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Chargers let late lead slip away

The Georgia Highlands Chargers let an 8-1 lead get away Thursday night in a 9-8 loss to Gordon State College at LakePoint.

The Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association game was the second in this week’s four-game series between the two teams.

The Chargers posted three runs in the third and three more in the fourth inning for an early lead.

Nick Fink, Devin Bilardello, and John White each had RBI doubles in the third. Nick Piccapietra and Bronco O’Brien had RBI hits in the fourth inning and Bilardello added a sacrifice fly for a 6-1 Chargers’ lead.

GHC’s Matt Vaccaro banged a solo homer in the fifth and Grant Bodison doubled and later scored on a Stallions’ error to give the Chargers an 8-1 lead after six innings.

Gordon College narrowed the lead with a three run homer in the top of the seventh by Blake Bottomley and cut the lead to 8-5 with an unearned run in the top of the eighth.

The Stallions tied the game 8-8 in the top of the ninth with a Chase Sudduth three-run homer and then took a 9-8 lead on a walk and back-to-back singles.

Georgia Highlands utilized five pitchers in their loss.

Chargers’ starting pitcher Matthew Norton (6 IP, 1ER, 6H, 3BB, 6K) threw six solid innings, but finished with a no-decision. Sam Sowerbrower (0.1 IP, 3R, 2ER, 1H, 1BB) and Jeremiah Woods (1.2 IP, 1R, 0ER, 0H, 1BB, 2K) worked in middle relief. Britt Buckelew (0.0 IP, 4ER, 2H, 2BB) entered in the ninth and yielded a game-tying homer and another single that saddled him with the loss. Bradley Hood followed and allowed back-to-back hits that scored an inherited runner, but Hood (1 IP, 0R, 2H, 0BB, 2K) then recorded back-to-back strikeouts and a groundout to end the top of the ninth.

Parker McBroom (3 IP, 1R, 0ER, 1H, 0BB, 1K) picked up the pitching win for Gordon State in relief of Spencer Douches (5 IP, 7ER, 10H, 0BB, 5K). Ryan Wesley worked a spotless bottom of the ninth to earn a save.

Both teams finished with eleven hits.

Bottomley led the Stallions with three hits including his homer.

Piccapietra, Bodison, and Brandon Bell each had two hits for the Chargers.

Gordon State (12-32, 8-10) has now won the first two games of this series that concludes Saturday with a doubleheader.

Georgia Highlands falls to 32-18 overall and 9-9 in the GCAA.

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