February 5, 2012

Lindenwood Lions Race Past Saints in Weekend Finale

Contact David Beall, jdbeall@northgeorgia.edu

VALDOSTA, GA – For the second time in three days the North Georgia pitching staff gave up double-digit runs as Lindenwood University pushed across five runs early and handed the Saints their second loss on the final day of the Comfort Suites Classic at Billy Grant Field. 

The Saints (1-2) struggled on the mound early and never mounted a real offensive threat against the Lions (1-2) who picked up their first win of the season in a rout.

For the third straight game North Georgia scored in the first inning, but that was the lone bright spot on the afternoon. Jordan Erisman led off the game with a double to the gap in left center and came home on a groundout by Terrell Jones to give the Saints a first-inning lead. 

That lead would be short lived however, as Lindenwood came out swinging in the bottom half of the inning and pushed across three runs courtesy of five hits from the top of the Lions batting order. Zach Loraine sparked the inning with a double to straight away center field to plate a pair and give Lindenwood a lead they would never relinquish.

The Lions were right back at it in the second inning as they chased North Georgia starting pitcher Taylor Keinat with a Matt Tellor double off the wall in center to bring two more runs racing home and make it a 5-1 lead. 

The Saints went to the pen to start the third frame and Jesse Coxwell shut down the Lions over four innings, allowing just three hits and one earned run. The wheels came off in the last of the seventh however, as the Lions put four hits on the board and the North Georgia defense added plenty of help with three errors to hand Lindenwood five more runs and a 10-1 lead.

For the second time this season North Georgia trotted six pitchers to the mound, but Keinat (0-1) suffered the loss, allowing seven hits and five runs over the first 2.0 innings of work. 

Austin Klein (1-0) was the winner, tossing 5.0 innings and giving up just three hits and one run while striking out three and walking a pair. The Lions were perfect in relief, as Ryan Griffin and Steffen Simmons blanked North Georgia over the final four innings and held the Saints to just one hit.

The North Georgia defense has been nothing to write home about with nine errors over the first three games. The offense has been just as bad with 26 strikeouts over the first 27 innings. 

Outside the 8.0 innings of four-hit ball from Blake Hobby on Saturday afternoon, the pitching staff has allowed 26 runs in 18 inning of work.

The Saints return to the diamond next weekend, traveling to USC Aiken to take part in the Carolina Outdoors Classic. North Georgia will battle Carson-Newman Friday, Davis & Elkins on Saturday and USC Aiken on Sunday afternoon. All three games will be played at Roberto Hernandez Stadium on the campus of USC Aiken.