AMERICUS - Georgia Southwestern starting pitcher Frank Ambrosino set the tone for the afternoon with a complete-game, 11-strikeout, one-run effort in the Peach Belt Conference series opener with Young Harris College at Hurricane Stadium on Saturday. The Hurricanes won Game 1, 5-1, and took the nightcap, 8-5.
Southwestern improved to 14-25 overall and 5-17 in the Peach Belt. The Hurricanes have a winning record at home this spring, with a mark of 10-9. PBC newcomer Young Harris falls below .500 to 18-19 overall and sits at 7-16 in conference play.
The two schools wrap up their inaugural PBC series Sunday at noon.
GAME 1: GSW 5, YOUNG HARRIS 1
It was the Ambrosino show in Saturday's opener.
Ambrosino faced the minimum on six occasions, retiring the side in order five times and forcing an inning-ending double play on the other occurance to pick up his first victory of the spring. Minus a rough outing at Columbus State last weekend, Ambrosino has been strong over the past month, holding opponents to three runs over a 23 1/3 inning stretch.
Chambless finished 3-for-4 with two RBIs to lead GSW batters. Cromer and Eldridge added two hits apiece.
YHC starter Adam Moore (4-3) threw 4 1/3 innings, allowed four runs - three earned - and seven hits. Moore walked five and struck out one. Brice Merritt, Donald Frew and Oliver Pratt shared the final 3 2/3 innings in relief for the Mountain Lions.
GAME 2: GSW 8, YOUNG HARRIS 5
The Hurricanes jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first and held off YHC the rest of the way. Blane Parker drove in two of the runs for GSW in the opening frame with his two-out triple to right field.
Of the Hurricanes eight runs scored in Game 2, five were knocked in with two outs.
YHC closed the gap to a single run in the third inning with a pair of RBI singles.
Taylor gave the Hurricanes a little breathing room in the bottom half of the third when his infield single brought home Randall Sheffield from third base.
Similarily, Taylor drove in Sheffield in the fifth inning, this time by way of a sacrifice fly to give GSW a 5-2 advantage.
Trey Rogers made it a two-run game in the sixth inning when he led off with a home run to left field for the Mountain Lions.
Young Harris added single runs in the eighth and ninth innings, but GSW put the game out of reach with a three-run frame in the home half of the eighth. John Duran picked up a RBI and Eldridge brought around a pair for the Hurricanes.
Perhaps the biggest plays of the nightcap came in the eighth inning when, after YHC had pulled within 5-4, Bray Bishop came on in relief of GSW starter Matthew Suggs. The Mountain Lions had runners on second and third with only one out when Bishop struck out two-consecutive batters to work out of the jam.
Parker turned in a three-hit performance to lead GSW. He collected a single, double and triple to fall just a home run shy of hitting for the cycle. The middle of the Hurricanes batting order took advantage of scoring opportunities as hitters four through six in the batting order (Eldridge, Taylor and Parker) accounted for six RBIs. Eldridge had two hits, as did Sanders.
Suggs (4-6) pitched 7 1/3 innings before making way for Bishop. Suggs allowed four runs and seven hits while walking two and striking out six. Bishop struck out three in 1 2/3 innings of work to earn his third save of the spring.
YHC starter Justin Cooper (2-5) threw 4 2/3 innings, allowed five runs - two earned - and eight hits while striking out two. James Mills followed with three innings of relief and Tyler Isbell forced the final two outs.