mars Hill responded with a two-spot in the third inning to cut the lead to seven at 9-2.

North Georgia added two more four-run innings, before Hall's solo home run in the seventh capped the scoring for the Saints. Derek Hooper, Dustin Carpenter, and Troy Snitker all added three-hit performances in the win, while Kenny Bellavance drove in four of the 18 runs.

Michael Bueker paced the Lions' offense from the leadoff position, tallying three hits in five trips to the plate, while four different players picked up RBI's for Mars Hill.

Michael Patton got the start for the Saints, but it was Garrett Smith (1-0) who came on in relief and picked up the win, tossing 5.0 innings of two-hit ball, while walking one and striking out one.

 Game two turned into a pitcher's duel, but North Georgia scored first for the third straight game as Chad Sage lifted a sacrifice fly to right field in the first inning, sending Jordan Erisman to the plate who was hit by a pitch to lead off the frame.

Mars Hill would not go away however, coming back in the fifth inning and scoring a pair of runs to take a 2-1 lead. Dalton Hardee drove in the first run of the inning, while Michael Bueker's sacrifice fly gave the Lions a one-run lead. Tyler Reboulet tripled later in the inning, but was stranded when Alex Simmons came on in relief and forced a Brandon King fly out to end the threat.

The Saints were held in check until the eighth inning when Derek Hooper lined a one-out double to right field and later came racing around to score when Chad Sage came alive and drilled a single through the left side, knotting the score at 2-2.

After Jacob Rickett set down the Lions in the top half of the ninth, Dustin Carpenter led off the bottom half and smoked a single up the middle to get a rally started.

After a sacrifice bunt from Troy Snitker moved the runner over, Denver Stovall came up with the biggest hit of his North Georgia career, a single to left center, bringing Carpenter racing for the plate and diving in under the tag at home and giving the Saints a 3-2 comeback win.

Rickett picked up the win in relief, tossing 1.1 innings and allowing one hit, while striking out three more batters, giving the senior seven punch outs in just 2.2 innings of work on the year.

The Saints go right back to work next weekend in the second of three straight home series to open the year, welcoming Stillman College to town with single games on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.