AMERICUS - The Columbus State University baseball team managed to stay just beyond the reach of Georgia Southwestern on Saturday evening at Hurricane Stadium to hand the hosts a 9-7 loss in their Peach Belt Conference weekend series opener.
GSW suffered its fourth consecutive loss, and is 17-17 overall, 3-16 in the PBC while Columbus State improved to 24-10 overall, 10-6 in conference play.
Runs came fast and furious in the early innings.
The Hurricanes matched Columbus State with a two-run first inning thanks to Zach Barron's blast over the left field wall that scored Evan Alderman. It was Barron's team-leading fifth home run of the season.
Columbus State quickly regained the lead with two more runs in the second.
CSU tied the game in the fourth after opening the frame with three consecutive singles and took the lead for good when the Hurricanes had an errant throw back to the mound which allowed a runner to score from third.
Both side plated a run in the seventh inning and CSU capped the scoring with a run in the eighth.
GSW starting pitcher Jordan McIlwain (4-3) exited after the fifth having allowed six earned runs and nine hits. McIlwain walked three and struck out three. Matt Hubbard pitched two innings, held CSU to one run, walked one, struck out three and Kyle Spinks did the same.
Long went 3-for-5 at the plate with a double, two RBIs and run scored to lead Southwestern. Burgess added a pair of hits and two RBIs.
Ryan Ihle was 4-for-6 at the plate with a pair of doubles, two RBIs and three runs scored. Jackson Oliver and Mike McClellan had three hits apiece. Oliver, Ihle and McClellan, the first three in the CSU batting order, accounted for 10 of the Cougars 14 hits.
CSU starter Brandon Koehler (7-1) pitched six innings, allowed seven hits and six runs, walked two and struck out eight. Robert Hayes threw 1 1/2 innings of relief. Kolton Ingram picked off Brandon Weaver to end the eighth, walked a batter to open the ninth, then made way for Jarrod Little to earn his second save of the spring.
The series concludes Sunday with a doubleheader at 1 p.m.