DAHLONEGA, GA – The North Georgia baseball team found themselves trailing for the second straight game on Friday evening, but the Saints rallied once again to knock off Stillman College 8-5 at Bob Stein Stadium in non-conference action.
The Saints, ranked 22nd in the country, continue their perfect start, improving to 4-0 on the year, while Stillman drops their second straight contest, falling to 4-2 on the young season.
Both teams got their offense going early as the Tigers forced deep counts and forced North Georgia starter Bryant Kerns to walk the game's opening batter and after a hit by pitch, Ryan Rennspies looped a single to left center, scoring Dion Bryant from second and giving Stillman a 1-0 lead.
The Tigers continued to rally, loading the bases with one out, but Kerns rebounded with a strikeout and groundout to get out of the opening-inning jam and leave the bases loaded.
The Saints answered right back in the bottom of the first as Jordan Erisman led off and singled through the left side. Erisman then notched his first stolen of the year to get into scoring position, and after a sacrifice bunt, Terrell Jones grounded out to bring Erisman trotting home knot the score at a run apiece.
The pitchers dominated until the fourth inning when the Tigers struck again, this time using a two-run single to right field off the bat of Jarius Brown, plating Mike Jackson and James Dawson and giving the Stillman a 3-1 advantage.
After the Tigers plated another run in the top of the fifth, the Saints loaded the bases with no outs and Erisman lined a single through the left side, plating a run to cut the lead back to two runs at 4-2. A fielder's choice later in the frame brought Troy Snitker racing home to make it a 4-3 game.
Another single run in the sixth frame by Stillman set up a rally by the Saints in the bottom half as North Georgia sent nine batters to plate and recorded five hits on their way to plating four runs and taking a 7-5 lead. Daniel Warzon, Derek Hooper, and Terrell Jones all had run scoring hits in the frame as the Saints took their first lead of the night.
North Georgia added an insurance run in the last of the eighth inning as Hooper drove in another run, singling to right field as Snitker came trotting home to give the Saints an 8-5 victory.
The bullpen did the job once again late as Garrett Smith came on in relief, followed by Alex Simmons, and Jacob Rickett came on for a five-out save once again, dominating with three strikeouts and no hits for his second save of the year.
The Saints and Tigers return to the diamond tomorrow afternoon, taking the field for game two of the three game weekend series. First pitch at Bob Stein Stadium is set for 2:00 p.m.