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Jaguars win on blustry family night
Richard Cleary, a Covington business owner and Georgia Perimeter College alum, throws out a pitch to start the GPC Family Night Baseball game. The event also featured tours of the campus and free hotdogs. - photo by Submitted Photo

On a windy night, Jerad Curry whipped up a storm at Jaguar Field Tuesday.

Curry clubbed a winning three-run double in the eighth inning as the Jaguars rallied to edge Gordon State College 9-8 at Georgia Perimeter College’s Newton Campus on Family Night.

The Jaguars (23-8, 12-1 GCAA), specialists in late-inning rallies, trailed 4-1 in the fourth, took a 5-4 lead and fell behind 8-5 before rallying for four runs in the eighth.

With their fifth consecutive victory (12th in the past 13 games) and third comeback win in the last six outings, the Jags stretch their lead in the Georgia Collegiate Athletic Association to two games. Gordon State retains second place at 10-3, 17-4 overall.

The teams now take their series to Barnesville, home of Gordon State, where they play Thursday at 6 p.m. and clash Saturday in a 2 p.m. doubleheader.

Trailing 8-5 going into the bottom of the eighth inning, GPC’s Ladonis Bryant drew a two-out walk to start the winning rally. London Lindley followed with a double to right field. Tyler Schwartz hit a high chopper that resulted in an error, allowing Bryant to score from third, and J.T. Phillips drew a walk to load the bases for Curry.

Sending a double to left field, Curry plated Lindley and Schwartz easily, and Phillips raced around the bases from first for the winning run.

“We knew the type of hitter Jerad was coming into the season,” head coach Brett Campbell said.“We knew he would anchor the middle of our lineup and drive in key runs. He has continued to get better behind the plate and does a great job handling our pitching staff. He has really stepped up for us in a big way.”

GPC struck first on the gusty evening when Schwartz reached on a fielder’s choice in the bottom of the first inning, moved to second on a groundout and scored on a single by Matt Taylor.

Gordon State answered with a four-run burst in the next inning, featuring RBI singles by Hunter Thornton and Bryce Todd and a two-run base hit by Tyler Hutch.

In the bottom of the second inning the Jaguars scored three runs, two on an error and one on J.T. Phillips’ double, to tie it 4-4.

They picked up a run in the fifth for a 5-4 lead when Phillips led off with a single, stole second base, moved to third on an error and came home on a sacrifice fly by Taylor.

The Highlanders took their 8-5 lead with two runs in the sixth (RBIs by Kameron Whitaker and Jesus Monserrat) and two in the seventh (RBIs by Thornton and Todd), setting the stage for GPC’s dramatic eighth inning rally.

Lindley and Phillips had two hits apiece as Gordon held the hot-hitting Jaguars to eight hits, while the Highlanders collected 12 on GPC pitchers and executed ample bunting to move runners over.

Matt Gray earned the win, allowing two hits in 1 2/3 innings of relief. Phillips effectively closed it in the ninth.