DAHLONEGA -- The North Georgia baseball team rallied back from an early 6-0 deficit to post a 7-6 win over 10th-ranked Columbus State on Friday evening at UNG's Bob Stein Stadium.
The game is the first of a three-game Peach Belt Conference tilt as the two teams are slated for a doubleheader beginning at 1:00 on Saturday afternoon.
Columbus State, ranked 10th in the most recent Collegiate Baseball Newspaper Division II rankings, jumped out to an early 6-0 lead courtesy of a four-run first inning before a pair of Cougars crossed the plate in the top of the second. CSU enters their final PBC series tied atop the PBC standings with second-ranked Lander.
CSU's Dustin Averett belted a three-run homerun off UNG starter Jacob Beauchamp to account for most of the damage in the first frame.
Beauchamp would settle down after the first two innings to strike out seven batters in four and two-thirds of work. Phillip Taylor and Christian Turnipseed would split the final four and one third innings on the mound combining to allow just a single hit. Turnipseed collected his league-leading 11th save after striking out two.
North Georgia started the rally when Ryan Raper belted a leadoff homerun in the bottom of the second. The Nighthawks trimmed the deficit to a single run (6-5) with four runs an inning later highlighted by consecutive run-scoring doubles by Andrew Gordon and Beau Welborn.
North Georgia (20-24, 8-17 PBC) scored the equalizer in the sixth when Welborn led off with a single and moved to second on a sacrifice by Cameron Crawford. With two outs, Joey Cecere singled to right field scoring Welborn and evening the game at six apiece.
An inning later, Raper induced a two-out walk and scored one batter later when Gordon posted his second RBI double of the night down the right field line.
UNG outhit Columbus State 13-9 behind Gordon's 3-4 night that included three RBI's. Cecere, Eason Spivey and Welborn each tallied multiple-hit games for the Nighthawks.
Averett led CSU (34-14, 21-7) with three hits and four RBI's.
Taylor (2-3) earned the victory on the mound following two and a third innings of no-hit relief. CSU's Sean Muller (4-2) was saddled with the loss.
Tomorrow's games will be preceded by a Senior Day ceremony recognizing the program's three seniors