The Cougars dug themselves an early hole and came within a close play at the plate from rallying for the win. Instead, they came up on the short end of a 6-5 final score.
Gordon College got all the runs they would need in the top of the second inning. Aaron Mizzell put one run on the board with a solo shot to get things started. An RBI single by Tyler Hutch doubled the score to 2-0 and a two-run double from Grant Massey doubled the score again to 4-0. Brian Jacobs joined the Highlanders’ hit parade with a two-run single to give the visitors a 6-0 lead.
The Cougars cut the deficit in half in the bottom of the fourth. Jared Davis and Michael Hargrove drew a free pass each to start the rally. Chase Edwards continued to carry the hot stick with an RBI single while two more runs crossed on a sacrifice fly from Cody Hiefnar and a groundout by Evan Speicher.
Speicher singled, moved to second on an error then to third on a sacrifice bunt by Keith Buckhault in the seventh. He scored on a grounder by J.D. Cowart to slice the lead to 6-4.
The Cougars mounted another rally in the eighth when Edwards cracked a two-out double. Hiefnar singled to center field, plating Edwards to cut the lead to a single digit at 6-5. Speicher then followed with a single, but a perfect throw to the plate from Hutch in centerfield cut Hiefnar and the tying run down at the plate to preserve the Highlanders’ advantage.
“We gave up the big inning early; Derek didn’t have his command and when he did come in with a strike they hit it,” stated Cougar coach Mike Policastro. “But our bullpen came in and did a good job of keeping us in it and we came really close to tying the game. You gotta give their guy credit, he made a great throw to cut down our guy at the plate. We had our chances, but just couldn’t get the big hit when we needed it.”
The Cougars got the tying run on base in the bottom of the ninth when Dalton Rogers drew a one-out walk, but a double play ended the rally and the Highlanders hung on for the win.
Dylan Peppers started for Gordon College while Kevin Burgee picked up the win and Dylan Griffin recorded the save. Derek Chandler took the loss for the Cougars while Tyler Kilgore tossed five plus scoreless innings in relief. Bobby Towne and Andre Wilson tossed a scoreless inning each as well.
The Cougars will host Georgia Perimeter for a noon doubleheader Saturday.