Comeback fall shorts as Eagles drop 8-4 decision to No. 15 North Georgia

Comeback fall shorts as Eagles drop 8-4 decision to No. 15 North Georgia

VIDEO: Tom Griffin Interview


DAHLONEGA, Ga. – Four unanswered runs for the 15th-ranked North Georgia Nighthawks (3-1) in the final four innings doomed the Carson-Newman Eagles (0-3) Saturday afternoon at Bob Stein Stadium in Dahlonega, Ga. after C-N rallied to tie the game in the fifth.

Sophomore Cade Snapp (Seymour, Tenn.) sent a blast to opposite field that landed just shy of the UNG scoreboard in right-center field for a three-run home run on a 2-1 pitch to tie the contest at 4-4.

The Nighthawks responded a two-run inning in the fifth and seventh innings to take on the four-run difference and take the series victory over the Eagles.

"In baseball, there are freebies like walks, hit by pitches, wild pitches, passed balls that teams get that they don't have to earn. In the first two games of this series, we have lost that war," coach Tom Griffin said. "When you give good clubs that many free bases, you are going to struggle. It's going to be hard to beat good teams like that.

"Offensively, we look for quality at-bats and we have had that. The first two games here we have had quality at-bats in our system, but that being said, you have to come up with key hits with runners in scoring position and in the seventh there down two with bases loaded, we needed a crooked number and we are not getting that key hit. We are getting hits and hitting the ball hard, but we are not getting the key hits."

The Nighthawks got on the board early in the bottom of the first. Leadoff hitter Connor Hoover walked and Sam Tidaback singled to put runners on the corners with one out. Clean-up hitter Trevor Sams laced a 0-1 pitch that one-hopped the wall in left center to score both runs and give North Georgia the 2-0 lead through one inning.

In the bottom of the third, UNG extended its lead. Hoover had a leadoff double and a walk was issued to Devin Gearhart. After a fielder's choice moved each runner 90 feet to second and third, Sams picked up his third RBI of the day with a sacrifice fly to push the Nighthawks' lead to 3-0.

Carson-Newman responded with a run in the fourth.  Junior first baseman Paul Kirby (Goodlettsville, Tenn.) walked on five pitches and junior right fielder Hunter Wood (College Grove, Tenn.) singled to put runners on first and second. After a fly out, junior second baseman Eric Lynch (Boonton, N.J.) delivered a single to left center to score Kirby and cut the lead to 3-1.

North Georgia's Taylor Jones hit a long home run to right center to lead off the bottom of the fourth to extend the Nighthawks' lead to 4-1.

The Eagles' tied the contest in the top of the fifth. After a strike out opened the frame, senior third baseman Brandon Roberts (Davie, Fla.) was issued a five-pitch walk and junior center fielder Ryan Addington (Cincinnati, Ohio) singled to put runners on first and second with one out for Snapp. Snapp sent a 2-1 pitch over the wall in right center to tie the score at 4-4; the long ball was Snapp's first of the season and fifth of his career.

The Nighthawks responded quickly. Tidaback opened the inning with a single and moved to second after Ryan Timata walked; Jones picked up his second and third RBIs of the afternoon with a one-out double to center field. UNG loaded the bases but Steven Tomlinson flew out to right to end the threat.

After 1.5 innings of scoreless baseball, UNG capped the scoring with two runs in the seventh. Tomita walked to open the stanza and advanced to second on a groundout by Jones. Second baseman Erick Delgado roped a double down the left field line that rolled to the wall that scored Tomita easily. A Kirby error at first allowed Kevin Krupp to reach base and moved Delgado to third. Tomlinson hit a sac fly to right field for the second run of the inning and put the score at 8-4.

C-N had the leadoff batter reach base during the final three innings and the first two batters reached in the seventh and eighth. In the seventh, the Eagles' next three batters flew out to the inning and a double play ended the threat in the eighth.

Carson-Newman outhit UNG with 11 knocks while the Nighthawks had nine. Addington and Roberts had three hits each to lead the Eagles and Lynch followed pace with two. Tidaback led North Georgia with three hits.

Eagles' starting pitcher Austin Ray (Swords Creek, Va.) took the loss after pitching 4.2 innings and allowed six runs on seven hits; he walked five and struck out one. Steven Bower picked up his first win for UNG on the year with a 5.2-inning effoert that featured six hits, four runs, three strikeouts and two walks. Chris Cobb picked up his first save of the season with 3.1 innings of relief work. 

The Eagles and Nighthawks conclude the three-game series on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. at Bob Stein Stadium. Matthew Osborne will have the call from the Peach State beginning at 12:50 p.m. on