DAHLONEGA, Ga. – Despite producing its second highest run total of the young season, Anderson University baseball was unable to keep up with North Georgia, falling in a 16-12 marathon game Saturday afternoon at Bob Stein Stadium.
With their second straight setback to their Peach Belt Conference foe, the Trojans drop the series with a game left to be played on Sunday. Anderson has dropped four straight games since claiming 2-of-3 in a South Atlantic Conference series from Carson-Newman last weekend.
Designated hitter Travis Smith notched his first hits in an Anderson uniform, finishing 3-for-5 with three RBI and a run scored. Right fielder Paul Como and first baseman Steven Cooper added two hits apiece, as the tandem combined for three runs scored and two RBI.
Senior left fielder Nathan Galliford knocked his fourth home run of the season in the fifth inning, as the Trojans recorded an impressive nine runs for the inning. During the stretch in the fifth, Anderson tallied six hits for nine runs, which included a two-run double by Cooper. Galliford and Cooper continue to lead the team in runs batted in for the season, as Galliford has 14 RBI in 14 games. Cooper ranks second with eight for the year.
Despite the nine-run fifth inning, North Georgia responded in the bottom half with seven runs to reclaim its lead at 10-9. Leading the Nighthawk lineup was Eason Spivey with a 3-for-4 afternoon with leadoff solo home run, followed by a three-run double in the seven-run fifth inning.
UNG’s Joey Cecere, Travis Naraine and Ryan Raper all totaled two hits on the afternoon, as Cecere and Naraine each recorded a double.
The Nighthawks added four more runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to take a 14-9 lead before AU scored three runs in the top of the seventh. Smith started the scoring in the seventh when he singled through the left single, scoring senior Josh Hickman and Como.
Anderson would tact on another run when sophomore Garrett Bernardo used a sacrifice fly to score catcher Jonathan Zalud, cutting the deficit to 14-12.
Later, UNG scored two insurance runs in the eighth frame to put the game out of reach. The win moves North Georgia to 7-4 on the season.
Anderson looks to avoid the sweep on Sunday when the Trojans and Nighthawks lock up again on Sunday. First pitch is set for 1 p.m.