Two early homers by Travis Sands and Skylar McPhee and a stellar start by pitcher Zach Fordham gave Georgia Highlands an early 2-0 lead over the visiting Cleveland State Cougars on Tuesday. Fordham fanned 8 and allowed just 4 hits and 1 run in 5 innings in his second start of the season. Antonio Reneo followed with a 1-2-3 inning, and the Chargers carried their 2-1 lead into the 7th inning. Skylar McPhee came on in relief of Reneo and retired the first hitter he faced before hitting a batter. The big sophomore then had what appeared to be a full count "strike em out, throw em out" double play to end the threat, but his pitch was called a ball, and the Cougars had runners on first and second with one out. McPhee then retired a batter on a bunt attempt and worked the next hitter into a 1-2 count before giving up a 2 run base hit to set the score at 3-2 going into the Chargers' half of the seventh.
The score remained the same as Trace Twardoski held serve in the top of the 8th, and the Chargers found themselves in familiar territory, behind late in a game. Keith Lyle worked a 5 pitch walk to start the inning to get things started for GHC. A flyout by Travis Sands was followed by a balk to move Lyle into scoring position. Parker Orr then laced a ball down the third base line, but a fantastic stop by the Cougar's third baseman kept it from getting to the outfield and Orr had to settle for an infield hit. With an opportunity to recover the runs he'd allowed, Skylar McPhee delivered a base hit past a diving short stop to drive in the tying run and put runners at first and second for sophomore Blake Brady. Brady delivered, hitting a double down the right field line to score the go ahead and run. Austin Foster added another single to the tally to push the score to 5-3, and Lavoisier Fisher blasted a double over the head of the Cougar's right fielder to tack on the Chargers' 6th and final run. Logan Ward struck out the side in the ninth for his second save of the season, and the Chargers improved to 5-1 on the year.
GHC is back in action on Wednesday when they host Brewton Park in a 3PM doubleheader at Lakepoint.