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Chargers top East Georgia State to keep pace in the conference race; O'Neill wins 200th


Ben Olson

Georgia Highlands College baseball won 24 of 26 non-conference games leading up to the conference opener March 22.


The Chargers then won 12 of their first 13 conference games to take an early lead in the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association.


Since that fast start, however, GHC has gone 3-6 in conference play including Thursday’s 8-6 win over East Georgia State in Rome.


As a result, the Chargers (39-9, 15-7) find themselves one game behind South Georgia State in the conference standings with three league games to play. The two conference leading teams square off Saturday in Douglas.


The Chargers will close out the regular season conference slate the following Tuesday and Thursday at home against ABAC and Gordon State.


In Thursday’s win over East Georgia, Georgia Highlands built a 5-1 lead through five innings by way of three home runs.


Conner Todaro smacked a three-run homer to put the Chargers up 3-1 in the third inning. Then David Smith and Ben Olson hit back-to-back solo shots in the fifth to make the score 5-1.


The Bobcats scored four runs over the next three innings to narrow the Georgia Highlands lead, but the Chargers rebuilt their margin with a three-run seventh inning.


Smith’s two-run double made the score 7-4 and Ethan Anderson’s sacrifice fly drove home the final Chargers’ run.


Gage Valles (5.2 IP, 2ER, 4H, 2BB, 4K) earned the pitching win by working into the sixth inning. The bullpen then held off the Bobcats down the stretch.

Ryan Suppa (1 IP, 2ER, 2H, 1BB, 3K), Caleb Garner (0.2 IP, 1ER, 3H, 1BB, 1K), and Hunter Goodwin (1.2 IP, 0R, 0H, 2K) all worked out of the pen for the Chargers.


Smith (HR, double, 3 RBIs) and Olson (HR, RBI) paced the Georgia Highlands offense with three hits each. Mick Moody had two hits including a double. Todaro (3-run HR) and Austin Slate had the other Chargers’ hits. The win by Georgia Highlands on Thursday was the 200th victory for head coach Dash O'Neill with the Chargers.

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