Americus Times-Recorder, Americus, Georgia

Local Sports

April 4, 2012

Hurricanes take two of three at Augusta State

AUGUSTA — The Georgia Southwestern baseball team was well aware of what was on the line this past weekend with the Peach Belt Conference weekend series at Augusta State. Lose two or more to the Jaguars and any hopes at a postseason opportunity take a stern blow. Win at least two of three at Lake Olmstead Stadium and hope remains. After splitting the opening doubleheader on Saturday, GSW proceeded to deliver its first conference series win in 12 months with an 11-4 victory in the rubber game on Sunday.

The Hurricanes are one game behind North Georgia in the win column for the fourth - and final - slot out of the West Division in the Peach Belt Conference Tournament. GSW has nine PBC games remaining, all against division foes.

 Chase Young's RBI single in the ninth inning gave Georgia Southwestern a 5-4 win in the series opener at Augusta State on Saturday afternoon.

The Hurricanes built a 2-0 lead after Jarrod Taylor and John Duran hit run-scoring singles in the fourth and fifth innings, respectively.

A pair of GSW errors and three singles by ASU in the bottom of the fifth quickly erased the Hurricane lead and helped the Jaguars snag their first advantage of the weekend, 3-2.

GSW would answer the next half inning as freshman Les Cromer put the Hurricanes back on top with a two-run single in the sixth.

ASU had another game-tying run in them in the seventh as the Jaguars manufactured a run off of a leadoff walk. A sacrifice bunt, balk and sacrifice fly plated the home team's final score in Game 1.

Young drove in Randall Sheffield, who had singled and stole second to put himself in scoring position. Taylor led the Hurricanes at the plate in Game 1 with a 3-for-5 performance. Young, Cromer and Zach Moss added two hits apiece.

Caleb Saggus had two hits for ASU.

Frank Ambrosino (2-2) picked up his second-straight win after throwing eight innings for the Hurricanes. He walked two and struck out eight. Only one of the four runs charged to Ambrosino was earned. Justin Lott earned his first save of the spring after retiring the side in order in the ninth behind two strikeouts.

Chase Johnston (3-1) surrendered the deciding run in the ninth to suffer his first loss of the season. ASU threw four pitchers in Game 1.

In the nightcap on Saturday, the Hurricanes once again took the early lead when Corey Benson blasted his first home run of 2012, a solo shot to lead off the third inning, to put GSW up 1-0.

The lead would hold until the fifth when ASU scored its first run of the game. The Jaguars grabbed the advantage in the sixth with a three-run frame and added an insurance run in the seventh.

GSW scattered three base runners the rest of the game after the Benson home run and had no answer for Jaguar starter Josh Barks (3-6). Barks went the distance and struck out six while walking two.

Southwestern starter Matt Weaver (1-6) matched Barks until the sixth. He finished with 5 2/3 innings pitched, four runs, three walks and eight strikeouts. Tyler Daniel threw the final 2 1/3 innings and held ASU to one run. He struck out three and did not walk a batter.

Benson (2-for-3) and Beau Parker (2-for-4) led GSW hitters with multi-hit performances in Game 2.

Caleb Saggus and Matt Smith recorded two hits apiece for ASU.

Seven runs by Georgia Southwestern over the final two innings on Sunday turned a close ballgame into a lopsided 11-4 victory for the Hurricanes.

As was the case in the first two games of the series, GSW took the early lead, only to have it disappear. GSW scored the first two runs of the finale in the second inning, capped by a Michel Coffey RBI single.

ASU answered with a run in the bottom of the second and another in the third to tie the game at 2-2.

The teams remained tied until the seventh when GSW posted two runs. Beau Parker brought in Les Cromer with a sacrifice fly and Zach Moss drove in Coffey with a double.

Southwestern tacked on four more runs in the eighth behind four singles and two ASU errors. Corey Benson and John Duran collected RBIs.

After the Jaguars plated a run in the bottom half of the eighth, the GSW hitters went to work again adding three more runs in the ninth. Coffey, Parker and Benson all collected RBIs. A pair of walks and three GSW singles spurred the final rally.

Coffey and Duran each had a three-hit afternoon to lead GSW at the plate. Coffey had two RBIs and scored two runs. Duran drove in a run. Cromer and Jarrod Taylor added two hits apiece. Taylor scored three times and Cromer scored twice.

Curtis Parker and Justin Appel had two hits apiece for ASU.

Matthew Suggs (2-6) won Game 3 for the Hurricanes after holding ASU to three runs while on the mound. Suggs threw seven innings, walked three and struck out four. Justin Lott pitched a scoreless eighth. Gray Carden allowed the final Jaguar run, but struck out three batters in the ninth.

Dylan Wall (0-6) threw 6 1/3 innings for ASU and allowed four runs - two earned - behind five hits, three walks and three strikeouts. The Jaguars shuttled out six different pitchers in relief of Wall over the final 2 2/3 innings.

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