COLUMBUS – A two-out, two-run rally in the bottom of the ninth inning by Columbus State in Game 1 of a Peach Belt Conference doubleheader against Georgia Southwestern on Sunday afternoon lifted the 19th-ranked Cougars to a 2-1 victory at Ragsdale Field. CSU scored seven runs over the first two innings of Game 2 for a 7-2 win and series sweep of the Hurricanes.
GSW falls to 23-19 overall and 9-12 in the PBC. The Hurricanes have lost five of their last six conference games and must win two of three next weekend against 12th-ranked Francis Marion to qualify for the PBC Tournament. Columbus State improves to 29-14 overall and 13-8 in conference play. The Cougars are currently the West Division leaders and, with three PBC games remaining, can finish no worse than the West's second seed in the conference tourney.
In Game 1 on Sunday, GSW finally broke a scoreless game with a run in the eighth. The sequence started with a Stephen Gaylor one-out walk. Beau Parker followed with a chopper in front of the plate that he was able to beat out, putting runners on first and second. Michel Coffey then had the clutch hit singling through the left side to bring in Gaylor.
GSW brought in closer Gray Carden in the bottom of the ninth inning and overpowered the first two batters striking both out. Ahead 1-2 in the count, Carden hung a slider to Mitch Rider who hit a single to leftfield. Pinch-runner Aaron Jividen advanced to second base on a wild pitch then slid in safely to tie the ballgame at 1-1 after Eric Weiss singled through the right side. As the throw went in to home, Weiss took the extra base moving up to second. Scoop Pharr hit the walk-off single to left field plating Weiss.
GSW starting pitcher Jody Sellars was impressive on the mound working eight scoreless innings and limiting the Cougars to just three hits. Carden (3-2) suffered the loss throwing 2/3 of an inning and surrendering two runs on three hits. Beau Parker, Michel Coffey and Paschal Poston led the offensive attack for the Hurricanes each going 2-for-4.
CSU starter Tyler Carpenter allowed one run over 7 1/3 innings on six hits and three walks. Brian Satterfield picked up his second win of the series tossing the final 1 2/3 innings of the game as he improved to 3-0 this spring.
CSU had six different batters pick up a hit in the contest, none put together a mulit-hit performance.
In the series finale, Columbus State scored all seven runs in the first two innings and cruised to a 7-2 victory. The Cougars opened with four runs in the first inning and added three in the second.
GSW pushed both of its runs across in the fifth. Heath Lock was hit by a pitch to start off the inning. Gaylor followed with a walk. After the first out of the frame was recorded, Coffey singled to left field to load the bases. Andrew Archer hit a sacrifice fly and Jared Allen had an RBI single.
Parker and Allen paced GSW by picking up two hits apiece. The Hurricanes tallied nine hits in the game to match CSU. Zach Whitman (4-4) bounced back after a shaky start to work six innings allowing seven runs - four earned - on eight hits and three walks while striking out four. Hunter Thompson threw the final two innings picking up a pair of strike outs surrendering just one hit.
Weiss and Tyler Googe had two hits apiece for Columbus State. Brodie Leibrandt (6-2) allowed two runs in the complete-game effort while giving up nine hits and striking out five on the afternoon.
The Hurricanes return home for a 5 p.m. game with Albany State on Tuesday.