COVINGTON, Ga. — The Cleveland State baseball team finally caught a break in the winter weather long enough to get in a pair of games Tuesday afternoon at Georgia Perimeter.
The Cougars and the Jaguars split the battle of the big Cats with the home team taking game one, 2-1 in a pitchers’ duel. The Cougars clawed their way to a win in the second game in extra innings, 6-5.
The Jaguars used five pitchers in game one, but each was effective as they held the potent Cougar lineup to one run and only three hits. Joe Marlow tossed four-plus innings to pick up the win for the Jaguars while Matt Gray, Erik Davis, Aaron Bently and J.T. Phillips all pitched in relief. Phillips tossed the seventh to get the save.
Kendrick Thompson doubled in a run in the bottom of the second and Landon Lindley doubled in a run in the fourth for the two Jaguars’ runs.
Cleveland State mounted a rally in the fifth inning when Zach Janes drew a free pass, stole second and third then scored on a wild throw to third from the Perimeter catcher to cut the lead in half 2-1.
Evan Speicher, Anthony Hunt and Janson Roberson picked up the three Cougars’ hits. Jake Wright allowed both runs and only four hits in his five innings on the mound for the Cougars (6-3) but took the loss while Gabe Rich pitched in relief.
The home team jumped on top again in game two with a pair of runs in the bottom of the second on a sacrifice fly and a wild pitch. The Jags tacked on another run in the third on an RBI triple from Phillips.
The Cougars managed to tie the game with single runs in the third, fourth and fifth frames. Keith Buckhault lifted a fly ball to right field for the first Cougars’ run, Janes singled in a run and the tying run crossed on an error and a double steal.
The Jags regained the lead with a run in the bottom of the fifth, but the Cougars took their first lead of the day in their final at bat in regulation. Jammer Strickland singled and later scored on a clutch RBI single by Dalton Rogers to tie the game once again while the Cougars’ speed on the bases accounted for the second run scoring on a balk for a 5-4 lead.
The Cougars couldn’t close the door in the bottom of the seventh however, as Phillips came up with the big RBI single to tie the game and force extra innings.
After a scoreless eighth, the Cougars scratched out a run in the top of the ninth. Strickland laid down a perfect bunt for a single to start the rally, then wasted no time stealing second to put the go-ahead run in scoring position. With two outs, it was Rogers once again coming up with the clutch hit, this time a double to plate Strickland and put the visitors on top 6-5.
Raunel Perez didn’t allow a hit in his two innings of work, slamming the door in the bottom of the ninth to pick up the hard-earned win for the Cougars. Josh Morgan started on the hill while Bobby Towne, Matt Allen, Matt Roueche and Brandon Leonard all pitched in relief. Phillips took the loss in game two for Georgia Perimeter (8-4) while Dylan Williams started and Michael Peel and Aaron Bentley pitched in relief.
The Cougars will hit the road Friday opening Region VII conference play with a three-game set at Roane State this weekend.