CARROLLTON, Georgia -- An eight-run seventh inning powered West Georgia Tech to a 12-8 series-opening win over the East Georgia State Bobcats Tuesday afternoon in Carrollton. The win puts WGTC just one game out of the No. 6 spot in the conference standings and in position to fight for a berth in the conference tournament with seven games remaining.
West Georgia Tech trailed 6-4 going into the bottom of the seventh after a back-and-forth exchange in which both teams held multiple leads. The Golden Knights then blew the game open with eight runs in the seventh, which gave WGTC a six-run cushion with six outs to work with. WGTC held on to win 12-8 and won its second series-opener of the year and its first since taking the first game against ABAC on April 5.
Aaron Gonzalez singled home Avery Roth for the first run of the game in the bottom of the first. John Livaditis drew a two-out walk with the bases loaded to score another run, and West Georgia Tech led 2-0 after an inning. East Georgia tied the game in the top of the second on a pair of RBI singles, and then took a 3-2 lead in the third on a two-out base hit.
West Georgia Tech answered in the fourth behind a two-run homerun by Avery Roth, which gave the Black and Gold a 4-3 advantage. The Bobcats scored three runs in the top of the sixth to go in front 6-4, scoring all three runs with two outs.
West Georgia Tech's big inning came in the bottom of the seventh. Jacob Olson led off with a double and Josh Eidson reached on an infield error. East Georgia pitching hit two-consecutive batters, which drove in one run to make it a 6-5 East Georgia lead and loaded the bases.
Another infield error drove in the tying a go-ahead runs, and WGTC led 7-6. After a sacrifice by John Livaditis pushed two runners in scoring position, Adrian Martinez drew a walk to load the bases with one out. Brandon Bone then came through with double to right field, which scored two runs and extend the lead to 9-6 Avery Roth singled home Bone to make it 10-6. A two-run single by Aaron Gonzalez rounded out the scoring and WGTC led 12-6 going into the eighth.
A two-run homer in the eighth pulled East Georgia to within four, at 12-8. WGTC reliever Tyler Elkins pitched the ninth and allowed a leadoff single before a double play ended the threat.
WGTC starting pitcher Miles Dutton pitched seven innings and allowed six runs on 11 hits, but only three of those runs were earned. Dutton struck out seven and had strong command, with no walks. Matt Orange pitched the eighth and Elkins finished it off in the ninth.
The big inning. West Georgia Tech has now scored four or more runs in an inning five times in its last four games. The eight runs in the seventhon Tuesday was the difference in the game. WGTC had eleven hits in the contest. Since the start of the ABAC series on April 5, WGTC is hitting .310 with a slugging percentage of .460. The Knights have eight homeruns, and 36 doubles over that time period, spanning 13 games. West Georgia Tech's offense has put WGTC in position to make a run at a postseason berth.
Avery Roth led the team in hits with a 3-for-4 day at the plate. Roth hit his second homer in three games and also drew a walk, reaching base four times in five at-bats.
"Our offense has come together over the last few games to put us in position to win some ballgames. I really like the way we are swinging the bats right now. Sometimes to win in this league you have to put up some big innings and to our guys' credit, that's what we have done. You always feel like you have a chance to win a game even if you are behind by a few runs. This was a big win for us, and a good start to the series. We need to win the series to put ourselves in position to have something to play for next week, and our guys know that" said Coach Todd Pratt.
West Georgia Tech is now 12-30 overall and 7-14 in GCAA conference play; East Georgia falls to 19-27 and 8-13.
West Georgia Tech is one game out of sixth-place on the conference standings, a key position because the top six teams in the final conference standings qualify for the GCAA Tournament. Georgia Highlands (9-12), East Georgia State (8-13), Andrew (8-13) and West Georgia Tech (7-14) are in a four-way battle for the final two spots. West Georgia Tech has three games remaining against East Georgia and close the season with a four-game series against Georgia Highlands, so the Golden Knights control their own destiny. Taking two of three this weekend in Swainsboro would likely put WGTC in the top-6 going into the last week of the season.
West Georgia Tech travels to Swainsboro for a pivotal three-game stretch against East Georgia Friday and Saturday. Friday's nine-inning game starts at 2 p.m. and Saturday's doubleheader will get underway at 1 p.m.