GSW baseball coach Bryan McLain
COLUMBUS — Clinging to slim playoff hopes, the Georgia Southwestern baseball team needs to take advantage of every opportunity as the season winds down.
The Hurricanes let one slip away Friday in Columbus.
GSW took a 6-3 lead into the bottom of the seventh inning, but Columbus State came roaring back to win the Peach Belt Conference showdown, 10-6.
GSW entered the game seven games out of the final playoff spot with only 12 PBC games remaining — but instead of picking up a game on No. 8 seed Columbus State, the Hurricanes dipped further out of contention.
“Anytime you lose it’s tough to swallow it, but especially with what’s at stake here and the magnitude of these games,” GSW coach Bryan McLain said. “You have a chance to beat a team that you are chasing in the standings, and in some ways we feel like we gave it away.”
Hurricanes starters Frank Ambrosino held Columbus State to three runs in the first six innings, but Ambrosino and reliever Drew Cataldo combined to allow four runs in the seventh, and reliever Bray Bishop gave up three more runs in the eighth.
GSW never trailed in the first six innings and took a three-run lead in the top of the sixth when former Crisp Academy star Les Cromer, former Darton State College star Kevin Manos and leadoff hitter Josh Sanders all drove in runs.
Sanders finished the day 4-for-5 with two runs, while Randall Sheffield was 2-for-4 for the Hurricanes, who fell to 12-23 overall and 3-15 in the PBC.
The Hurricanes are now tied at the bottom of the PBC standings with Augusta State, but today’s doubleheader against Columbus State could help GSW creep up the conference standings.
“That’s the thing we talked about after the game, that we have to try to get two wins (today) and win this series,” McLain said.
Former Deerfield star Justin Lott will start today’s opener, while Matthew Suggs, a former Lee County star and the Hurricanes’ top pitcher, will start the nightcap.
GSW, which returns home April 13 for a doubleheader against Young Harris, has now lost three of its last four after winning three of four last week.
Raley pitches Baconton to 3-0 win vs. Seminole
BACONTON — Baconton Charter starting pitcher Taber Raley allowed just two hits in seven innings Friday to lead the Blazers to a 3-0 win against Seminole County.
Bradley Harris was the losing pitcher for the Indians, allowing three runs in six innings.
Taber improved to 6-0 on the mound, while Zack Jones had a double and Brock Pinson went 2-for-2 at the plate for Baconton (15-2, 9-0 Region 1-A), which plays again Monday at home against Worth County.
SHERWOOD GIRLS SOCCER CRUISES: The Sherwood girls soccer team improved to 14-2-1 with an easy 10-0 win Friday against Bible Baptist.
Katelyn Cuff and Jordyn Paramore each scored three goals to lead the Lady Eagles.
Molly-Kate McClearn added two goals, and Destiny Allen and Michaela Satchell each scored one goal.
The Lady Eagles play again today in Savannah against Memorial.
LEE COUNTY SPLITS: Lee County split a pair of Region 1-AAAAA games with Northside Columbus on Friday night. The Trojans lost the opener, 8-2 and came back to win the second game, 10-5.
Brent Kyzar started and went two innings to take the loss, and Robbie Feagans led Lee at the plate, going 2-for-4 with a double in the opener.
Chris Mosley picked up his first win of the season in the win in the second game. Mosley (1-3) went 4 2/3 innings and gave up three earned runs on five hits. Dalton Daniel had two hits for the Trojans and Luke Early had an RBI single. Northside committed eight errors to open the floodgates for Lee.
The Trojans are now 6-11 for the season and 4-6 in Region 1-AAAAA. They travel to Hardaway for a doubleheader next Friday.