LOCAL COLLEGE/PREP ROUNDUP: Rams fall at home to Fla. powerhouse Tampa, drop to 1-11

Darton Freshman Riliani Familia of the Dominican Republic had a monster day at the plate for the Cavs, going 4-for-5 with a double and his first two home runs of the season

Darton Freshman Riliani Familia of the Dominican Republic had a monster day at the plate for the Cavs, going 4-for-5 with a double and his first two home runs of the season

ALBANY — The Albany State baseball team got a stiff test Thursday evening when the University of Tampa Spartans came to town, boasting a 10-2 record and a ranking as high as No. 3 in at least one NCAA Top 25 poll.

And while the Spartans may have taken home a 4-2 victory, the Rams’ effort left the team with something to smile about. After all, it may have come as a surprise to some that the 1-11 Rams entered the ninth inning tied with the heavily favored Spartans. But Golden Rams coach Kenyan Conner was not one of those people.

“We’ve been showing that we could compete with top-tier teams all year,” said Conner, who routinely schedules a brutal non-conference slate early in the season to prepare for the conference schedule later in the year. “We’re still trying to learn how to finish close games, but our guys showed a lot of fight (Thursday). Our pinch-hitters got hits for us. It was a great team effort (even though we lost).”

The Rams trailed for most of the game, but when Tampa shortstop Jacob Tillotson misjudged an infield grounder hit by former Westover star Kerry Hall, the Rams had runners on first and third with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning down just 2-1. In the next at-bat, Theodore Tramontana belted a single to shallow centerfield, bringing a run home to tie the game at two runs apiece. All of a sudden, the Golden Rams had new life after not scoring since the fourth inning.

But just as quickly as ASU got back in the game, the Spartans pulled away. With the first at-bat in the top of the ninth, Spartan first baseman Jake Schrader doubled to left field. After that, outfielder Michael Danner brought Schrader home with a single to right-centerfield. Danner stole two bases, then after a pitching change, ASU’s Trevor Billings walked Sean O’Brien. After a sacrifice fly on the next at-bat, the Spartans would go up, 4-2, and hold off the charging Rams from there.

Tampa pitcher Caleb Kellogg picked up the win, while ASU’s Jared Arrington took a loss, giving up eight hits and dropping the Rams to 1-11 on the season.

The Rams’ biggest bright spot Thursday was the bat of Hector Carrasquillo, who finished a perfect 3-for-3.

The Rams next host Edward Waters College on Saturday at 1 p.m.

Darton baseball rolls; Lady Cavs softball splits

DOTHAN, Ala. — The Darton State College baseball team rolled to yet another win early in the season Thursday when the Cavs trounced Wallace-Dothan, 12-3.

The victory was Darton’s fourth in a row, improving the Cavs’ record to 10-4 overall.

Casey Moody improved to 2-0 on the mound after going four innings, allowing just two runs on three hits, while striking out five and walking just one.

Freshman Riliani Familia had a monster day at the plate for the Cavs, going 4-for-5 with a double and his first two home runs of the season. But the freshman from the Dominican Republic was not alone as Cody Wofford finished 2-for-3 with a run scored and an RBI; Kyle Conkle was 2-for-3 with two runs scored, a homer and an RBI; and Rashad Billups finished 2-for-5 with two RBI, two runs scored, a triple and a home run — his second of the year.

Darton returns to action today for a rare game against northern competition when Lake Michigan comes to town.

DARTON SOFTBALL SPLITS: The No. 10 nationally ranked Lady Cavs lost Game 1 of Thursday’s doubleheader with East Georgia, 2-1, then rebounded to win Game 2, 5-1.

Jostlyn Higgerson took the loss in the opener, despite pitching a complete game. She gave up one earned run on six hits, and she also struck out six. But the Lady Cavs’ bats didn’t help her out. Chelsea Showers (1-for-2, run) and Kelsea Ogletree (1-for-3, RBI) provided the only offense.

Game 2, however, was a different story — thanks to red-hot Melissa Dearth, who hit her fourth home run in as many games Thursday, finishing 2-for-3 with a grand slam to give her a team-high seven dingers on the year. Kelsey Swinson also provided some offense, going 1-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored.

Darton improved to 17-5 overall and will next face Georgia Military at home Tuesday in a doubleheader beginning at 3 p.m.

Darton women’s hoops to host S. Georgia Tech today in region tourney semis; SGT men win regular-season finale

ALBANY — The Darton State College women’s basketball team puts its No. 1 seed and No. 11 national ranking on the line today when the Lady Cavs host South Georgia Tech in the Region XVII tournament semifinals at Cavalier Arena.

Tip-off is set for 5:30 p.m., and the winner will earn the right to advance to Saturday’s title game, which will also be held at Darton.

SOUTH GEORGIA TECH MEN 62, WAYCROSS 58, OT: The Jets, whose conference tourney begins next week, secured the sixth seed Thursday with their overtime win. SGT (21-9) will play No. 3 seed Gordon on Tuesday, having won two of its last three games.

Stedman Lemon and Jacob Obande led the Jets on Thursday with 17 points each, while Anthony Etheridge added 14.

Lee County baseball team routed on road by Tallahassee Chiles, begins season 0-2; Albany rips Mitchell, 18-3; SCA soccer rolls

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — The Lee County baseball team is off to an uncharacteristic 0-2 start following Thursday’s 9-1 road loss to Chiles High School in North Florida.

Brent Kyzar actually had a solid game in the loss. The Lee starter pitched six innings, allowed just three hits and struck out six, but the game got away from the Trojans late.

Jack Bell finished 2-for-3 from the plate, followed by Andrew Stroud, who was also 2-for-3 with a double.

Lee tries to get win No. 1 today when it hosts Harris County in its first region game.

ALBANY HIGH BASEBALL 18, MITCHELL COUNTY 3, (3): The Indians opened the season 1-0 by making quick work of the Eagles.

Carlton Wiley struck out six and allowed just one hit in two innings for Albany, while Malik Mathis led the Indians, going 3-for-4 with a triple.

Albany returns to action Monday when it faces city rival Monroe.

SHERWOOD SOCCER SWEEPS: The SCA girls ripped Lafayette Christian on Thursday, 8-1, to move to 3-0, while the Eagles won, 5-3, to improve to 2-0.

Sherwood got goals from Christia Charles (4), Kylee Harrod (2), Jordyn Paramore and Aubri Hughes, while the boys were led by reigning Herald Player of the Year T.J. Clay, who scored four times. Judd Spencer added Sherwood’s other goal.

The SCA girls next play Tuesday at Southland, while the boys are off for a week.