Braves lose in opener at PBC tourney

First Posted: 5/10/2014

AIKEN, S.C. – The fifth-seeded Univerity of North Carolina at Pembroke baseball team grabbed early momentum with a trio of runs but 20th-ranked Georgia College hit four home runs and tacked up a pair of big innings en route to a 13-7 victory over the Braves in the Peach Belt Conference Baseball Tournament quarterfinals on Saturday at Roberto Hernandez Stadium.

The setback likely signaled an end to the season for UNCP (33-18), which posted at least 30 wins for the 10th-straight year under coach Paul O’Neil. Georgia College (34-14) advances to face top-seeded and second-ranked Lander (45-6) in Sunday’s semifinal round.

Jordan Edgerton homered twice and scored three times on a 3-for-5 day at the plate for the Braves and Dalton Knight plated a pair of runs on a 2-for-4 hitting line. Four different players hit home runs for the Bobcats, but GC was led offensively by leadoff hitter Ryan Sabalaskey who walked and scored twice on a perfect 4-for-4 showing at the plate.

Andy Sullivan (7-2) took the loss for UNCP after yielding seven runs (two earned) on four hits in just three innings from the hill. Logan Cook surrendered five earned runs on as many hits and was only able to record one out in the fourth. The Braves lit up Spencer Thomas (7-0) for six earned runs on 10 hits, but the Georgia College senior was still able to stay perfect on the campaign, including a 2-0 mark against UNCP.

The Braves scored three runs and four hits in the first to light up the scoreboard early, but the Bobcats scored six runs on two hits and a pair of errors in the bottom of the frame to take the lead for good. The Bobcats added another run on Steve Hazel’s solo homer in the third, and then padded the advantage out to 12-3 on the strength of three homers in the bottom of the fourth.

The Braves cut into the deficit with three runs in the eighth, including a leadoff homer by Edgerton, and then got to within six runs on another solo shot by Edgerton with two outs in the ninth.

5 Braves named All-PBC

Jordan Edgerton, Daniel Fraga and Andy Sullivan each grabbed first team all-league honors, while Drew Cole and Garrett Hickman both earned a spot on the second team, with the release of the 2014 Peach Belt Conference Baseball all-conference squads.

The five UNC Pembroke selections marked the most for the program since a quintet of players were named to the 2011 All-PBC baseball squad and marked the seventh-straight season that the Braves have been represented by multiple selections on the all-conference squad.

Edgerton earned all-conference accolades for the second-straight season after registering a .364 batting average with 29 extra-base hits, a team-best 56 runs batted in and 56 runs scored.

Fraga is one of just five players to start all 50 games for UNCP this season and leads the club with a .396 average and 22 extra-base hits. A stalwart on defense, he has committed just nine errors in 258 total defensive chances as the starting second baseman.

Despite starting the season in the bullpen, Sullivan earned his way into the weekend rotation in early March and boasts a 7-1 record and a 2.97 ERA, including a 6-0 mark against PBC foes. His lone loss of the season came in a complete game outing at Wingate in which he allowed just two earned runs en route to a 2-0 setback.

Cole has registered a .353 (73-for-207) batting average this season to go along with 23 extra-base hits, 47 RBI and 59 runs scored. He had a career-best 17-game hitting streak snapped earlier this season in the series opener at Armstrong Atlantic.

Hickman has proven to be the workhorse of the pitching staff this season and compiled an 8-3 record and a 3.53 ERA over a team-best 91 2/3 innings of work. He threw seven or more innings in nine of his 13 starts this season, including complete game outings at Anderson (shutout) and North Georgia.