April 7, 2012

Splitsville; Canes Take 1 of 2 From Division-Leading Bobcats

AMERICUS - What a difference a day makes.

After suffering a 10-2 lopsided loss to Georgia College on Friday night in the series opener, the Georgia Southwestern baseball team played the Peach Belt Conference's west division leaders to a split in Saturday afternoon's doubleheader. Pitching was in the spotlight on Day 2 as the two teams combined for five less runs over two games than was generated in Game 1 on Friday. The Hurricanes won the first game on Saturday, 2-1, while Georgia College grabbed the rubber game of the series with a 3-1 victory.

GSW now sits at 9-29 this spring with a 6-17 record in conference play. The Hurricanes postseason hopes are slipping away as North Georgia won two of three against Columbus State over the weekend and is three games up on Southwestern for the fourth - and final - seed out of the west division in the PBC Tournament. GSW has only six conference games remaining in the regular season.

Georgia College remains atop the western side with a 13-7 conference mark and a record of 22-15 overall.

GAME 1: GSW 2, GC 1

Starting pitchers Frank Ambrosino of GSW and Mike Guinane of GC did not not disappoint in Saturday's first game. A pair of errors in the seventh inning would lead to the deciding run in GSW's 2-1 victory.

Ambrosino and Guinane went tit for tat over the first opening 6 2/3 innings.

The Hurricanes scored first with a run in the second inning. Kyle Nobles delivered a two-out single to score Randall Sheffield, who had singled and stole second earlier in the frame.

The Bobcats answered in the fourth with a run of their own to tie the game at 1-1. Clay Ardeeser hit his own two-out RBI single to bring around Cody Maas, who opened the inning with a single and advanced to second on a fielding error.

Chase Young reached base in the seventh for GSW when his sacrifice bunt attempt was misplayed. He would eventually score the winning run on GC's second fielding error of the inning.

Ambrosino (3-2) gave the Hurricanes 8 2/3 innings of yeoman's work. He allowed seven hits, walked two and struck out seven. Three of the final four batters he retired were struck out. Trent Franzago relieved Ambrosino with two on in the ninth and recorded the final out of the game.

Guinane (1-6) was the tough-luck loser for GC. He pitched 6 2/3 innings, scattered five hits, walked two and struck out five. Although charged with two runs, only one was earned. Chris George and Matt LaMothe threw 2/3 of an inning and held the 'Canes scoreless. Both of LaMothe's outs were strikeouts.

Zach Moss led the Hurricanes at the plate with a 2-for-4 performance. Nobles collected the lone GSW RBI.

Ardeeser and Patrick Daugherty had two hits apiece for the Bobcats.

GAME 2: GSW 1, GC 3

Matt LaMothe, who closed out the first game of the afternoon for Georgia College with a scoreless 2/3 of an inning and two strikeouts, carried that momentum into the nightcap and kept GSW at bay in his first start of the 2012 season to get the win in a 3-1 ballgame.

GSW starter Matt Weaver did his best to match his counterpart, but ran into trouble in the fifth inning. After striking out the leadoff batter, Weaver allowed singles to Jeremy Donaldson and Heine Rivera and both men advanced a base on a wild pitch. A Bryce Williams ground out to the shortstop was enough to score Donaldson and break a 0-0 score.

GC added two more runs off Weaver in the sixth behind a RBI double from Travis Echols and a sacrifice fly by Karsten Strieby.

Zach Hula relieved LaMothe in the sixth and threw four innings. Hula allowed the only 'Canes score in the ninth when Michel Coffey tripled to center field and scored on a John Duran ground out.

Weaver (1-7) threw 5 1/3 innings for GSW and surrendered six hits and three runs. He walked three and struck out four. Justin Lott was solid in 3 2/3 innings of relief, striking out six.

LaMothe (3-0) allowed eight hits in five innings and struck out three. Hula picked up his fourth save of the season while holding GSW to two hits over four innings while walking one and striking out one.

The Hurricanes out-hit the Bobcats, 10-6, but left 11 runners on base. Coffey, Duran, Randall Sheffield and Gabby Ramirez collected two hits apiece. Sheffield had a double.

Donaldson was the only GC batter with multiple hits as he finished 2-for-3.

GSW returns to action on Wednesday with a non-conference tilt against Valdosta State at 5 p.m. at Hurricane Stadium.

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