February 18, 2012

Saints Sweep Away Northern Kentucky in Home Opener

Contact: Steve Cunha, sjcunh2033@northgeorgia.edu

DAHLONEGA, GA - The North Georgia baseball team ran their winning streak to six games on Saturday as they swept a doubleheader from Northern Kentucky at Bob Stein Stadium. 

The series served as the home opener for the Saints (7-2), while the Norse (0-2) start the season with two straight losses for the first time since 2009.

The Saints received strong pitching in both victories taking the opener 10-3 and game two 3-2. 

- Game 1 -

For the first time in two weeks North Georgia ace Blake Hobby (2-0) toed the rubber and he did not disappoint, holding the Norse hitless through the first 3.1 innings. Vanderglas slapped a one out single to right field and the hit proved to be the only one Hobby would surrender on the afternoon. 

In total, Hobby worked 6.2 inning, allowing only one hit while striking out seven to earn his second win of the young season. 

The Saints wasted no time giving Hobby run support as they jumped on Northern Kentucky starter Tim Clark for two runs in the first inning. Derek Hooper and Terrell Jones had back-to-back one-out singles through the left side to set the table for North Georgia. 

After retiring Kenny Bellavance, Clark would get no help from his defense as an error extended the inning and Dustin Carpenter made the Norse pay as he smacked a single to left field, scoring Hooper and Jones.

Over the next three innings Hobby was in cruise control, facing only one batter over the minimum. 

In the fourth, North Georgia would give Hobby some breathing room courtesy of an Eason Spivey three-run blast to left field. The homer was Spivey's was the first of his collegiate career as the freshman has made quite an impression over his first nine games for North Georgia, smacking a pair doubles and recording a team-leading leading 10 runs batted in.

The Saints got an insurance run in each of the fifth and six innings thanks to a Matthew Black RBI single and a throwing error by Northern Kentucky catcher Patrick Hyde. 

North Georgia would later put the game out of reach in the bottom of the eighth inning when Hooper lined an RBI single up the middle and Jones followed with a double, scoring Hooper and leadoff hitter Jordan Erisman.

- Game 2 - 

Saints starter Jesse Coxwell delivered arguably his best start of the season to improve to 2-0, tossing 6.2 innings, allowing two runs and striking out five, while scattering six hits. Taylor Keinat and Erisman pitched well in relief for North Georgia, combining to give up only two hits and striking out two batters to close out the victory. Erisman also picked up his first save of the season.

The Northern Kentucky bats woke up first inning with two outs as they smacked three straight singles to take an early 1-0 lead. 

In the bottom half of the frame, The Saints promptly responded with a pair of runs to take the wind out of Northern Kentucky's sails when Bellavance knocked a run scoring double to right field and Black followed with an RBI groundout.

Both offenses were quite over the next few innings until Spivey hit a sac fly to center scoring Carpenter with what would prove to be the game-winning run. 

Northern Kentucky would cut the two-run deficit in half in the top of the seventh when Bradley Vanderglas delivered a two-out sun scoring single up the middle. With runners on first and second Keinat would come in and strikeout Cody Cooper to end the threat.

- Quick Notes - 

Erisman has reached based safely in all nine of the Saints games this year. Hobby has thrown at least six innings in his last nine starts dating back to March 18, of last year. Hooper stole four bases on the day. Game two was the Saints first game without an error all season. The Saints won their home opener for the fourth straight year.

The Saints wrap up the weekend series with Northern Kentucky tomorrow afternoon at Bob Stein Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 1:00 pm weather permitting. Check Saintssports.com for possible time changes or cancellations of tomorrow's game.