MOUNT OLIVE, N.C.
– Freshman Andres Perez
hit a solo home run in the bottom of the eighth inning of a tie game to lift the No. 6 University of North Georgia baseball team to the NCAA Southeast Region Championship over Catawba, 5-4, on Monday
at Mount Olive’s Scarborough Field. With the win, the Nighthawks (46-10) advance to the school’s first NCAA Division II Baseball Championship in Grand Prairie, Texas, starting on May 27
North Georgia led by 3-1 and 4-2 only to see the Indians come back and tie the game 4-4 in the top of the eighth. With two outs in the bottom of the innings, Perez took the 2-2 pitch over the left field wall, his seventh homer of the season.
Catawba got a leadoff single in the top of the ninth, but UNG pitcher Jack Fleming (1-0) induced a double play and a fly out to end the game.
North Georgia scored single runs in the third, fifth and sixth innings to take a 3-0 lead.
In the third, Perez got the scoring started with an RBI single up the middle that brought in Steven Tomlinson. Michael Gouge then delivered another RBI single to left in the fifth to bring home Devin Gearhart, who led off the inning with a walk.
Conner Corbitt then scored in the sixth on a bases-loaded wild pitch.
UNG starter Dylan Peppers kept Catawba off the board in his six innings of work. He scattered four hits and allowed only one walk with seven strikeouts.
UNG had to go to the bullpen to start the seventh where Catawba scored two runs, aided by a UNG fielding error.
The Indians (40-17) tied the game in the top of the eighth with three hits, including a double, and a North Georgia throwing error.
Perez and Bill Leroy were the only two Nighthawks with more than one hit in the game. Leroy went 2-for-4 with a double in the bottom of the seventh that scored UNG’s fourth run.
North Georgia makes their first Division II Championship appearance and the Nighthawks will face No. 14 West Chester (40-11), winners of the Atlantic Region with a 12-7 win over Winston-Salem State.
First pitch is scheduled for 3:00 CST on Saturday, May 27 at The Ballpark at Grand Prairie.
– Nine of Catawba’s 10 hits were singles.
– Peppers was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player after posting a pair of strong pitching performances. Perez and Connor Hoover were also named to the All-Tournament team.
– UNG Athletic Communications –
CHAD HAYNIE // Director of Athletic Communications
UNIVERSITY OF NORTH GEORGIA ATHLETICS
Website: UNGAthletics.com | Twitter: @UNG_Nighthawks | #HawkEm