One day after getting swept by PBC foe Flagler, GSW and Michael Coffey put together one heck of a gut-check rally to win Sunday, 5-4, thanks to Coffey’s two-out, two-run walk-off homer in the ninth. (Chris Fenn/Georgia Southwestern)
AMERICUS — A three-run rally in the bottom of the ninth inning capped by Michel Coffey's two-out, two-run, bases-loaded, walk-off double lifted the Georgia Southwestern baseball team to a thrilling 5-4 victory against Flagler College at Hurricane Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Southwestern (2-12, 1-4 PBC) snapped an 11-game losing streak and handed Flagler (9-5, 5-1) its first defeat in seven contests and its first conference loss of the spring.
For the second straight game, GSW came out of the gates swinging. The Hurricanes posted two runs in the first inning (they scored three runs in the first in Game 2 on Saturday) after starting the afternoon with back-to-back-to-back singles. Gabby Ramirez drove in Coffey and Andrew Archer picked up an RBI on his sacrifice fly to right field that brought home Beau Parker.
Flagler answered in the fourth behind an RBI double from John Sgromolo and a fielder's choice from Jay Laurienzo.
In the fifth, Nate Fudala singled for Flagler, stole second and scored on Brett Moreland's single to right, giving the Saints a 3-2 lead.
Both sides went scoreless over the next three innings, saving the dramatics for the ninth.
Flagler added an insurance run in the top half when Moreland struck again with an RBI single to right to bring home Fudala for a second time. Two batters later, with the bases loaded and two outs, GSW reliever and former Lee County star Gray Carden forced Sgromolo, who had been hitting .417 in the series, into a pop out to shortstop John Duran.
The bottom half of the inning started with consecutive singles from GSW's Archer and Corey Benson. Both men hit line shots to center field where Laurienzo made terrific diving attempts at both balls only to have them bounce off his glove and fall to the turf.
When the 'Canes were unable to advance the runners on a sacrifice bunt attempt, Randall Sheffield was called upon to deliver a clutch hit — and that he did. Sheffield went opposite field and doubled down the right-field line to score Benson and make it a one-run game.
Flagler reliever Max Rusch struck out the next GSW batter, then walked John Duran to set the stage for Coffey. The junior from Dublin ripped a pitch on the outer half of the plate over the head of the left fielder, who was playing in a few steps, and brought around two runs for the walk-off victory.
Coffey, Archer and former Bainbridge star Beau Parker collected two hits apiece for the Hurricanes and seven of the nine players in the batting order picked up at least one hit.
Moreland capped a terrific weekend at the plate for Flagler by going 4-for-5 with two RBI on Sunday. He hit .769 (10-for-15) in the three-game series. Fudala, Laurienzo and Devon Hellett had two hits apiece as well for the Saints.
Neither starting pitcher played a role in the decision.
GSW starter Frank Ambrosino threw seven innings and allowed three runs while striking out six and walking only one. Former Lee County star Matthew Suggs pitched 1 1/3 innings before making way for Carden who gets the win and improves his record to 1-2.
Jack Charleston started for the Saints and tossed six innings. He allowed two runs, struck out two and walked one. Max Kreuter pitched a scoreless inning and Max Rusch (3-1) came on for the final five outs.
GSW returns to action Tuesday with a non-conference game against Auburn Montgomery at Hurricane Stadium.
First pitch is set for 5 p.m.