CARROLLTON, Ga. – The top of the final inning was a major part of the Wolves’ success on Saturday afternoon, as West Georgia entered that frame trailing in both games. Head coach Skip Fite and his charges engineered a total of 17 runs in the final inning of both ends of the doubleheader with Augusta, winning 10-7 in the opener and then 14-3 in the nightcap.
Cade Marlowe was again a pivotal figure in the Wolves’ victory in the first game of the day, going 3-for-6 with two huge RBI in the top of the ninth, that hit coming with UWG trailing 7-6 and providing the final lead change of the contest. The Tifton native was 2-for-4 in the second game with a pair of runs scored and three RBI, with all of his hits and run generation coming in the final inning.
For the second-straight game, the Wolves put up a big inning early in the game. In the top of the first, Marlowe singled to start a two-out rally, then advanced to third after a stolen base and the Augusta throw went into center field. Price Peters walked, followed by a single from Nick Poskey to bring home the first run of the game. The two-out rally continued one pitch later, as Logan Taylor doubled to right field, scoring both Peters and Poskey to give West Georgia a three-spot in the first inning. But the rally wasn’t done, as later in the inning, Brian Dansereau delivered the second double of the game, scoring Taylor and giving starting pitcher Andres Fernandez a 4-0 cushion before even taking the mound.
Over the next two innings, Fernandez and the Augusta starter, Matt Meeks, settled in for a solid pair of innings on the mound. Fernandez had three strikeouts through the first three innings, including a pair of strikeouts in the bottom of the second.
Augusta jumped on the board for the first time in the bottom of the fourth, as Brandon Gayle led off with a double, then came home later in the inning on a sacrifice fly from pinch hitter Zack Goble to make it a 4-1 contest. The Jaguars continued to pour on the runs in the bottom of the fifth, putting four runs on the board and chasing Fernandez to take a 5-4 lead in the contest.
The Jaguars continued with the momentum into the bottom of the sixth after escaping a bases-loaded situation in the top of the inning. In the sixth, Augusta scored twice, taking a 7-4 lead into the seventh inning.
That was where the score remained until the ninth, when the Wolves broke out the rally caps. Logan Taylor led off the final inning with a double, then Brian Dansereau walked to give the Wolves life. Tucker Breen was hit by a pitch, followed by a Brady Barnes walk to cut the Augusta advantage to 7-5. Ben Utley was then hit by a pitch to cut the lead to one run at 7-5. Marlowe then had the big stroke of the inning with a two-run single, giving the Wolves an 8-7 lead. Peters walked to load the bases again and Taylor singled, scoring two more and giving West Georgia a commanding 10-7 lead.
In the bottom of the 9th, Wes Bucher closed out his first victory in a UWG uniform with three groundouts. Bucher worked 3.2 innings in relief for the Wolves, allowing one hit annd striing out seven to close out the win for the Wolves.
In the finale, early scoring was again the hallmark of the contest, but this time it was Augusta that opened the scoring, putting two runs on the board in the bottom of the first. West Georgia responded in the top of the 2nd, tying the game.
Joseph Hill grounded out to shortstop with the bases loaded, scoring Price Peters for the first run for UWG, then Christopher Michals singled through the left side, scoring Logan Taylor to tie the game. After that, it was a pitcher’s duel between the Wolves and the Jaguars, as the two teams combined for just six total hits in the first four innings of the contest.
In the bottom of the fifth, head coach Skip Fite decided to pull starter Ryan Parker for C.J. Fehribach. Parker worked four innings, allowing four hits, two runs and striking out four. In the top of the sixth, Marlowe led off the inning with a walk, then moved to second on a sacrifice bunt from Peters. Two batters later, Taylor belted his fourth double of the season thus far, scoring Marlowe from second and giving the Wolves a 3-2 lead.
In the seventh, the Wolves broke the game wide open, as five of the first six batters reached base. Marlowe delivered again in the clutch, this time with a double that scored two runners to give the Wolves a 6-2 lead in the game. When the dust settled at the end of the top of the seventh, West Georgia had scored 11 runs with 16 batters to the plate and led the Jaguars by a 14-2 score.
Twelve different players scored a run in the second game, led by Christopher Michals, who was 3-for-4 with two runs scored and two RBI. Michals, Marlowe, Taylor and Dansereau each crossed the plate twice in the contest. Fehribach picked up the victory for the Wolves, his first at West Georgia, working 2.1 no-hit innings for the Wolves, allowing no runs and striking out three. Connor Stephenson came on in the bottom of the seventh for two outs, then Tyler Garner finished the game with the final out.
The Wolves will open the 2018 home season on Tuesday afternoon, hosting the Georgia College Bobcats at Cole Field. First pitch for that contest is set for 3 p.m.