No. 26 Saints Rally Late To Take Series With No. 3 UNCP
DAHLONEGA, Ga. – North Georgia broke open a scoreless game with seven runs in the bottom of the seventh inning and rode a strong pitching performance from Taylor Keinat to an 8-1 series-clinching win over visiting and third-ranked UNCP on Sunday afternoon at Bob Stein Stadium.
The setback marked the first consecutive losses of the season for UNCP (12-3, 3-2 PBC), who also dropped just its third series in the last two seasons as well. North Georgia (9-3, 2-1), ranked No. 26 in the latest top-30 poll by Collegiate Baseball News, has now won five of the seven series with the Braves since joining the Peach Belt Conference prior to the 2005-06 athletic season.
Six different Braves recorded singles in the contest, with Eitan Maoz providing the only RBI of the game for the Braves on a groundout in the eighth. Terrell Jones drove in a pair of runs and scored twice on a 3-for-4 outing for North Georgia, who also got a 3-for-4 game from Kenny Bellevance and two hits apiece from Derek Hooper and Brad Barto.
UNCP starter Alex Pearce (2-1) was tagged with his first career loss despite allowing just seven hits and two earned runs over 6-1/3 innings of work. Closer Braxton Lewis allowed five runs (two earned) on four hits, but was not awarded a decision despite failing to record an out in the seventh. Keinat (1-1) picked up his first collegiate victory after striking out four and yielding just six hits and one earned run over his second complete game of the season.
After very little action through the first 6-1/2 innings of the contest, North Georgia sent 12 batters to the plate in the decisive seventh. The Saints would get RBI knocks from six different players, including a two-run triple from Jones, but also utilized a costly fielding error by the Braves to plate three unearned runs.
The Braves will be back in action again on Wednesday when they make the short trek to Laurinburg to battle St. Andrews (5-9). First pitch is set for 2 p.m. at Clark Field.