AMERICUS - The third inning was a big inning. It was big once for Georgia Southwestern, it was big once for North Georgia in the split of a Peach Belt Conference baseball doubleheader at Hurricane Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Not to be outdone, North Georgia posted eight runs in the third inning of Game 2 and cruised to a 15-2 win.
The two teams will play the rubber game of the series on Sunday at 1 p.m.
GAME 1: GSW 6, North Georgia 3
Michel Coffey drove in three runs for the Hurricanes and Gabby Ramirez drove in the remaining three as Southwestern took the opener, 6-3.
Sparked by a five-run, five-hit third inning, the Hurricanes were able to keep a comfortable cushion the rest of the way. The two-run home run from Coffey was his team-leading fourth shot of the year. Ramirez hit his first home run as a member of the Hurricanes.
GSW added a run, its final run of the game, in the fourth when Coffey doubled to right to score Zach Moss, who had singled to open the inning and stole second.
North Georgia cut the GSW lead in half in the sixth behind RBI doubles from Travis Naraine and Matthew Black and an RBI single from Dustin Carpenter.
Coffey posted his second three-hit performance of 2012 to lead GSW at the plate in the opener. He went 3-for-5 and was a triple shy of hitting for the cycle. Moss, Randall Sheffield and Chase Young added two hits apiece.
Andrew Gordon led NGCSU batters with a 3-for-4 effort.
Frank Ambrosino (1-2) pitched the 'Canes second complete game of the spring. Ambrosino scattered seven hits, did not walk a batter and struck out five.
North Georgia starter Taylor Keinat (1-3) allowed six runs - two earned - in three innings of work to take the loss. Davis Patrick and Cody Clickner combined for five innings of scoreless relief. Patrick struck out two in his 3 1/3 innings on the mound.
GAME 2: GSW 2, North Georgia 15
The runs came early and often for North Georgia in the nightcap as the Saints rolled to a 15-2 victory.
North Georgia jumped to a lead in the first as cleanup hitter Matthew Black delivered a three-run shot to left center to give the Saints a 3-0 advantage.
While those runs would prove to be enough, the Saints added eight more in the third behind a seven-hit, four-double frame. NGCSU pounded the left-field line as Black smacked an RBI double down the line, Andrew Gordon cleared the bases with a three-run double in the corner and Eason Spivey added a two-base shot to that same area of the field to plate a run.
The Saints scored two more in the fifth and their final two in the seventh. North Georgia finished with 22 hits in Game 2.
GSW snapped the shutout in the ninth when Gabby Ramirez singled in Corey Benson who had doubled one at bat earlier. Chase Young delivered an RBI single to score Ramirez.
Zach Moss was the only GSW batter with multiple hits in the nightcap (2-for-3).
Jordan Erisman collected five hits to lead the North Georgia attack. Erisman went 5-for-6 with a double, two RBIs and three runs scored. Kenny Bellavance was 4-for-5 with a double, a triple and three RBIs. Black and Derek Hooper had three-hit performances.
GSW starter Matt Weaver (1-5) was roughed up for eight runs - seven earned - in two innings. Trent Franzago allowed three runs in his inning on the hill. Cameron Blinn pitched four innings and surrendered four runs on nine hits. Gray Carden tossed a scoreless eighth and a scoreless ninth.
Jacob Beauchamp (3-0) threw eight scoreless innings in only his second start of 2012. He walked three and struck out five while scattering four hits. Chip Fleming pitched the ninth and allowed two runs - one earned - on three hits while striking out a batter.