GC baseball falls to UNG two games to one

Emily Henderson, Staff Writer

GC baseball hosted one of their conference rivals, the University of North Georgia Nighthawks, in a three-game series starting Friday, March 31. After a tough first game for the Bobcats, they fought back to try to win the series. 

In Game 1, the top of the first inning was rocky for starting pitcher Josh Hudgins, who started the game by hitting the leadoff batter. Hudgins’ bad luck continued after an error was committed on a potential double-play that was dropped by third baseman Ben Tuten. Despite this start, Hudgins got out of the inning without any damage.

The second inning was not much better for the Bobcats, as they were unable to put up a scoreless inning defensively. The first two batters got on base with a single and a walk before an eventual RBI-single drove in a run. Hudgins kept his composure, striking out the next batter and pitching into a double play to end the inning. 

Early game struggles continued in the top of the third inning for the Bobcats after a leadoff home run from UNG making the score 2-0.

In the bottom of the third, GC tried to put numbers on the board. The Bobcats had back-to-back singles, but the runner was thrown out at third, stranding a runner on first as the inning ended.

Again, in the bottom of the fourth, the Bobcats tried to produce runs but failed. Junior Palmer Sapp launched a ball to deep center field with a runner on base, but with a leaping catch over the center-field wall, UNG prevented the Bobcats from tying the game up.  

Finally, in the bottom of the fifth, things started working out for GC. Junior catcher Trevor Knowles perfectly placed a hit right behind the third-base bag, putting him in scoring position at second base. With the help of a wild pitch, Knowles advanced to third before scoring on an RBI-groundout from Dominic Arienzo. 

The sixth inning was not the best work from the Bobcats, giving up two walks and five hits, making the score 8-1 for UNG.

The Bobcats produced back-to-back home runs by Hunter Baker and Knowles in the bottom of the seventh. This was Knowles first career homer for the Bobcats.

While the Bobcats got cold, the Nighthawks were still hot. UNG scored four more runs in the top of the ninth, including an inside-the-park homerun due to an overthrown ball to the catcher, ending the game 12-3. 

“This game was not up to the standard that we hold here at Georgia College, myself included,” Hudgins said. “I needed to be a better strike thrower. We needed to stay on the attack the whole entire game. But, overall, that is not who we are, and we will bring it tomorrow.” 

GC flushed away what happened in the first game and bounced back in the next two games. 

The Bobcats won game two of the series after taking the lead early with two singles by freshman Evan Cowan and Sapp. A bases-clearing double by senior Trey Ham gave the Bobcats extra support to win the game 6-2.

Game three of the series was a close battle between the Bobcats and Nighthawks. The Bobcats rallied back in the bottom of the ninth after being down 2-5 with a single from Ham, a bases-loaded walk and a fielder’s choice from Mason Spivey. Unfortunately, after two throwing errors off of a bunted ball, two runners scored for the Nighthawks, and the Bobcats could not come back, losing the game 5-7.

“Games like the first one show us how we can bounce back as a team,” Knowles said. “You know, we could have let down and lost these next two games, but we pushed back and almost won the next two.” 

The Bobcats are in the final stretch of the season, with important conference games against tough teams coming up. 

“We just need to continue to do the things that we always preach,” said head coach Nolan Belcher. “We need to get leadoff hitters out, stay in good counts, play good defensively and grind out at-bats.” 

Come support the Bobcats as they host Emmanuel College for their tailgate tour game Tuesday, April 4, at 5:00 p.m.