March 1, 2011

#11 Saints Take Down #2 West Florida in Top 25 Battle

DAHLONEGA, GA – The 11th-ranked North Georgia baseball team put an end to a two-game slide on Tuesday evening, taking down 2nd-ranked West Florida 3-1 at Bob Stein Stadium in non-conference action.

The Saints kick off their brutal five-game home stand against the top two teams in the country with an upset of the No. 2 team in the land, improving to 10-3 overall on the season, while the Argonauts see their eight-game winning streak come to an end, falling for just the second time this season and moving to 13-2 on the year.

North Georgia and West Florida traded zeros over the first three innings, but the Saints had the best scoring chance in the third frame as North Georgia put together back-to-back two-out singles and a walk to load the bases, but Troy Snitker fanned on a 2-2 fastball to end the threat.

North Georgia finally broke through in the fourth inning as Brad Hall coaxed a one-out walk, and after a strikeout from Seth Atkins, Alan Fredriksson lined a triple to the gap in right center, sending Hall racing around the bases and giving the Saints a 1-0 lead. Cameron Crawford followed and looked at a pair of balls, but West Florida starter Kevin Peters fought back to strikeout the freshman and allow just the lone run.

The Argos would come right back in the fifth inning get a rally started on a walk and hit by pitch to put a pair of runners on with no outs. Brandon Brewer then connected on a perfect sacrifice bunt with two strikes, advancing both runners into scoring position with only one out. After a fly out recorded the second out of the frame, North Georgia starter Andrew Wallace fired a ball in the dirt that skipped off Snitker, allowing Eric Kroll to scamper home and knot the score at a run apiece.

The Saints had the answer in the bottom half of the inning as Derek Hooper lined a one-out single up the middle and Terrell Jones followed and walked to put a pair of runners on. After another strikeout for the second out in the frame, Kenny Bellavance looped a single over shortstop to send Hooper racing home and put North Georgia right back in front at 2-1.

Some more two-out magic formed in the seventh inning when Jones reached on a fielder's choice for the second out of the frame, and Snitker followed and lined a double to the gap in right center, just out of the reach of a diving Greg Pron, sending Jones racing home and extending the lead to 3-1.

Alex Simmons was tough on the mound relief, picking up the win in 3.0 innings of work, allowing three hits and no runs, while striking out five. Jacob Rickett recorded a four-out save, allowing one hit and striking out one for his fourth save of the season.

The Saints and Argos will play the final game of the two-game set on Wednesday afternoon with first pitch set for 3:00 p.m. at Bob Stein Stadium.