GSW baseball drops first two in PBC opening series

Published 11:46 am Sunday, March 8, 2015

AMERICUS – Freshman Jordan McIlwain provided Georgia Southwestern with four innings of scoreless relief but the Hurricanes could not overcome an early deficit and lost, 2-0, in the Peach Belt Conference series opener against USC Aiken on March 6 at Hurricane Stadium.

The Hurricanes returned to the diamond the next afternoon for the second game of the series, falling 19-11 in the match against USCA despite a pair of homeruns by Will Redding.

GSW dropped to 5-13 overall and 1-10 in the PBC.

In what turned out to be a pitching due on March 6, the only offensive outburst came in the fourth inning when USCA put together a four-hit frame. Chaz Pal drove in the game’s lone run with a triple to center field that brought home Ty Barkell.

Neither team had a player finish with multiple hits in the game.

GSW was held to three hits as USCA starter Forrest Koumas (2-1) went the distance and racked up a school-record 18 strikeouts. Koumas recorded a strikeout against every batter in the Hurricanes lineup.

GSW hurlers did their best to keep the game close. Starter Earl Dupree threw four innings before making way for McIlwain. Justin Barnes struck out the side in the ninth. Hurricane pitchers combined for eight Ks and held the Pacers to six hits.

The Hurricanes returned to the diamond on March 7 for game two of the series.

Redding belted a pair of home runs for Georgia Southwestern in the match, but it wasn’t enough as USC Aiken defeated the Hurricanes, 19-11, in Game 2 of their Peach Belt Conference series.

Redding became the second player in GSW’s NCAA era history (since 2007) to hit two home runs in a game. The other Hurricane to accomplish the feat was Byron Haynes on Feb. 27, 2010, against West Georgia.

GSW could do little to slow down the Pacers on Saturday. USCA smacked 26 hits and scored in every inning but the fifth to improve to 13-6 overall and 6-5 in the PBC. The Hurricanes fell to 5-13 and 1-10 in conference play.

USCA scored a run in the first inning, another in the second and two more in the third to jump out to an early 4-0 lead.

In the bottom half of the third inning, the GSW offense came to life. The Hurricanes put together a six-run frame highlighted by a RBI single from Brett Burgess and a two-run single from Paul Sorrow. GSW had four hits in the inning and capitalized on a pair of USCA errors.

The GSW lead didn’t last long as the Pacers answered with four runs in the fourth to jump back on top, 8-6.

Redding tied the game in the fifth inning with one swing of the bat. His blast to left-center field brought home Vinny Nunez.

The Pacers snagged the lead back in the sixth with a five-run frame and would hold it the rest of the way.

Redding’s second home run was a solo shot in the seventh inning that landed on the batting cage beyond the left field wall.

Redding finished the day 2-for-5 with the two home runs, three RBIs and three runs scored. Sorrow went 3-for-5 with three RBIs and a run scored. Burgess was an efficient 3-for-4. He drove in a run and scored once.

Chaz Pal turned in a sensational day at the plate for USCA. Pal was 5-for-6 with two doubles, five RBIs and three runs scored. The Pacers had five batters finish with three hits. Ty Barkell poked two doubles. 

The two sides combined to bring 11 pitchers to the mound in the 3-hour, 45-minute contest. GSW used six. Starter Lance Shelton lasted 2 1/3 innings before he was relieved by Matthew Hubbard (0-1).

USCA starter Matt Hissong tossed two innings before Joe Marlow (1-0) came in for the next three to get the decision.

The series finale begins March 9 at 1 p.m.