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LOCAL COLLEGE/PREP ROUNDUP: GSW golf earns votes in D-II poll; Lee County baseball loses slugfest with Tift -- again

Photo by Danny Aller

Photo by Danny Aller

Staff reports

sports@albanyherald.com

AMERICUS -- Collegiate coaches around the country have started taking notice of Georgia Southwestern's accomplishments this spring, including last week's performance at the Don Benbow Invitational where GSW finished ahead of eight NCAA Division I schools.

And as a result, on Monday the Hurricanes received votes in the latest Golf World/Nike Golf Division II Coaches' Poll for the second time in school history since moving from NAIA to D-II in 2006-07.

Former Lee County star and 2009 Albany Herald Player of the Year Nate Gahman has led the squad this spring with an average round of 73.29 over three tournaments. Gahman has been in the Top 13 of every tourney, with his best finish, sixth place, coming at the 14-team Argonaut Invitational (Feb. 28-Mar. 1).

J.P. Griffin is second on the team with a 75.57 scoring average. Griffin's best finish was a team-best 11th at the Armstrong Atlantic State University Pirate Invitational (Feb. 21-22).

"I am very pleased with how consistent my team has been playing this year," said GSW head coach Andrew Danna. "We're starting to play well top to bottom, which is what you have to have to win tournaments. It's been a total team effort."

The Hurricanes resume play on Mar. 28 at the Lander Bearcat Invitational in Greenwood, S.C.

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CARDIAC HURRICANES:

An Andrew Archer two-out, two-run single in the eighth inning lifted the GSW baseball team past Augusta State, 4-3, in the Peach Belt Conference series finale late Sunday at Hurricane Stadium. The win comes on the heels of an 10th-inning victory last week against Brewton-Parker.

The win improved GSW's record to 15-12 overall and 4-5 in the PBC.

Former Lee County star Matthew Suggs (3-0) threw a dominant two innings of middle relief for the Hurricanes for the win, striking out four batters of six batters faced. He struck out the side in the eighth.

The Hurricanes travel to Thomas (Ga.) on Wednesday.

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TROJANS LOSE FOR SECOND TIME THIS YEAR TO TIFT:

TIFTON -- After a 10-8 loss to Tift County earlier this year, Lee County's Chase Patrick stepped to the plate Monday night for the rematch with revenge on his mind -- then sent the first pitch of the game over the well.

Unfortunately for Trojans fans, it was pretty much all downhill from there.

Lee went ahead, 5-0, after the first two innings, then watched helplessly as the Blue Devils hung an 11-spot on the Trojans -- all with two outs -- in the bottom of the second and never recovered. Lee fell to 5-5 overall, two of those loses coming to Tift.

Chase Burnfin and Matt Mears both struggled at the plate as Burnfin (1 2/3 inning, seven runs, six hits, two walks) took the loss, while Mears didn't fare much better, lasting just a third of an inning as Tanner Stone had to be brought in to get the final out of the second. Stone then pitched 3 2/3 innings, giving up six more runs, eight hits and one walk, while striking out two.

Cole Janousek led Tift with a perfect 5-for-5 day, including two doubles. Lee's Chase Griffin went 2-for-5 with 3 RBI, Andrew Stroud went 3-for-5 with a home run and four RBI and Ryan Horne finished 2-for-3 with two RBI. Lee managed 14 hits against Tift, including Griffin's third homer of the season. All of his long balls this season have comed against the Blue Devils.

"We hit six home runs (combined between the two teams) in the first game, two by Chase, and that was a slugfest, too," Lee County coach Rob Williams said. "We just couldn't hold the lead (Monday) and we crawled back to get to within three runs twice, but never got closer."

Lee gets back to region play today when it travels to Bainbridge for a 6 p.m. game.

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RANDOLPH SOUTHERN BASEBALL 7, WESTWOOD 5:

Daylon Blanton pitched 6 2/3 innings, struck out four and gave up three runs Monday for the Patriots in the win, which improved Randolph's record to 3-5 overall, but more importantly got it off to a 1-0 start in region play. Blanton also had a solid day at the plate, going 2-for-3 with two RBI. Grant Kimbrell was 3-for-3 with a homer for Randolph to go along with two RBI and he also closed out the game in the final inning.

Westwood's Douglas Nobles shouldered the loss, while Wildcats newcomer Caleb Morrell finished 2-for-4 with two RBI.

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ALBANY, WESTOVER TENNIS SPLIT:

The Indians beat the Patriots, 5-0, on Monday to improve to 5-1 with its only loss coming to Thomasville. Corey Edwards (No. 1 singles), Sohum Jetha (No. 2), Alex Price (No. 3), Charles Norvell/Dylan Duke (No. 1 doubles) and Peter Diaz/Drew Tabatt (No. 2) all won for Albany.

The story was different in the girls match as Westover crushed Albany, 5-0. Westover's Savannah Boyson, Lizzie Hale and Rachel Clinny swept the singles for the Lady Pats, then picked up two more wins when Albany defaulted on the doubles matches.

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DWS GOLF STRUGGLES IN TRI-TEAM MATCH:

Reigning Herald Player of the Year Josh Crews was the lowest scorer of the day for Deerfield with an 82 as the Knights lost their first match of the season after a dismal 334 team score at Sunsweet Country Club in Tifton. Tiftarea won the match with a 332, while Sherwood was third with a 393. The Eagles were led by Walt Matthews' 88.

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DWS SPLITS WITH WESTFIELD:

The Knights, led by singles players Beau Sinyard (No. 1), Reid Wright and (No. 2, along with doubles tandems Nasser Rizvi/Robert Newsome (No. 1) and Will Calhoun/Chap Ivey (No. 2), improved to 8-0 with a 4-1 win Monday against Westfield. The Lady Knights, however, lost, 2-3, despite wins by Paige Hawke in singles and Amy Rao/Caroline Holley at No. 2 doubles.