JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – The Georgia College Bobcats (24-5) smacked five home runs in two games defeating the Carson-Newman Eagles (17-18) 12-8 in the first game and 9-3 in the second game Sunday afternoon at the Silver Diamond Baseball Complex.
The Bobcats entered the weekend averaging nine runs per game, third most among all Division II teams while having a .328 batting average, 15th nationally. Carson-Newman stranded 19 runners on base in the two games while outhitting Georgia College 24-21.
"We had better at-bats," head coach Tom Griffin said in comparison to the rest of the season. "They were more encouraging at-bats. We are sitting there with runners in scoring position and there is something that is keeping them from releasing and letting go."
GAME ONE – Georgia College 12 Carson-Newman 5
Georgia College used the long ball to surge out to a 5-0 lead. Leadoff hitter Ryan Sabalaskey drove a 2-1 pitch down the left field line that clipped the fair pole to make it 1-0. With two outs and the bases loaded, catcher Steve Hazel cranked his fifth home run of the year over the wall in left center for a grand slam.
Carson-Newman sent ten men to the plate in the bottom of the second inning. Freshman designated hitter Greg Jones (Maryville, Tenn.) walked to lead off the frame and moved to second base on a wild pitch. Junior shortstop Bryan Everhart (Greeneville, Tenn.) roped a ball into left field to plate Jones and get the Eagles on the scoreboard. With one out, junior centerfielder Evan Kirkpatrick (Jefferson City, Tenn.) crushed a ball off of the wall in center field to bring home Everhart. With the bases loaded, sophomore third basemen Brandon Roberts (Davie, Fla.) hit a ball just out of the reach of a diving Rob Hogenkamp in center to bring home Kirkpatrick. Sophomore left fielder Joe Tipton (Dandridge, Tenn.) drew a bases loaded walk to make it a 5-4 game after two innings.
In the fourth inning, the Bobcats began to pull away. An error by sophomore catcher Gooch Greer (Dickson, Tenn.) allowed a run to cross the plate. With two outs, first basemen Clay Ardeeser lined a single into left field to make it a 7-4 lead for the visiting club.
The Bobcats put up three more runs in the top of the fifth inning thanks to three doubles including RBI two-baggers from right fielder Jake Sandlin and Hazel to make it a 10-4 deficit for Carson-Newman.
Junior first basemen Evan Jurjevic (New Carlisle, Ind.) bounced a single into center field to score Tipton in the seventh inning to make it a 10-5 contest.
Ardeeser continued the home run parade in the eighth inning with an opposite field two-run blast over the wall in left center field to make it a 12-5 game.
Rajkovich tallied a three-hit day while Everhart and Jurjevic each notched a pair of hits, but the Eagles left 10 men on base in the contest.
GAME TWO – Georgia College 9 Carson-Newman 3
The second game began as a pitcher's duel with senior right-hander Dustin Dunagan (Winder, Ga.) struck out eight of the first ten batters that he faced.
The Eagles manufactured a run in the bottom of the fourth inning. Everhart doubled to the gap in left center to start the frame and advanced to third base on a ground out. After Jurjevic walked, an errant pickoff attempt allowed Everhart to score and give Carson-Newman a 1-0 edge.
Dunagan had retired eight straight batters when the Bobcats saw designated hitter Taylor Hinshaw single and Hazel draw a walk. Everhart committed his 13th error of the season on what would have been a double play ball that would have ended the inning. The next batter, second basemen Brandon Benson bounced a single into center to tie the game at one.
The visiting club put up three runs in the sixth inning. With one out, shortstop Daniel Bick singled and stole second base. An error by Roberts that skipped off of the third basemen's glove and took a bad hop over towards the second base bag to score Bick. Hinshaw deposited a 2-2 pitch over the wall in left field to make it a 4-1 lead for Georgia College.
Kirkpatrick started the seventh inning with a line drive that went to the fence in center field, but the Eagle centerfielder was thrown out at third base. It would prove costly to the home club. Two pitches later, junior catcher J.D. Cowart (Athens, Tenn.) hit his first career home run over the fence in left field to make it a two-run game.
Georgia College scored two runs in the eighth inning courtesy of two walks and two hit batters by Eagle pitching. Ausmus smacked his seventh home run of the season on a 2-2 pitch to start the eighth inning making it a 6-3 game, but a two-run home run by Sandlin capped a three-run frame to make it 9-3.
Dunagan took the loss to fall to 2-4 on the year despite striking out 12 batters, the most by an Eagle since Chris Armstrong struck out 12 versus Lenoir-Rhyne on March 1, 2013.
Roberts and Everhart went 3-for-4 as Carson-Newman outhit Georgia College 13-8, but the Eagles left nine men on base including a runner at third on four occasions.
The Eagles will play five games this week beginning with a 3 p.m. first pitch at Limestone Tuesday afternoon.
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