April 30, 2011

Saints Use Big 8th Inning to Blow Past Flagler 7-5

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DAHLONEGA, GA – The North Georgia baseball team erased a four-run eighth inning deficit on Saturday evening, scoring six runs late to take down Flagler College 7-5 at Bob Stein Stadium in non-conference action.

North Georgia continues to roll, winning their eighth straight game and improving to 32-16 overall on the year, while Flagler's struggles send them to 20-28 on the season.

Flagler took the early lead for the second straight day as Devon Hellett led off the game with a double down the left field line and came around to score on a ground out by Evan Grandizio to send the visiting Saints out to a 1-0 first-inning lead.

Hellett continued to his good work in the fourth inning as he came to the dish with the bases jammed and lined a double to the gap in left center, clearing the bases and giving Flagler a 4-0 lead. Grandizio followed two batters later and added to the lead with a single past a diving Derek Hooper to cap a four-run inning and extend the Flagler lead to 5-0.

North Georgia finally got on the board in the sixth inning when Brad Hall led off the frame and belted the first pitch he saw over the fence in left center, his fifth home run of the year to cut the Flagler lead to four at 5-1.

With head coach Tom Cantrell's Saints down to their last six outs, they finally came alive at the plate in the eighth inning, loading the bases with no outs before Alan Fredriksson stepped to the plate and lined a two-run single down the first base line to pull North Georgia to within a pair at 5-3.

The lineup would head back to the top for Jordan Erisman who sent a bloop to shallow center, falling in front of a diving Tyler Vanover to send Denver Stovall trotting home and making it 5-4. After a passed ball moved the runners up 90 feet, Hooper squared up a fastball and lined a single to left field, plating Fredriksson and knotting the score at 5-5.

The North Georgia offense continued to click on all cylinders in the eighth inning as Troy Snitker coaxed a walk to load the bases once again with still no outs in the frame. Terrell Jones followed and watched four straight pitches miss the zone to force Erisman home and give the Saints their first lead of the day at 6-5.

Flagler College balked home another run to cap North Georgia's six-run inning and give the home Saints a 7-5 comeback victory. Michael Patton (2-1) picked up the win, tossing the final two innings and not allowing a hit while striking out one.

Tyler McKendree (3-1) came on in relief and suffered the loss, giving up two runs on as many hits, while not recording an out in North Georgia's game-turning eighth inning.

The battle of the Saints continues on Sunday afternoon, as North Georgia looks to win their ninth straight game and extend their unbeaten streak to 14 consecutive days. First pitch at Bob Stein Stadium is set for 1:00 p.m. in non-conference action.