Chargers take pitcher’s duel at LakePoint

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The Georgia Highlands baseball team continues to pitch and play strong defense through the first 13 games of the season.

The Chargers wrapped up their weekend with a game Sunday, defeating St. Louis Community College by a score of 2-1 at LakePoint.

Georgia Highlands is now 8-5 on the year.

“It’s been our M.O. so far. Our pitching has been outstanding. We just do enough offensively to give ourselves a chance,” Georgia Highlands head coach Mike Marra said. “I told our guys before the season, if we score four runs a game, we’ll be in pretty good shape because our pitching is pretty good. In the five games we lost, Walters State, we gave up 11, 7 and 6. And the game we lost [Saturday] night, we lost 3-1. So when we give up more than four, we lose every game. If we can keep the other team under four, we only have one loss. So that’s what it looks like the formula is going to be.”

In Saturday’s 3-1 loss to St. Louis, Georgia Highlands scored one run on two hits and was no-hit until the last inning. In Sunday’s game against the same opponent, the Chargers took much less time getting on the board. They scored in the first inning as former Cass High player Brandon Etheridge doubled and came around to score on a Zach McCrum single for a 1-0 lead. McCrum then hit a solo home run in the third inning to provide the second run.

“He’s been tearing it up for us. He has six home runs on the year, so he’s kind of been saving us right now,” Marra said of McCrum. “The good thing for him was, he had a real good series against Walters State, which is No. 2 in the country. There were a ton of pro scouts there to see a bunch of guys, but they saw him hit the ball. He’s definitely on people’s radar.”

McCrum went 3-for-3 in the game with a double and a home run. He is currently hitting .462 with six home runs, four doubles, 12 RBIs and 12 runs scored. He has accounted for over one third of GHC’s 63 runs so far this year.

Etheridge, hitting in front of McCrum in the No. 2 spot in the order, went 2-for-4 Sunday with the first-inning double and run scored.

On the mound, Georgia Tech transfer Daniel Gooden threw six scoreless innings, allowing two hits and three walks with eight strikeouts. In three starts, 13 1/3 innings pitched, he has allowed just one earned run with 18 strikeouts.

“He looked real good. He had a hard, tight slider,” Marra said of Gooden. “And then we got some nice relief work from Colby Taylor. He came into a bases-loaded, nobody-out jam, and got out of there with no runs given up. And Will Griffin picked up his fourth save of the year. Our back end has been good. Our front end has been good.”

Marra hopes the offense picks up and the pitching continues to be a strength as the Chargers draw closer to GCAA play, beginning March 15. First, GHC will take on Southern Union today and Sinclair College over the weekend for a three-game series at LakePoint.

“We’re not real exciting to watch right now. We pitch and catch pretty well, but other than that Cleveland State game, we’re not putting up any crooked numbers,” Marra said of the season so far. “We’ve been fundamentally sound, which is what you have to be at the end of the day. You have to be a good fundamental club come playoff time.”