February 26, 2011

#7 Saints Split Doubleheader with #17 UNC Pembroke

PEMBROKE, NCTerrell Jones' bases loaded single in the top of the 10th inning allowed North Georgia to take the opening game of a doubleheader 6-5 over UNC Pembroke, but the Braves battled back in game two for an 8-2 victory at Sammy Cox Field in Peach Belt Conference action.

The series opening loss by UNC Pembroke was their first loss of the season as they move to 13-1 on the year after the doubleheader split, while North Georgia's moves to 9-2 on the season.

Game-one starting pitcher Blake Hobby went seven innings for the Saints, allowing only one-earned run as he held a 4-3 lead.  North Georgia built a 4-0 lead with through six innings but the Braves battled back to tie the game, 5-5 with two runs in the bottom of the ninth.

The 7th-ranked Saints broke the scoreless game in the fourth inning when Jones scored off a Kenny Bellavance single.  North Georgia added two more in the fifth when Jordan Erisman scored off a Troy Snitker fly out and a Derek Hooper came home on single from Bellavance. In the sixth, Erisman ripped a double that was bobbled in the outfield, allowing Alan Fredriksson to score and extending the lead to 4-0.

In the Braves seventh, the lead was cut in half with a two-run double off the bat of Keith Whitman. Whitman later scored on a base hit to make it a 4-3 North Georgia lead heading to the ninth.

The Saints extended their lead to 5-3 when senior Brad Hall drove in Hooper who reached on a walk.

The Braves battled back to force extra innings, scoring two runs off  the eventual winning pitcher, Jacob Rickett (3-0) in his second inning of work.

North Georgia opened the tenth with a Fredrickson single and a Denver Stovall walk.  Fredrickson advanced to third off an Erisman fly out.  With one out, the Braves intentionally walked Hooper, but Jones followed answered the challenge with the game winning RBI. Senior Michael Patton retired UNC Pembroke in the bottom half of the 10th to earn his first save of the season.

In game two, the five errors by the Saints led to six unearned runs as North Georgia fell for only the second time this season. Starting pitcher Garrett Smith (1-1), allowed only one earned run, but fell behind 3-0 after two innings and suffered the loss.

North Georgia cut into a 4-0 Pembroke lead in the fourth inning with back-to-back doubles.  Snitker opened the frame with a double and scored on Bellavance's double.  Bellavance later scored on a fielder's choice, cutting the Braves' lead to a pair at 4-2.

The Braves added their final four runs in the sixth, taking advantage of three North Georgia errors in the inning to cruise to an 8-2 victory.

The two nationally ranked teams are set to play the rubber game of the Peach Belt Conference series on Sunday afternoon. First pitch at Sammy Cox Field is set for 1:00 p.m.