'Canes take two from Augusta State

Georgia Southwestern rallied for two runs in their final at-bat to defeat Augusta State, 11-10, in the first game of their Sunday evening doubleheader at Hurricane Field; GSW went on to take the second game, 9-6.

It's the third time this season that GSW has rallied from behind in their last at-bat to win.

Francisco Gomez and Zack Stanton collected five hits apiece on the day to lead the Hurricane offense. Gomez knocked in six runs and Stanton had four RBI.

In game one, the Hurricanes scored two runs in the first to take the early 2-0 lead.

However, in a back-and-forth game that saw seven lead changes, ASU scored three runs in the third inning to take their first lead of the game, 3-2.

GSW would put together a four-hit, two-run third inning to grab the lead back, 4-3.

Southwestern was held scoreless in the middle three frames and trailing 6-4 heading to the bottom of the seventh. That's when the ‘Canes offense exploded for five runs.  The first six batters of the inning went single, double, triple, single, double and single to give the ‘Canes a 9-6 lead.

Augusta State scored two runs in the eighth and another two runs in the ninth to set the stage for the Hurricanes walk-off victory.  With one out, Gomez singled to left field. Stanton doubled down the left field line; Byron Haynes, pinch running for Gomez advanced to third. Daniel Lynn was intentionally walked. Jared Allen hit a long fly ball to center field that was dropped to bring in Stanton and Haynes for the win. 

Neither starting pitcher factored into the decision. ASU relief pitcher Chase Johnston (2-2) allowed the final two runs - one earned - in 2.1 innings of work to take the loss.

Hurricane closer Bud Fuller (4-3) surrendered both ASU runs in the ninth, but pitched the final 1.1 innings to get the win.

Five ASU batters turned in multi-hit nights in the opener, led by Alex Walker's 4-for-5 performance at the plate.

Gomez and Stanton each went 3-for-5 for the ‘Canes. Chris Lingham and Kevin Carroll had two hits apiece.

In the nightcap, the Hurricanes scored in each of the first five innings, including three runs in the third, to cruise to the 9-6 win.

After ASU scored two runs in the first inning, Southwestern answered with a run in the first and another in the second to tie the game.

In the home half of the third inning, a three-hit frame, highlighted by Gomez and Stanton's back-to-back doubles, gave GSW a 5-2 lead.

In the fourth, GSW added another two runs off RBIs by Gomez and Stanton.

Southwestern would add single runs in the fifth and seventh to complete their scoring on the night.

A late rally by the Jaguars, highlighted by a Jorge Virguez solo home run in the ninth would put the final three runs of the game on the board, but leave ASU three runs short as the ‘Canes won the nightcap, 9-6.

ASU starter Scott Strickland (2-3) took the loss in 3.1 innings of work for the Jaguars. He allowed seven runs - six earned - on eight hits with four strike outs.

Hurricane starter Andrew Whiggum (3-4) picked up the win, throwing eight innings and allowing four runs - three earned - on one hit. He scattered 10 hits, struck out two and walked one.    

Evan Smith went 3-for-4 with a RBI to lead Augusta State (17-17, 5-6 PBC) from the dish. Four other ASU batters turned in two-hit performances.

Bud Long led the ‘Canes at the plate, finishing 3-for-4 with a RBI and run scored. Gomez, Stanton and Jared Allen had two-hit nights for GSW (14-21, 6-8 PBC). Gomez (3) and Stanton (2) combined for five RBI.

GSW and Augusta State play the final game of their three-game weekend series tomorrow (3/30) starting at 1 p.m.