GPC hits way into baseball semifinals

COVINGTON - The Georgia Perimeter College baseball team drove its opponent batty this weekend.

The Jaguars' potent bats produced 27 runs in two games, including a 13-8 win Saturday over South Georgia College that salted away their first-round, best-of-three series in the Region 17 tournament for state colleges.

GPC (40-14) triumphed 14-11 Friday, rendering a possible third game on Sunday unnecessary. The Jaguars, regular season region champions, advance to the region's final four beginning next Friday.

They play Friday and Saturday with the if game on Sunday in Douglas.

Unlike Game 1, when they overcame an early five-run deficit, the Jaguars led from the start on the Newton campus on Saturday. They jumped out 6-2 after three innings.

Freshman shortstop Dadynoel Lorenzo golfed a fastball in the fifth for a grand slam home run that gave the Jaguars the momentum to put the game away.

"We just hit it," head coach Danny Blue said. "Denver Stovall got hot at the plate. We need to firm up the pitching, and that's been our strong suit all year, but the hitters made the difference this weekend."

The closest the Tigers (24-32) got was within three in the eighth.

Blake McCullers set the offensive tone with a two-run homer in the first. Two innings later, McCullers scored on Stovall's single and an error, followed by Jason Dodson's triple that sent home two more.

A single run in the fourth by Trent Freeman on an error made it 7-3, but the Tigers countered with two in the fifth. Lorenzo's blast offset a mild late South Georgia rally.

Starting pitcher Will Mathis (7-2) allowed five runs in as many innings, but teammates generated enough offensive fireworks to get him a win.

Three relief pitchers kept the Tigers at bay, with Robby Hefflinger collecting his second save in two days with a perfect ninth inning.