February 2, 2014

Saint Leo Needs Extra Innings To Complete Sweep Over #Nighthawks

Dahlonega, Georgia - (UNGAthletics.com) – Visiting Saint Leo University completed the three–game sweep of the UNG baseball team with a tight 5-4 decision in 11 innings on Sunday afternoon at North Georgia's Bob Stein Stadium.  The Nighthawks trailed 3-0 before battling back to take a 4-3 lead only to see the Lions equalize in the eighth before finding the winning run in the top of the 11th.

"It was a tough break losing the third game of the series today," stated 15th year head coach Tom Cantrell.  "Our guys showed a lot of character and heart coming back from a 3-0 hole early and we just need to do a better job of closing games out.  It was a good and competitive team in Saint Leo that we played this weekend and we will only grow from this and get better."

Saint Leo opened the game with a pair of first inning doubles, one into each corner of the field, to strike first.  The Lions tacked on two more in the next frame courtesy of another double and a sacrifice fly.

North Georgia starter Clint Spratlin began to find his rhythm in the third as he was able to strike out the side.  The senior lefthander was good for four scoreless innings before being replaced by Josh Wolfe in the top of the seventh.

The Nighthawks began to claw back in the bottom of the fourth when Ryan Raper and Eason Spivey each crossed the plate following a Saint Leo fielding error.  North Georgia tacked on two more an inning later on a two RBI double by Raper giving the Nighthawks a 4-3 lead. 

Saint Leo (3-0) used a sacrifice fly by Dale Irving to knot the score at four apiece in the top of the eighth, but Blake Gaubert was able to limit the damage as he got out of a one-out bases loaded situation by forcing a pair of ground outs. 

The Nighthawks had a chance in the bottom of the ninth putting a pair of runners on but SLU's Brandon Terry was able to get the Lions out of danger and force the extra innings.

Saint Leo's Alex Mata led off the 11th with a double and scored on a Nick Perez single just a batter later to provide the visitors with the winning run. 

Spratlin recorded five strikeouts in six innings of work while scattering six hits.  Gaubert took the loss despite three and two-thirds innings of strong relief work. 

Offensively, Raper registered two of the Nighthawks' six hits in his five plate appearance and added a pair of RBI's. 

North Georgia (0-3) returns to action on Friday, February 7 with a 5:00 game against Salem International University. The game is the first of a three-game home series.