GHC baseball advances to conference finals

The Georgia Highlands College baseball team staved off elimination twice Tuesday in the loser’s bracket of the GCAA tournament with a 13-2 win over Gordon State and a 16-7 win over East Georgia State.

Omar Daniels led the way for the Chargers’ in their eight inning win over Gordon State. Daniels had four hits in the victory. He doubled in the second inning, singled in the sixth, and produced a double and a single in the eighth inning. Johnny Dow took care of business on the mound for GHC against the Highlanders. The Marietta, Georgia product went seven innings allowing a pair of earned runs on eight hits and three walks. Dow fanned nine.

Hal Stelljes worked a final scoreless inning on the mound for the Chargers. He struck out two and faced the minimum.

Trace Twardoski had three hits for Georgia Highlands including a home run, a double, a walk, and three RBIs. David Smith finished with a double and three RBIs. Ben Olson hit a solo home run. Connor Todaro contributed one hit and one RBI. Joe Sutton and Palmer Sapp added one hit apiece.

The loss eliminated Gordon State who finished 30-21 overall.

In the Chargers’ win over East Georgia State, GHC raced out of the gate to take an early 8-1 lead and never trailed in a 16-7 win. The Bobcats, who handed Georgia Highlands a 14-7 loss Sunday in the tournament, cut the lead to 8-4 in the fifth inning before the Chargers scored eight more times over their final three offensive frames.

David Smith paced the Chargers offense by driving in four runs on three hits including a double. Brandon Prince had two hits including a home run and two RBIs. Ben Olson had two hits including a triple and two RBIs. Joe Sutton drove in a pair of runs with two hits including a double. Trenton Parker also had two hits. Gavin Harmon added a hit and one RBI. Trace Twardoski contributed one RBI.

Zack Valentine (3.1 IP, 4R, 2ER, 5H, 2BB, 1K) picked up the pitching win in relief of starter Baylor Akin (3.2 IP, 3ER, 3H, 5BB, 2K). Chandler Wood (1 IP, 3K) struck out the side in the eighth inning.

The loss eliminates East Georgia who went 2-2 in the conference tournament and finished the season with a 31-22 record.

Georgia Highlands (41-14) advances to the tournament finals Thursday at Andrew College but must defeat the Tigers twice to win the conference title. Andrew College, unbeaten in the tournament, has wins over South Georgia State, Gordon State, and East Georgia State on their way to the finals.

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