AMERICUS, Ga. - The Georgia Southwestern baseball team won Game 1 of its Peach Belt Conference series against UNC Pembroke, 9-8, at Hurricane Stadium over the weekend, only to have the visiting Braves rally to take the final two contests, 7-5 and 8-6.
GSW senior Alex Kranick broke the program record for longest hitting streak by extending his current run to 23 games. Kranick hit .429 in the series (6-for-14) with a pair of walks. Freshman Jonathan Martin matched Kranick with six hits (6-for-13) and hit for the cycle over the three-game set. He belted a triple and grand slam in the opener and added a double in each of the final two games.
The Hurricanes finished the weekend with a record of 13-20 overall, 6-9 in the PBC and UNC Pembroke left town at 23-11, 7-8 in conference play.
GSW returns to action Saturday at the University of Montevallo for a PBC weekend series.
GAME 1: GSW 9, UNC PEMBROKE 8
Big innings were the story for GSW offensively in the opener. The Hurricanes scored four runs in the fourth inning to take its first lead of the series, 5-4, and then found a way to post another four-run frame in the eighth to score the final runs of Game 1.
Kranick stands all alone in the GSW record book with the longest hitting streak after punching a two-out single to right field in the second inning to extend his run to 21 games and surpass Zack Stanton (2010) for the lead.
With two outs in the fourth and the bases loaded, Martin sent a missile over the right field wall and erased a three-run deficit.
After UNC Pembroke scored a pair in the seventh inning and two more in the eighth, the Hurricanes capitalized on an error by the Braves and ripped four consecutive hits, including the game-winning, two-out, two-run single from Dakota Long.
GSW relief pitcher Mitch Holloway was called on to shut the door on UNCP in the ninth. Holloway delivered, making a play with his glove and getting some help from Kranick with a diving stop at second base, to earn his fourth save of the spring.
GSW outhit the Braves, 14-10. Kranick and Martin led the Hurricanes with three hits apiece.
GSW starting pitcher Kyle Spinks exited the game with a one-run lead after six innings, but did not factor into the decision. The win went to Matt Hubbard (1-1) as the Hurricanes rallied to come from behind in the eighth.
GAME 2: GSW 5, UNC PEMBROKE 7
The Hurricanes used the first and ninth innings as bookends for their runs in Game 2.
GSW took a 2-0 lead in the first on a two-out single from Zach Barron that plated Kranick and Martin, but it was zeros over each of the following seven innings, until the Hurricanes put together three hits and scored three runs in the ninth.
Martin doubled with one out to bring around Clay Patrick and Jared Jones followed with a ground ball to third that brought home Evan Alderman and then Martin on a errant throw. GSW had runners on the corners with two outs when the final out was made.
GSW outhit UNCP in the game, 11-10, but was done in by four errors. Kranick, Long and Josh Logan collected two hits apiece to lead the Hurricanes in the doubleheader nightcap.
GSW starting pitcher Dylan Brown (2-5) went 5 1/3 innings, held UNCP to three earned runs, walked eight and struck out two over 119 pitches. Coty Graham (2/3 inning) and Andrew Patrick covered things the rest of the way. Patrick allowed one earned run over his three innings on the hill.
GAME 3: GSW 6, UNC PEMBROKE 8
The Hurricanes collected five more hits (13-8) than UNCP in the finale, but left five more runners on base (14-9) in what proved to be the downfall of their comeback effort on Sunday. GSW had the bases loaded in the ninth inning when the final out was made.
GSW led 2-1 in the second after Kranick and Alderman picked up back-to-back RBI singles.
UNCP tied the game in the fifth inning, but the Hurricanes quickly bounced back in front as Kranick and Alderman reached base to open the frame before Martin doubled down the left field line to push across a run. Barron walked two batters later to load the bases with one out, but GSW was unable to extend its lead.
The Braves erupted for four runs in the seventh, sparked by a two-run blast from Drew Beaver, to move ahead, 6-3.
GSW got a run back in the bottom half of the inning off a sacrifice fly by Will Redding, but after UNCP tacked on a run in the eighth and another in the ninth, the gap proved too much to overcome.
Alderman, Martin, Logan and Andy Moore finished with two hits apiece to lead the Hurricanes.
GSW starting pitcher Jordan McIlwain (2-4) went 6 1/3 innings, allowed six hits and six earned runs, walked five and struck out a batter. Jarrod Crum handled the final 2 2/3 innings, held UNCP to a pair of hits and one earned run. He walked a batter and struck out three.