ANDERSON, S.C. – After suffering a heartbreaking 4-3 loss at GRU Augusta on Tuesday, Anderson University baseball returns to action with four games in four days, beginning with a nonconference showdown with nationally-ranked Nova Southeastern on Thursday and following with a three-game series at North Georgia beginning on Friday.
With its narrow setback on Tuesday, AU is now 3-8 overall with a 3-3 mark in South Atlantic Conference play. With an uneven number of teams in the SAC this season, the Trojans are forced to step away from their conference schedule this weekend after taking 2-of-3 from Carson-Newman last weekend. The weekend series with North Georgia will be the only three-game set that will stretch over three days AU will take part in all season.
A pair of Trojans lead the team, offensively, as senior outfielder Nathan Galliford and sophomore middle infielder Kyle Bailey are both hitting over .300 this season. Galliford, who ranks 30th in the SAC, is hitting .314 for the young season, while Bailey is slotted 31st, hitting .310. Galliford is currently tied for the conference lead in home runs with three and is third in runs batted in with 11.
On the hill, junior Landon Beck ranks third in the league in strikeouts with 19, despite having the fewest innings out of anyone in the top-8 in the category (11.0). Beck’s remarkable 15.55 strikeouts per game leads the conference as Mars Hill’s Dale Innes is second at 11.65. The Hartwell, Ga. native carries a 2.45 ERA and is holding hitters to a .279 batting average.
Nova Southeastern enters the mid-week contest with an impressive 10-1 record and ranked No. 9 in the latest Collegiate Baseball Newspaper Poll, released on Monday. Despite their Florida location, the Sharks carry a 4-1 record against Southeast Region teams, grabbing a doubleheader win over Tusculum, a single game over Catawba and splitting a twin bill with Pfeiffer.
Junior outfielder Mario Urdaneta leads the Shark attack, hitting .455 with eight RBI and nine runs scored. Urdaneta’s .550 on-base percentage ranks first on the team and has also posted three stolen bases. Senior Brooks Fleming currently paces the squad with two home runs and is the long Shark with double figure RBI, recording 13 for the year.
Defensively, NSU’s pitchers have accumulated a 2.48 ERA and have given up just 24 earned runs in 11 games. Junior right-hander Roberto Baroniel has started three games this season and carries a 1.29 ERA with 14 strikeouts in 21 innings en route to a 3-0 record. Teammate Julian Loret de Mola is also perfect for the season, entering Thursday with a 2-0 mark with a 1.13 ERA and 13 strikeouts.
The Series vs. Nova Southeastern
Anderson and NSU will meet for the first time on Thursday, as it will also be the first time a team from the Sunshine State Conference makes the trek to Anderson Memorial Stadium.
After beginning the season being swept by Saint Leo, UNG responded with a five-game winning streak highlighted by a sweep over Salem International. Most recently, North Georgia captured 2-of-3 over Pfeiffer last weekend at UNG’s Bob Stein Stadium.
Two-way player, Trevor Sames, currently leads the team at the plate, hitting .345 with seven RBI and three runs scored to go along with her two doubles and one home run this season. Tremayne Toorie and Eason Spivey follow Sames in average, while the duo is both hitting over .300 as Toorie carries a .333 mark and Spivey is third with a .303 average.
Right-hander Brandon Agar is a perfect 2-0 on the mound early on in the year, tossing 20.1 innings (first in the league) and striking out 24, which ranks second in the Peach Belt Conference. His 0.89 ERA ranks eighth in the conference.
The Series vs. North Georgia
Since 2004, UNG has controlled the all-time series with a 14-3 record against the Trojans. AU has not taken a game from the Nighthawks, originally the Saints, since 2012 with a 2-0 win in 12 innings.