'Canes Can't Hold On, Lose 6-5

AMERICUS - The third time was the charm for North Georgia on Sunday afternoon against Georgia Southwestern in the rubber game of their Peach Belt Conference series. GSW answered North Georgia scores on two occasions before a three-run seventh inning helped the Saints pull out a 6-5 victory at Hurricane Stadium.

The Hurricanes (5-26, 3-14 PBC) missed an opportunity to tie North Georgia (14-14, 5-10 PBC) in the win column in the PBC West Division standings and move closer to that all-important fourth spot in the division which garners a birth in the PBC Tournament.

A leadoff walk, coupled with three-consecutive singles put GSW in a hole early as North Georgia jumped to a 2-0 lead in the first inning.

The Hurricanes answered in the bottom half of the inning. Michel Coffey opened with a single, John Duran reached on a throwing error and both men scored on a Randall Sheffield single to right.

The game remained tied at 2-2 until the fifth when a Terrell Jones double to the right-field corner scored Kenny Bellavance from first.

Again, GSW had an answer in the bottom half of the inning. The Hurricanes put together a three-run, four-hit frame highlighted by a two-run single from Beau Parker.

The decisive rally came from the Saints in the seventh inning. A Bellavance two-run double to left center tied the ballgame. After advancing to third on a ground out, Bellavance scored on a two-out wild pitch by Justin Lott.

The Hurricanes could get a runner no farther than first base the rest of the way.

Coffey, Sheffield and Parker had two hits apiece for the 'Canes. Parker and Sheffield each drove in a pair. Southwestern hit into four double plays in the game and seven DPs over the two losses in the series.

Bellavance led North Georgia at the plate with his 3-for-5 afternoon. Bellavance drove in two runs and scored three times. Jones, Matthew Black and Andrew Gordon added two hits apiece.

GSW starting pitcher Matthew Suggs (1-6) settled in after a rocky first frame and finished with 6 1/3 innings on the mound. Suggs allowed six runs - four earned - and three walks while recording six strikeouts. Lott tossed the final 2 2/3 innings and did not surrender a hit or a run while walking one and striking out two.

North Georgia starter Blake Hobby (4-2) pitched eight innings. He allowed five runs - four earned - and registered three walks and three strikeouts. Reese Patten notched one out before handing the ball to Phillip Taylor, who earned his first save of the season after forcing a game-ending double play.

Southwestern returns to action on Saturday with a 1 p.m. doubleheader at Augusta State.