Claflin Baseball Split Season-Opening Doubleheader With North Georgia

Claflin Baseball Wins First PBC Contest

The Claflin University baseball team opened the 2021 season on Thursday (Feb. 4), splitting a Peach Belt Conference (PBC) double-header with the University of North Georgia Nighthawks (1-1, 1-1 PBC) at Historic Mirmow Field.

The Claflin win, which came in the second game of the double-header, provided the program with its first-ever victory in PBC competition.  The Panthers joined the PBC in July 2020.

Claflin, (1-1, 1-1 PBC), will go for the series win on Friday (Feb.  5).

In the victory, the Panthers produced their highest run total since scoring 17 against Salem University (Feb. 8, 2019). Claflin won that contest 17-4.

“It felt great to pick up the first-ever Peach Belt Conference win,” said Head Coach James Randall.  “With only two weeks of practice, the performance by the guys was remarkable.”

For the game, the Panthers pounded seven Nighthawk pitchers for 14 hits including a home run and six doubles. Keyon Smith, who just missed the cycle by a triple, led the hitting parade with a home run and seven RBIs.

Other top batters for Claflin were Steve Joyner who contributed three hits with an RBI, Quinten Kinard had a three-run double and Gerardric Dobbs drove in three runs on two hits. Da’Avion Sumpter added two hits, three RBIs and scored four runs.

North Georgia was led by Nik Levensteins with two hits that included a grand-slam home run.  Andres Perez had three hits and three RBIs for the Nighthawks.

In the contest, the Panthers increased a 1-0 lead to 5-0 with a four-run third inning, highlighted by Smith’s two-run homer.

After both teams scored a run in the fourth, North Georgia pushed across three in the fifth inning, to trail 6-4. Claflin gained some breathing room the next inning by scoring five runs to go up 11-4.

The Nighthawks rallied to take its only lead of the game at 13-11 by scoring nine runs in the seventh. The lead did not last long, as the Panthers scored two runs in their half of the inning to tie the game at 13.  Claflin scored three more runs in the eight and held North Georgia scoreless in the ninth for the win.

Jaden Hardin, 1-0, picked up the win for Claflin, and Christian Carr earned the save.  Eddie Galatas, 0-1, shouldered the loss for North Georgia.

In the first game, North Georgia scored six runs in the open inning followed by two more in the second inning for an early 8-0 lead. After neither team scored over the next two innings, the Nighthawks added four runs in the sixth inning and two in the seventh for their final run production.

North Georgia, which had 14 walks in the game, collected seven hits with Levensteins leading the attack with pair of home runs and five RBIs.

As for Claflin, the Panthers had four hits, all singles, by Daniel Powell, Mackenze Gay, Edzaviah Paul, and Dobbs.

Steven Bower, 1-0, picked up the win for North Georgia, going the distance with nine strikeouts.

Makai Holloway, 0-1, suffered the loss for Claflin.

 

Courtesy Claflin Sports Information 

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