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Georgia Highlands wins GCAA tourney opener

Daniel Gooden and Jonathan White combined for five RBI to help lead Georgia Highlands to a first round win at the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association Tournament in Albany Wednesday.

The Chargers defeated Gordon State, 7-4.

GHC started quickly with a pair of runs in the top of the first.

Brandon Bell, Brandon Etheridge, Nick Fink and Gooden opened the offense with four successive singles and White drove in a run with a sacrifice fly for a 2-0 lead.

In the top of the third inning, the Chargers loaded the bases again with no outs.

Fink reached on an error in front of walks to Gooden and White. Mitch Burger and Trenton Nutter followed with RBI groundouts to put Georgia Highlands ahead, 4-0.

Gordon State scored a run in the bottom of the third to cut the lead to 4-1, but the Chargers pushed their advantage back to 5-1 in the top of the fourth.

Fink had the only hit in the inning, but a hit batsman and two walks plated a run.

Gordon State made things interesting in the bottom of the fifth with three tallies that cut the GHC lead to 5-4. The Highlanders scored on a solo home run and then took advantage of two errors and an RBI double.

The Chargers extended their lead in the top of the sixth on a two-run homer by Gooden that led to the 7-4 final score.

Georgia Highlands relievers, Colby Taylor and Will Griffin kept Gordon State off the scoreboard through the final three innings to make starter, Tanner Thomson, the winning pitcher. Thomson (6 IP, 4R, 2ER, 4H, 4BB, 6K) scatter four hits and four walks while striking out six. Taylor (2 IP, 0R, 3K) was successful through the seventh and eighth innings, and Griffin (1 IP, 0R, 1H, 1K) picked up a save.

Tyler Holcombe was tagged with the pitching loss for Gordon State.

Chase Suddith led the Highlanders offense with three hits that included a solo home run.

Georgia Highlands (28-29) plays tournament host and top-seed, Darton State, Thursday at 12 noon in the second round of the double-elimination tournament.

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