Hurricanes baseball opens season 2-1 after home series against Mars Hill
Published 10:13 am Wednesday, February 8, 2017
From STAFF REPORTS
AMERICUS – Junior pitcher, Jordan McIlwain, threw five scoreless innings in the opening game of Saturday afternoon’s doubleheader to help guide the Georgia Southwestern State University (GSW) baseball team to a 2-0 win, but Mars Hill University earned a split by defeating GSW in the nightcap, 10-2, at Hurricane Stadium.
It was opening day for GSW while Mars Hill entered the weekend 1-0.
The schools wrapped up their series on Sunday in a tilt that the Hurricanes won 3-2.
In the season curtain-raiser, the ‘Canes got off to a strong start and kept up the momentum to earn the win.
GSW scored a run in the second inning and another in the third to put the Lions behind early.
Josh Logan knocked in the first Hurricane run of the season with a single to right field that plated Zach Barron.
Dakota Long then brought home Evan Alderman with a single to center field in the third stanza. Alderman opened the frame with a stand-up triple.
McIlwain made way for Matt Hubbard after scattering three hits, walking a batter, and striking out two. Hubbard was outstanding during his two innings on the hill. He walked two and struck out five. Jarrod Crum threw a scoreless eighth inning before Mitch Holloway came on for the save. Mars Hill put two runners on to start the inning and, following a sacrifice bunt, Holloway recorded a strikeout and Barron made a nice play in the hole at shortstop to secure the win.
Logan and Will Redding had two hits apiece to lead GSW.
Matt Honeycutt and Hunter Merrill had two hits apiece for Mars Hill.
Starter Alec Bivens took the loss for Mars Hill. Bivens threw four innings, allowed seven hits and both runs while striking out four GSW batters. Jared Mathewson kept GSW off the board for three innings, gave up one hit, walked four, and struck out two. Caleb Edwards tossed a scoreless eighth inning.
In game two of the series, however, the visitors managed to even the score.
The GSW pitching staff matched its walk total from Game one in the first inning of Game two and Mars Hill capitalized on the Hurricanes miscues by pushing six men across the plate to start the nightcap.
The Lions added a run in the second inning to put GSW in a 7-0 hole.
Bradley Hough brought home Alex Kranick in the third inning with a single to right field for the Hurricanes’ first run of game.
Mars Hill scored twice in the fifth inning before GSW plated its final run of the day in the bottom of the fifth. Barron drove in Alderman with a single to right field.
Dylan Brown struggled on the mound for GSW in his first appearance of the year. Brown had to exit after two-thirds of an inning. Coty Graham held Mars Hill to a run over his three innings of work and struck out five batters. Andrew Patrick allowed two runs over one and one-thirds innings and A.J. Hayes closed things out for the Hurricanes. Hayes looked good over his two innings on the mound, recording five strikeouts while being charged for one unearned run.
Zac Brown picked up the win for Mars Hill. Brown threw the first four innings, allowed one run, walked one, and struck out six. Kaleb McCurry earned the three-inning save, held GSW to one hit and one run, walked two and struck out three.
A good night’s rest did wonders for the Hurricanes and the GSW team snagged their second win of the season the following afternoon.
Barron opened the scoring for the Hurricanes with a homerun in the bottom of the second. In the top of the sixth, Mars Hill tied the score with an unearned run and took a slight lead in the top of the eighth with another run.
GSW’s Clay Patrick played the role of the equalizer with a homerun in the top of the eighth, eventually forcing the game into extra innings.
In the bottom of the tenth, GSW’s Diamyn Hall singled to left field with the bases loaded, pushing in Alderman for the game-winning run.
Kyle Spinks spent six innings on the hill for the Hurricanes, striking out six batters and walking three.
Lawson Stewart took up hurling duties for the remaining three innings of regulation play, striking out one batter and walking one more. Mitch Holloway is credited with the win after pitching the final frame.
In addition to Patrick and Barron’s homers, Kranick contributed a double to the win.
Alderman, Long, and Logan each contributed hits as well.
The Hurricanes will return to their home diamond in Americus on Feb. 11 to face Kentucky Wesleyan College in a double-header. Games are scheduled to begin at 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m.