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Baseball falls in finale

DAHLONEGA, Ga.North Georgia College & State University four runs in the first to defeat North Greenville 8-6 in non-conference baseball action Wednesday night.

The Saints struck early in the contest, scoring four runs in the top of the first inning to give starter, Caleb Copeland, a comfortable lead for the next eight innings. The inning started with Craig Brisson lining a double to left, followed by a walk to Andre Airich. Josh Tate then sacrificed both runners over, with a bunt to the pitcher for the first out. The next two batters, Justin Rickett (intentional) and Creston Warner, were both walked to drive in the first run of the game. Anders Oster kept the inning alive when he singled through the left side to plate Airich and Rickett for a 3-0 lead. Freshman Brad Hall then hit a sacrifice fly to plate Warner for the final run of the inning.

North Greenville was able to chip into the lead with runs in the second and third innings, trimming the lead to 4-3. The Crusaders’ runs came on a Cory Hinton single and a Curt Marshall double. The Saints answered in the third and fourth innings with a solo homerun off the bat of Rickett to give the Saints a 5-3 lead. The homerun tied Rickett with former Saint Richie Daigle for the career lead with 24 and made the senior the all-time career RBI leader at the school. In the fourth, the Saints were able to plate a run after Kevin Morrison reached on a lead-off bunt single down the first base line. He was able to score two batters later when Brisson singled to centerfield.

North Greenville added two more runs in the top of the sixth off of Copeland to trim the lead to 6-5, but relievers Mitch Williams and Garrett Lussi were able to keep the Crusaders at bay. Chris Tate and Marshall both scored on ground outs.

North Georgia was able to add another run in the seventh courtesy of Tate. The sophomore outfielder blooped a double between three players down the rightfield line. He then created havoc on the bases as he stole third with Warner at the plate. As he was running, North Greenville’s catcher Curt Marshall stood to throw the ball to third, as he did so he hit the bat of Warner putting the ball into the third base dugout and Tate at the plate for a 7-5 lead.

The Saints added an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth when Airich doubled to left to score Brisson to put the Saints up 8-6.

Caleb Copeland (2-3) went six innings, allowing five runs off of seven hits. Ironically, none of the runs that Copeland allowed were earned on the night. He struck out three, while not yielding a walk. Lussi recorded his first save of the season with two innings of relief.

Devin Vance suffered the loss for North Greenville, pitching eight innings and walking seven while striking out 13.

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