March 5, 2012

Split Decision

SAVANNAH, Ga. – Despite losing 14-1 in the first game of the series on Sunday, the Georgia Southwestern Hurricanes were able to tally twelve hits on Pirate pitchers. The Blue & Gold were looking to build on the positives in their Monday morning double header at Armstrong Atlantic. They would see-saw their way to a split, winning 8-6 before losing 17-7.

GAME ONE: Georgia Southwestern-8  Armstrong Atlantic State University-6

It was once again Armstrong who would score first via a RBI single from the designated hitter R.J. Dennard in the bottom of the first inning. Just when things appeared to be déjà vu for the Hurricanes, Randall Sheffield drove in two runs with a RBI double in the second inning to answer the Pirates. But it would be punch-for-punch in the second inning as Armstrong would answer with two runs of their own to take the 3-2 lead.

The see-saw battle continued into the fifth inning when Michel Coffey would hit a solo home run to tie the game at three runs apiece. Just as they had the entire series, AASU would have an answer. A three-run home half of the six inning gave the home team the commanding 6-3 lead.

Yet the GSW hitters would rekindle the fire in the seventh inning for a four-run output that saw Hurricanes walk, hit and advance on errors. A RBI double by designated hitter Gabby Ramirez would score Beau Parker to cap the inning, which would end with Georgia Southwestern leading 7-6 after seven innings.

The Hurricanes would get an insurance run while missing out on the opportunity for more in the visitor half of the eighth. After opening walks by Randall Sheffield and Michael Sneed, the Hurricanes would load the bases with nobody out. The Blue & Gold would only score one in the inning, which came on the third AASU error of the day.

The door would be officially shut by left hander Matthew Suggs out of the GSW bullpen. Suggs would relieve Ambrosino in the sixth inning and would not allow a hit in nearly four innings of relief. He would get the win in the decision for his first win of the 2012 season.

GAME TWO: Georgia Southwestern-7 Armstrong Atlantic State University-17

After both pitchers retired the side in order in the first inning, Armstrong Atlantic would be the first to score in the game courtesy of a three-run second inning. AASU first baseman Chris Zittrouer would drive in two runs with a double, and Mike Barnhill would drive in Zittrouer two batters later.

It was feast or famine for the GSW offense that was held scoreless through the first four innings before erupting for four runs in the fifth inning. After Randall Sheffield recorded one RBI, the Pirates would elect to intentionally walk Michel Coffey, loading the bases, to face second baseman Beau Parker. Parker would respond with a bases clearing double to put the Hurricanes up 4-3.

The Pirates would match the offensive eruption from GSW with an explosion from their bats. An eight-run fifth inning saw nine AASU batters reach base and five different Pirates record RBI's as they would knock starter Matt Weaver out of the game. Armstrong would take the 11-4 lead and never look back en route to the 17-7 victory over the Hurricanes to take the series two games to one.

The hot bat for Georgia Southwestern for the series was outfielder Michel Coffey. The Dublin native went 7-14 with two doubles, one home run and three RBI's as he will leave the series with a seven-game hit streak intact.

After the split in Savannah, the Georgia Southwestern record stands at 3-15 (2-6 PBC). Coach McLain and company will have a two-day turnaround before traveling again for a mid-week game at Valdosta State University. First pitch is scheduled for 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday evening.

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