The Armstrong State University baseball team snapped an eight-game Peach Belt Conference losing streak Saturday, March 26 with a 7-6 victory over the North Georgia Nighthawks.
Armstrong scored all seven runs within the first five innings and held the lead to secure a much-needed win, taking the final game of the weekend series. The Pirates dropped two of three games to the Nighthawks over the weekend.
But the close call victory on Saturday is encouraging going into Tuesday’s non-conference home matchup against number sixteen-ranked Belmont Abbey. The Nighthawks notched both victories in the Friday double-header, winning game one 6-0 and taking game two 6-5 in 11 innings.
In Game 1, North Georgia’s Brandon Agar threw a three-hit shutout, walking two while striking out 14 to pick up the win. Trevor Sams drove in three runs with a double and a home run while Sam Tidaback mashed a two-run home run for the Nighthawks. In Game 2, the Pirates and Nighthawks went into the top of the seventh tied 4-4.
North Georgia’s Sams had an infield RBI single to short giving the Nighthawks a 5-4 advantage. Armstrong’s Will Austin responded an inning later with a RBI double to the left-center gap, evening the score once more. The teams remained tied going into extra innings when Devin Gearhart knocked the game winning RBI single in the eleventh inning to plate Kevin Krupp.
Austin had two hits and two RBI in game two for the Pirates, while Zack Goble had three hits and Cody Sherlin had two hits and two RBI. In the Saturday afternoon series finale, Armstrong jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the third inning thanks to a couple of errors by North Georgia shortstop Connor Hoover.
Kendrick Thompson reached first on an error by Hoover to kick the rally off. He later scored on an RBI double by Ryan Patterson. A fielder’s choice by Ryan Lawless brought home another run, just before Spencer Harvey belted a three-run home run to left field for the 5-0 lead. Armstrong tacked on a couple more runs in the fifth inning with an RBI single by Berry Aldridge and an RBI triple by Chandler Corley.
The Nighthawks chipped away at the lead with a run in the sixth as well as the seventh inning. In the eighth inning, after the Nighthawks had filled the bases with only one out, lightning halted play for 38 minutes. When play resumed, North Georgia singled in a run, but Pirate reliever Caleb Woods got a flyout to end the inning and the threat with only one run scored.
In the ninth inning, the Armstrong faithful watched the Nighthawks cut more into the lead with an RBI groundout by Sams, making the score 7-4. A bases-loaded walk followed, letting in another run and drawing the lead to 7-5 with the tying runs in scoring position. Avery Fagan saved the win for JT Phillips, who earned the win by hurling seven innings of six-hit ball, giving up two runs – one earned – and three walks while striking out 10, giving him his eighth straight start with at least eight strikeouts.
The Pirates hit the road this weekend to face off against Montevallo in a threegame series that starts with a doubleheader on Saturday, April 2 and wraps up on Sunday, April 3.