ST. AUGUSTINE, FLA – Tucker Smith pitched a complete game as the eight-seeded Georgia Southwestern Hurricanes defeated top-seeded North Georgia 4-2 in the first game of the 2019 PBC Baseball Tournament. The Hurricanes move to the top of Pool A; both teams will play two more games on Saturday in Palatka, Fla.
Smith finished his PBC-best sixth complete game of the season as he moved to 9-3 on the year. The PBC Pitcher of the Year, Smith gave up 11 hits and walked two while striking out six. He finished the game with 148 strikeouts, 106 of those for strikes.
North Georgia (32-19) got on the board first with two runs in the opening inning. Chase Sudduth crossed the plate as Bill LeRoy's single was turned into extra bases with a GSW fielding error. LeRoy then scored on Nick Clarno's RBI single.
UNG had an opportunity to build on the lead in the second inning. With runners at second and third and one out, Sudduth lifted a shot to deep left field. GSW's Jonathan Martin made a running catch over his shoulder as he approached the outfield wall, then fired the ball back to second base to pick off Crews Taylor, who left the bag after contact.
The Hurricanes tied the game in the top of the third. Martin provided the big blast with a one-out triple that scored Jacob Harrell. Martin then tied the game on an RBI single from Hunter Foster.
The score remained the same for the next four innings as both teams failed to capitalize on opportunities. GSW had the bases loaded in the fifth and sixth innings and failed to score a run while UNG put runners in scoring position in the fifth and sixth without bringing one home. GSW finished the game with 12 runners left on base, UNG had nine.
The Hurricanes broke through in the seventh as Bo Halcomb reached first with a one-out bunt single. That was followed by a Bradley Hough single and Matthew Mamatas, who was hit by a pitch to load the bases. A wild pitch scored Halcomb while a passed ball plated Hough.
UNG used four pitchers in the game. Steven Bower got the start and went six innings with six walks and seven strikeouts, but did not get a decision. Daniel McCrary (L, 3-3), Parker Morrison and Cody Collett all took the mound for the Nighthawks.
Skelton was 2-for-4 for GSW with a runs scored while seven other Hurricanes collected one hit each. Sudduth and Nick Clarno each had two hits for the Nighthawks.
Georgia Southwestern will face Georgia College at 10am on Saturday in Palatka and then Young Harris at 1:30. North Georgia will take on Georgia College at 5:00 and Young Harris at 8:30. The team with the best record in the pool will advance to Sunday's championship game.