February 26, 2012

Saints Break Out in 7th Inning, Take Rubber Game from UNC Pembroke

Contact: Steve Cunha,

DAHLONEGA, GA – The North Georgia baseball team exploded for seven runs in the bottom of the seventh inning against UNC Pembroke on Sunday afternoon en route to an 8-1 victory at Bob Stein Stadium.

The Saints (9-3, 2-1 PBC) took the rubber game behind a dominant performance from starter Taylor Keinat, while the Braves (12-3, 3-2 PBC) lost back-to-back games for the first time this year. 

Keinat threw his best game at North Georgia, going the distance and scattering six hits, while striking out five and allowing only one earned run.

After surrendering a leadoff bunt single, Keinat retired the next 11 batters he faced. The Braselton, Georgia, native did a great job changing speeds and mixing up his pitches and did not allow a base hit out of the infield until the sixth inning. 

Braves starter Alex Pearce was locked in early as well, getting himself out of jams in the first and sixth innings.

Both offenses were relatively quiet through the first six and a half innings before the Saints erupted in the seventh. For the second consecutive day, North Georgia sent nine plus batters to the plate in the bottom of the seventh. 

Andrew Gordon got things started with a rope back up the middle and Eason Spivey moved him into scoring position with a sac bunt. After intentionally walking leadoff hitter Jordan Erisman, Braves skipper Paul O'Neil turned to Braxton Lewis to get his team out of the jam for the second straight day.

The Saints welcomed Lewis with three straight hits, including an RBI single by Derek Hooper, a triple to deep center that scored a pair of runs by Terrell Jones and an RBI single by Kenny Bellavance

After Travis Naraine reached on an error and Dustin Carpenter sent an RBI single to left, the Braves went to the Bullpen once again as Connor Pratt relieved Lewis.  On cue, Brad Barto sent an RBI single through the right side and after an Andrew Gordon walk, Spivey capped the scoring sending a sac fly to right to plate Carpenter.

In total, the Saints scored seven runs on six in the frame. Through the first 12 games of the season North Georgia is outscoring their opponents 25-9 in the seventh inning. 

The Braves cut the deficit to six in the top of the eighth when Eitan Moaz slapped a grounder to first to score a run, but the Saints would answer in the bottom of the frame when Naraine hit a sac fly to left plating Jones.

Offensively Bellavance and Jones each went 3-4. Jones had a pair of runs scored and a pair RBI's, while Bellavance knocked in a run and scored a run. 

Quick Notes –

For the first time this season the Saints didn't commit an error in back-to-back games…Jones had three hits in game three of the series…eight of the nine starters for the Saints had a hit…Seven of the nine starters had an RBI…Entering this weekend UNC Pembroke had a team ERA of 1.89 and they leave Dahlonega with a team ERA of 2.56…Keinat's complete game was the first of the season for the Saints

The Saints look to build on their success next weekend as they travel to South Carolina to take on another top 10 team, Francis Marion, in Peach Belt Conference action. The weekend series starts Saturday, March 3, with first pitch scheduled for 1:00 pm.