March 7, 2011

Bobcats Sweep Series, Saints up to 10th in Latest Poll

DAHLONEGA, GA – The North Georgia baseball team suffered their first series sweep of the season on Monday afternoon, dropping both ends of a doubleheader to the No. 1 team in the country as Georgia College rallied from deficits in both games at Bob Stein Stadium in Peach Belt Conference action.

The Saints drop to 11-6 on the year and 1-5 in Peach Belt Conference, while the Bobcats run their winning streak to 14 games, improving to 17-2 overall and 3-0 in league action.

The latest Collegiate Baseball Newspaper Top 30 Poll was released during game two of the doubleheader and the Bobcats remained the No. 1 team in the country, while the Saints moved up a spot, taking over as the No. 10 team in the land.

North Georgia jumped on top in the opening game of the doubleheader, using second-inning RBI hits from Dustin Carpenter and Denver Stovall to put the Saints up 2-0.  

The Bobcats took the lead in the third inning however, uding a Shawn Ward double down the left line to plate a pair, and Richard Pirkle later reached on an error to send Ward home and give Georgia College a 3-2 advantage.

The Saints would take the lead right back with single runs in each of the next two innings, thanks to RBI base knocks from Kenny Bellavance and Jordan Erisman to give North Georgia the lead at 4-3.

Georgia College would answer right back with three runs in the fifth inning as the lead shifted hands once again, this time on a Ward bases loaded walk and a Pirkle two-run single as the Bobcats made it 6-4 heading to the seventh inning.

North Georgia continued to produce two-out runs in the seventh inning as Carpenter stepped to the plate and delivered a two-run double off the bottom of the fence in right field, sending Bellavance and Troy Snitker racing to the plate and knotting the score at 6-6.

After a scoreless eighth frame, Jacob Rickett was brought on in the ninth and Matthew Robinson ran the count full before drilling what would be a game-winning home run over the fence in the left center to give the Bobcats a 7-6 victory.

Tanner Moore (1-0) got the final out of the 8th inning and pitched a scoreless ninth frame to earn his first win of the year, striking out all four batters he faced. Rickett (3-1) suffered his first loss of the year, relieving Wes Coberly and Jesse Coxwell who tossed 4.0 innings apiece.

Game two provided plenty of offense as the Bobcats scored in six of the nine innings and benefited from six North Georgia errors on their way to an 11-6 victory. After Georgia College scored a pair of runs in the first inning, The Saints put together five straight two-out hits to score four runs and take a 4-2 lead. Snitker and Carpenter tallied run scoring doubles in the inning, while Bellavance and Brad Hall added RBI singles to the four-run frame.

After the Bobcats tied the game in the third inning behind two North Georgia errors and without the benefit of a hit, the Saints took the lead right back in the bottom of the inning as Brad Hall drilled the first pitch he saw over the fence down the left field line to make it a 5-4 North Georgia lead.

The No. 1 team in the land then heated up at the plate, scoring seven unanswered runs, including three ninth-inning runs on their way to an 11-6 victory. The Saints put a run on the board in their final at-bat, but it was not to be as Georgia College finished off the three-game sweep.

Chris George (2-0) earned the win in relief, tossing 6.1 innings and allowing five hits and one run, while striking out six. Matt Smith (1-1), one of six North Georgia pitchers, was tagged with the loss, lasting 1.2 innings and allowing two earned runs.

The Saints return to action on Tuesday afternoon, traveling to Carrollton, Ga., to take on West Georgia in non-conference action. First pitch against the Wolves is set for 5:00 p.m. at Cole Field.