Posted: Saturday, February 2nd 2013 at 12:10am
North Georgia baseball drops season opener in extra innings
VALDOSTA -– Despite four early errors, the Fighting Knights of No. 28 Lynn University were able to claim a 9-8 win over the University of North Georgia baseball team with a walk-off double in the bottom of the 10th inning to open the Comfort Suites Classic hosted by Valdosta State University.
The Fighting Knights out-hit the Saints 9-4 in the game. North Georgia's first hit came in the top of the seventh inning when Brad Barto led off the inning with a single to second base.
Prior to that, the Saints were able to capitalize on a throwing error by the Lynn catcher to score the first run in the top of the first frame, but the Fighting Knights answered with two runs in the bottom of the first and another in the second frame.
The game progressed through the next three innings scoreless before North Georgia pulled within one run when Derek Hooper crossed the plate in the top of the sixth inning. The Saints then took the lead in the top of the seventh with two runs, but it was short-lived as Lynn came back with five runs to retake the lead in the bottom of the inning.
Despite the four-run deficit, the Saints kept batting and it paid off in the top of the ninth when Jesse Strickland, who led the team with a 2-4 performance at the plate, spurred a last-inning drive with a one-out hit to load the bases before Edwin Arias was walked, scoring Travis Naraine.
Following a pitching change, Hooper, who scored two runs on the afternoon, reached on a fielder's choice that allowed catcher Eason Spivey to score, pulling the Saints within two runs with two outs on the board. Strickland and Hooper then scored on two wild pitches to tie things up and set up a wild finish.
The Saints were able to send the game into extra innings by holding the nationally-ranked Fighting Knights scoreless in the bottom of the ninth, but after North Georgia failed to find the go-ahead run in the top of the 10th frame, Jason Matusik doubled and scored Danny Carroll from second to end the game.
Junior transfer Christian Turnipseed pitched the first 6.1 innings, striking out four batters, but it was redshirt freshman Brandon Agar who was saddled with the loss after one and a third innings of work while Andrew Melchor claimed the win for Lynn.
The Saints will continue their time in the Comfort Suites Classic tomorrow with a 6:00 p.m. game against Palm Beach Atlantic University.
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