Jaguars Claw Back Late, Rally Past Saints in 9th
COLUMBUS, GA – With North Georgia just three outs away from advancing to the PBC Tournament championship game, Augusta State came alive with three ninth-inning runs to avoid elimination and force the if-necessary game.
The Jaguars (24-29) live to play another day, forcing the if-necessary game and setting up a rematch Wednesday evening at 7:00 p.m. at Golden Park. The Saints (34-19) drop their first game of the tournament, and will now go head-to-head with ASU on Wednesday for the fifth time this season.
With North Georgia just three outs away from advancing to the title game, the Jaguars came alive at the plate, using a double from Colby Adeeb, and an infield single by Caleb Saagus to set up a sacrifice fly by Jake Sutton to knot the score at 3-3.
Augusta State was far from finished however, as Toorie ripped a double to the gap in left center and later came around to score on a Casey Hanrahan to cap a three-run ninth inning and give the Jaguars a 5-3 come-from-behind victory.
In the early going, the Jaguars jumped on top in the third inning when Mike Smith led off and walked, and later came around to score on a Tristan Toorie sacrifice fly to give Augusta State a 1-0 edge.
The ASU lead handed the Saints their first deficit of the tournament and that deficit doubled in the fifth inning on a single to the shortstop by Jake Sutton to send Caleb Saggus racing home to make it 2-0.
North Georgia finally broke through in the sixth inning with a pair runs to knot the score and put the Saints right back into the game. Jordan Erisman led off the frame and doubled off the wall in left center, and Derek Hooper followed with a seeing-eye single through the right side to cut the ASU in half and make it 2-1.
The Saints then knotted the score when Jaguar pitcher Joah Evans attempted to pick off Hooper at first and threw it down the first base line, allowing Hooper to race all the way around to the plate and even the score at 2-2.
North Georgia then pulled ahead in the seventh inning thanks to a Chad Sage single through the left side lead off the inning, and after a sacrifice bunt by Brad Hall, Dustin Carpenter stepped the dish and lined a single up the middle to send Sage racing for the plate and give the Saints a 3-2 lead. The one-run lead would not be enough however, as the Jaguars rallied to shock North Georgia in the ninth and force the extra game.
Evans (3-6) was the winner for the Jaguars, tossing all 9.0 innings and giving up nine hits, but just three runs. With 114 pitches, the senior tallied two strikeouts and walked one. Jacob Rickett (6-3) suffered the loss for the Saints, giving up all three runs in the ninth inning and not striking out a batter.