GOLDEN KNIGHTS OPEN BASEBALL SEASON WITH SWEEP OF LAGRANGE JV, 4-3 AND 9-1
CARROLLTON, Ga. – The West Georgia Tech Golden Knights opened the 2013 baseball season with a doubleheader sweep over the LaGrange College junior varsity squad Tuesday afternoon, winning the first game 4-3 and the nightcap 9-3.
The Knights (2-0) overcame a 3-0 fifth inning deficit in the first game with two runs in the fifth and single runs in the sixth and seventh to win 4-3.
LaGrange native Brad Bartlett, the sophomore ace on the staff, picked up the win as he went the distance allowing seven hits and just one earned run while striking out six.
"Brad did a tremendous job after settling down after the first two innings,” West Georgia Tech head coach Todd Pratt said. “I think with it being his first start of the year, he was elevating his pitches in the early part of the game. After the second inning he back to his old ways of just carving up the line-up. I am glad we came through at the end for him."
The Golden Knights managed just three hits in the game, but made them count. Nic Vinson, a redshirt-sophomore, had two of the three hits. He had a clutch 2-RBI double with two outs in the fifth to bring the Knights within one run at 3-2.
Sophomore catcher Justin Batcher hit a sacrifice fly in the sixth to tie the game.
The Knights scored the winning run in the bottom of the seventh and final inning on a sacrifice fly and an error.
In the nightcap West Georgia Tech won 9-3 behind three-hit efforts from Sean Watson (3-for-4, 2 RBI) and Watkinsville native Blake Butcher (3-for-3, 2 RBI).
Beau Welborn (2-for-3), Nic Vinson (2-for-4) and Matthew Pope (2-for-4) had two hits apiece for the Golden Knights. WGTC had 16 hits overall.
"Offensively, we were led by our sophomores,” Pratt said. “It was nice to see the two transfers from UWG, Welborn and Vinson, get us going early and often in both games. Sean Watson had a great second game. He is the guy that will be in the fourth spot all year and if he can stay consistent, we will have a dangerous middle part of the line-up.”
The Knights scored four runs in the first to jump out to an early lead. After LaGrange College scored a run in the top-half of the fourth inning to close the gap to 4-1, the Knights scored four more in the bottom of the frame to extend the lead to 8-1. West Georgia Tech added a run in the fifth.
Tyler Banks earned the first start of his WGTC career and picked up the win, allowing five hits over four innings and just one earned run.
Kyle Peals, Cole Reynolds and Tyler Gunnin combined to throw an inning each in relief.
"Overall, I was pleased to get the start of the season out of the way. I believe there is plenty of room for improvement, but it was nice to get the sweep,” Pratt said.
West Georgia Tech returns to action this weekend with a three-game series at home against Vincennes University (Ind.). The two teams will play a doubleheader Saturday beginning at 1:05 p.m., with a third game set for Sunday, also at 1:05 p.m., in Douglasville.