SAVANNAH, Ga. - The Armstrong Atlantic State University baseball squad split a Peach Belt Conference-opening doubleheader with GRU Augusta on Saturday, winning the second game 12-3 after the Jaguars took game one, 13-6, at Pirate Field.
The Pirates (4-3, 1-1 PBC) and the Jaguars (4-5, 1-1 PBC) will decide the three-game series with a single game at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday afternoon.
Game one saw GRU Augusta jump out to to a quick 3-0 lead in the game's first two innings. Hunter Boose and Ryan Khan delivered back-to-back RBI singles to plate two in the first inning, then Jeff Rice collected an RBI double in the second inning.
The Jaguars pushed that lead to six with three runs in the sixth inning, highlighted by a two-run double by Connor Gilbert. Armstrong got two back in the bottom of the sixth inning on an error and a Matt Wisniewski RBI single.
GRU Augusta extended the lead to 8-2 with two runs in the top of the eighth inning on back-to-back RBI doubles by Boose and Khan. Armstrong would cut the lead to just three, 8-5, in the bottom of the eighth on a two-run pinch-hit single by Ryan Patterson and a pinch-hit single by Dalton Johnson, but the Jaguars put the game away in the top of the ninth with a five-run frame. All 13 runs scored by the Jaguars in the contest came with two outs.
Mitchell Dolan (0-2) took the loss for the Pirates in game one, giving up eight hits and three runs in four-plus innings of work, walking three while striking out five. Kip Custer (2-1) notched the win for the Jaguars with seven innings of nine-hit ball, giving up two runs - one earned - and striking out three. Clint Echols notched his second save of the season with 1 1/3 innings of one-hit, one-run relief.
Zach Lance went 3-for-5 with an RBI to pace the Pirates offensively in game one, while Boose went 5-for-6 with four RBIs and Tyler Roberts went 4-for-5 for the Jaguars.
In game two, the Pirates flexed their offensive muscle in the first three innings, jumping out to an 8-0 lead. Armstrong plated four in the first inning on a two-RBI single by Patterson and a two-run double by R.J. Dennard. Dennard would add a two-run home run in the second inning, then Tyler Avera's two-run single in the third would stake the Pirates to the early lead.
A two-run single by Dalton Johnson in the fifth inning pushed the lead to 10-0. The Jaguars got all of their runs in the game in the sixth inning via the longball as J.D. Sabo had a solo shot and Boose added a two-run shot. The Pirates' Clayton Miller would add a solo shot of his own in the sixth, then cap the scoring with an RBI single in the seventh.
Ethan Bader (3-0) notched the win for the Pirates by hurling 6 2/3 innings of seven-hit ball, giving up three runs and two walks while striking out eight. It was his 23rd career win as a Pirate, tying him with Joey Williams (1997-2000) for fourth on the Armstrong all-time win chart. His eight strikeouts also passed Williams for fourth on the all-time K chart with 198.
Tyler Brown (0-1) took the loss for the Jaguars, giving up eight hits and eight runs - six earned - in three innings of work, walking three while striking out two.
Dennard finished game two with a 3-for-4 day, driving in four to pace the Pirates, while Miller went 2-for-4 with two RBIs and Avera finished 3-for-5 with two RBIs. Sabo and Boose each had two hits in game two to lead the Jaguars.