Claflin Face North Georgia in First-Ever Peach Belt Conference Series




Claflin Sports Information


Dahlonega, Ga – The Claflin University baseball team will get their first taste of competition in the Peach Belt Conference this weekend when the Panthers travel to the University of North Georgia for a three-game series. The Panthers played as independents last season and played in the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC), where they won the 2016 title, for the previous 10 years.

The conference series-opener for both teams gets underway Friday at 4 p.m. followed by games on Saturday and Sunday with starting times of 1 p.m. and 12 noon, respectively. All games will be played at the Bob Stein Stadium in Dahlonega, Ga.

Claflin will face a North Georgia program that went 33-20 last season and shared the Peach Belt Conference regular season championship. The league title was the third in the last five years for North Georgia.

The Nighthawks opened the season ranked No. 20 in the NCBWA National Preseason Poll. North Georgia was also selected third in the association preseason regional poll behind Catawba College and North Greenville University.

The Panthers will enter the series at 2-2 following a 13-10 loss to Lincoln Memorial University on Monday.

In the contest, Claflin banged out 13 hits with Joshua Gordon going deep on a solo homerun. Other top hitters for the Panthers included Jalen Sprull who went 3-for-4 with an RBI and Jaiden Garner at 2-for-5 with 2 RBIs.

X’zavier Johnson, 0-1, suffered the loss for Claflin. He was one of five pitchers that saw action on the mound and combined for 10 strike outs.

In the four games this season, the Panthers have produced 27 runs with a .318 batting average that includes five doubles and two home runs. The biggest offensive output for Claflin came in the series finale against Virginia State University and the Lincoln Memorial. In those two games, the Panthers batted .347 as a team with 18 hits, five doubles along with a homerun.
Claflin host a pair of .400 hitters in Eric McElveen and Sprull. McElveen is the top run producer with 5 RBIs, while Steve Joyner, a .353 hitter, leads the team with six hits.

In the pitching department, the Claflin staff holds a 5.63 ERA in 32 innings. Dermus Strozier and Keati Buchanan has recorded the wins for the Panthers. Other top hurlers for Claflin are Kyle Hawkins and Makhi Holloway.

As for North Georgia, the Nighthawks racked up 42 runs on 48 hits in sweeping a three-game series from Auburn University at Montgomery last weekend.

North Georgia is led by the Peach Belt Conference Freshman of the Week in Tim Conway, who batted .417 with 5 RBIs against Auburn University at Montgomery.

Top pitchers for North Georgia include Cade Heil, Steven Bower and Parker Morrison.

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