LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. -- The St. Catharine College Baseball team (38-16) dropped their first game of the NAIA Opening Round tonight when they lost to top-seeded Georgia Gwinnett 11-5. Georgia Gwinnett has been ranked as high as first throughout the season and they are currently ranked third in the NAIA.
The Patriots advanced to the game after defeating Spring Arbor (Mich.) earlier today 9-3. With the loss to the Grizzlies, the Patriots will play an elimination game at 6 p.m. ET tomorrow against either Spring Arbor or Westmont (Calif.).
The Patriots jumped on the Grizzlies with three runs in the opening inning, but that would be all the Patriots got as they didn’t score again until the eighth. Meanwhile the Grizzlies began chipping away; they scored single runs in the fifth and sixth innings, then they broke through in the seventh with a five run inning. GGC would continue to pad their lead with a run in the eighth and three more in the ninth to secure the victory.
John Werner (Anaheim, Calif.) gave the Patriots a quality start on the mound. Werner picked up the no decision after allowing two runs on three hits in his six innings of work. He finished with seven strikeouts and five walks.
James Davenport (Louisville, Ky.) failed to record an out in the seventh as he allowed three runs on three hits. Davenport (2-1) picked up the loss for the Patriots. Carlos Cespedes (Santo Domingo, D.R.) then followed Davenport and pitched two innings allowing three runs – two earned – on five hits. Tyler Jones (Huntington Beach, Calif.) and Alex Knowles (Huntington Beach, Calif.) combined to pitch the final inning allowing three runs on three hits.
After Werner pitched a 1-2-3 top half of the first, the Patriot bats began to heat up in the bottom half of the inning with three runs on three hits. A strikeout opened the inning, but Alfredo Bohorquez (Maracaibo, Venezuela) singled to get it started. Harold Diaz (Gurabo, P.R.) then reached on a fielder’s choice to put runners at first and second.
Dominique Guevara (Oxnard, Calif.) came up and ripped a double to left-center field to score two runs. After a wild pitch moved Guevara to third, Santiago Arce (Chula Vista, Calif.) legged out an infield single to score Guevara. It looked as though St. Catharine was going to score more, but a deep fly out to right ended the inning.
Werner continued to deal on the mound for the Patriots. He had his no-hit bid broke up in the fifth inning when the Grizzlies broke through with a run on one hit. Brian Jacobs reached on a one-out walk and Trey Haygood was called upon to pinch run. After a fly out, Haygood advanced to second on a stolen base. Arsenio Watlington then ripped a single up the middle to score Haygood from second.
The Grizzlies continued to chip away in the sixth with a run on two hits. A one-out double by Kyler Timmerman put a runner in scoring position and after a ground out to move the runner up 90 feet, Kyler Hodorowki singled to score the runner from third. Werner worked his way out of the inning with a strikeout.
The levy then broke in the seventh when the Grizzlies put up a five spot on six hits. The Patriot defense had a tough time spotting the ball in the seventh that allowed the big inning. Cespedes came into the game with runners at first and second with nobody out. He was able to work his way out of the inning thanks to a double play, but not before GGC scored five runs to take a 7-3 lead.
The Grizzlies added another in the eighth on two hits and a key Patriot error. The Bat Pats got two runs back in the eighth on two hits. After a walk to open the inning, back-to-back singles by Arce and Tyler Devine (Harrodsburg, Ky.) loaded the bases with no one out. Josh Wenning (Palmyra, Ind.) was then hit by the pitch to force home a run. Drew Kissel (Jeffersonville, Ind.) reached on a fielder’s choice and Arce was forced out at home. Bohorquez also legged out a fielder’s choice that scored Devine. But that would be all the Patriots would get in the inning.
GGC continued to pad their lead in the ninth when they scored three runs on three hits to push their lead out to the final margin of victory at 11-3.