Baseball vs. North Georgia
Baseball Takes Opening Day Extra Inning Thriller
Modified Feb 01, 2013 08:29 PM
Valdosta, Ga. – Nearly undone by unearned runs, Lynn University’s baseball team was able to battle back in extra innings to topple North Georgia 9-8 in its season opener Friday afternoon. Ryan Lashley homered in his Blue & White debut, Paul Stortini drove in three runs and Kentrail Pierce struck out five in five innings without allowing a hit in earning the opening nod. The Fighting Knights have now won five of their last six season openers.
Chris Piperno would be the man to start off the 10th inning rally and help Lynn earn the victory. The senior designated hitter looked at three consecutive pitches outside the zone before Brandon Agar threw one down the middle. Piperno, though, used his apt vision to stare down the next offering from Agar just off the plate to draw a lead-off walk.
The speedy Danny Carroll immediately came in as a pinch runner and advanced to second after a visibly shaken Agar missed the strike zone badly for a wild pitch. Two batters later Jason Matusik smashed a towering double to right center field to give the Fighting Knights the victory.
Lynn’s 2013 season did not open as planned with Pierce walking the first batter he faced, Edwin Arias. Arias would later score without a UNG (0-1) hit after a balk, wild pitch and error. With one swing of the bat, though, Lashley put the Blue & White on top. Alex Freedman drew a one-out walk in the bottom of the first and was able to trot around the bases following the senior infielder’s smash over the fence in left field.
Freedman then put LU on top 3-1 in the second with a bases loaded ground out, scoring Piperno who opened the frame with a single back up the middle. The Saints were not about to let their first meeting with 28th-ranked Lynn go down without a fight as they took advantage of three errors in the sixth and seventh innings to score three runs and grab a 4-3 lead.
Pitching issues plagued North Georgia in the bottom of the seventh and allowed Lynn to put five runs on the scoreboard. Three consecutive walks to Cory Elasik, Freedman and Lashley chased UNG starter Christian Turnipseed from the game. His replacement Clint Spratlin surrendered a sacrifice fly to Sal Giardina Jr., and then walked Mike Gonzalez to load the bases for a second time.
Chris Cobb looked to limit the damage but Stortini had other thoughts, belting a bases clearing triple over center fielder Derek Hooper’s head. Cobb’s troubles continued when his next pitched leaked to the backstop, allowing Lynn to grab an 8-4 lead.
Lynn had its own troubles trying to secure the victory. North Georgia was able to load the bases and draw a run scoring walk before a fielder’s choice, passed ball and two wild pitches sent the game into extra innings.
Elasik went 1-for-3 with a run scored and stolen base and Enrique Perez was 2-for-5 with a swipe as well.
The Fighting Knights return to action on Saturday, February 2, at 2 p.m. when they take on Valdosta State. Fans can catch the action live at LynnFightingKnights.com and receive in-game updates by following @LUKnights on Twitter and Instagram.