Pirates Hold Off No. 15 North Georgia, 7-6, For PBC Series Sweep
SAVANNAH, Ga. - The Armstrong Atlantic State University baseball squad survived a ninth-inning rally by North Georgia to claim a 7-6 Peach Belt Conference victory and series sweep of the visiting Saints on Sunday afternoon at Pirate Field.
Armstrong (14-5, 5-4 PBC) runs its winning streak to five with the win, while North Georgia (13-8, 3-6 PBC) suffers its first road league sweep of the year.
Holding a 4-2 lead in the bottom of the seventh inning, the Pirates came up with three insurance runs on a two-RBI double by Drew Walker and an RBI single by Chris Zittrouer, both with two outs, to push the Armstrong advantage to 7-2.
North Georgia plated a run in the top of the eighth on an RBI single by Matthew Black, then started its comeback in the ninth by getting its first three batters to reach in the inning - pinch hitter Derek Hooper on a walk, Dustin Carpenter on a single and Eason Spivey on a hit by pitch.
Right fielder Cody Powell came in to relieve Eric Fowler and the first batter he faced, Jordan Erisman, reached on an error by shortstop Alex Frederick, scoring one run and putting the tying run on base.
Powell got the first out of the inning at the plate as Travis Naraine grounded back to the pitcher, cutting down Carpenter at home. Terrell Jones fouled out to deep left field scoring Spivey from third on the sacrifice fly to make the score 7-5. A walk to Kenny Bellevance loaded the bases again and Black was hit by a pitch to bring home Erisman and make it a one-run game with the bases still loaded.
But Powell retired Tremayne Toorie on a comebacker to the mound for the final out, picking up his first career save and preserving the 7-6 victory.
Armstrong started off the game quickly with four runs in the first four innings. Zach Taylor launched a solo home run in the first, his fifth homer of the year, and R.J. Dennard collected an RBI single and Powell delivered a sacrifice fly in a two-run third inning. Taylor then knocked an RBI single in the fourth for the 4-0 lead.
North Georgia scored in each of the last four innings, getting a single run in the sixth on an error and a run in the seventh on a sacrifice fly by Brad Barto, setting up the late-inning drama.
Powell's ninth inning of scoreless ball saved the win for Scott Strickland, who went 7 1/3 innings, giving up four hits and three runs - one earned - while walking six and striking out two to improve to 5-0 on the season.
North Georgia starter Taylor Keinat fell to 1-2 on the season, taking the loss after 6 1/3 innings of seven-hit, five-run ball, walking four while striking out four.
Taylor went 3-for-5 with two RBIs to pace the Pirates at the plate, while Zittrouer went 2-for-3 and Dennard extended his hitting streak to 15 games with his third-inning single.
Carpenter led the Saints on the day with a 3-for-3 performance.
Armstrong returns to action on Tuesday, March 13, hosting California (Pa.) in an 11:00 a.m. contest at Pirate Field in 2012 Savannah Invitational action.