Chargers drop conference tourney opener

The 2021 post-season got off to a rough start for the top-seeded Georgia Highlands Chargers baseball team Sunday evening at LakePoint.

Opening the double-elimination Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association tournament at home, the Chargers lost to 4th-seeded East Georgia State 14-7. While the loss did not eliminate the Chargers, it did send them to the loser’s bracket and take away any opportunity of home field advantage for the remainder of the tournament. East Georgia grabbed a 4-0 lead in the top of the second Sunday and never trailed. Georgia Highlands narrowed the lead to 4-3 over the next two innings, but the Bobcats extended their lead to 9-3 in the fourth. The Chargers climbed back into the game and slimmed the East Georgia lead to 9-7 in the sixth inning, but the Bobcats extended their lead again with a five-run seventh inning to build their 14-7 advantage. GHC loaded the bases in the eighth inning as another threat, but came up scoreless in the frame and ultimately fell by the 14-7 score.

Starting pitcher Conner Perry (3 IP, 6R, 4ER, 7H, 5K) suffered the pitching loss. Caleb Garner (3.1 IP, 8R, 4ER, 6H, 3BB, 2K) and Chandler Wood (2.2 IP, 0R, 1H, 1BB, 4K) pitched in relief for Georgia Highlands.

In the loss, the Chargers actually out hit East Georgia fifteen to fourteen. Connor Todaro had three hits including a double and one RBI. Max Kops finished with three hits and one RBI. Joe Sutton had two hits including a solo home run. Trenton Parker totaled two hits including a double and two RBIs. Trace Twardoski and Zayd Brannigan also contributed two hits each. Brandon Prince added one hit and one RBI.

The loss for Georgia Highlands was their fourth straight and seventh loss in the last eight games. The Chargers (39-14) dropped their final three regular season games to Gordon State and lost three of four to ABAC in the previous series. With Sunday’s win, East Georgia State (31-20) advances in the winner’s bracket and will play at No. 3-seed Andrew College (33-22-1) Tuesday. Georgia Highlands will now play No. 2-seed Gordon State (30-20) in an elimination game Tuesday with the survivor to play the East Georgia vs. Andrew loser in another elimination game. Both of those elimination games will be played at Andrew College on Tuesday.

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