Cougars fall to Nova Southeastern in season opener - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Cougars fall to Nova Southeastern in season opener

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COLUMBUS, Ga. – No. 36 Columbus State and 19th-ranked Nova Southeastern were all tied up at three entering the eighth inning until the Sharks banged out five runs in the frame to capture an 8-3 victory over the Cougars on Friday night. The season opener for both teams was played at Ragsdale Field in Columbus.

In the top of the eighth, head coach Greg Appleton called Bronson Gagner out of the bullpen for the Cougars. Gagner looked sharp to begin striking out the first batter he faced before hitting Anthony Angulo with a 1-1 pitch. In the next at-bat, Jose Rodriguez drilled a double over centerfielder J.D. Pullen's head that put runners at second and third for the Sharks.

After new pitcher Ty Inlow hit yet another batter, Brett Clements hit a dribbler through the drawn in infield that allowed two runs to score. The inning didn't get any better for CSU as the next batter, Blake Boyd, doubled down the leftfield line chasing home pinch-runner Angel Navarro to make it a 6-3 game. 

After the third pitching change of the inning, Hart Mizell was greeted by Carlos Asuaje who hit a hard single just out of the reach of a diving Martin Castro at first base that scored the final two runs of the game.

In the final two innings, Columbus State failed to get a runner past second base as they fell to the visitors.

Nova Southeastern was led by a strong pitching attack that didn't allow a hit in the final four innings of play. Relief pitcher Mike Gonzalez recorded the win after pitching 2.2 scoreless innings. He didn't surrender a hit while punching out two batters.

For the Cougars, Bronson Gagner was hit with the loss allowing two runs in a third of an inning. Ty Inlow also gave up three earned runs in relief.

Things looked promising for the Cougars early on as starting pitcher Brodie Leibrandt worked his magic in the first two innings. In the first, Nova put runners on second and third without an out before Leibrandt got Brandon Sedell to line into a double-play. He then recorded a strikeout to escape the jam.

In the second, the Sharks loaded the bases with one out but a strikeout and a fly out got the Cougars out of the inning unharmed.

Columbus State struck first in the fourth inning as Ryan Lewis led the frame off with a single right back up the middle. On a 1-1 pitch, CSU put on a perfectly executed hit-and-run play as Brett Teschner lined a double into the right-centerfield gap that scored Lewis for the first run of the game.

After a wild pitch, Cameron Griffin singled into rightfield allowing Teschner to score from third.

Nova Southeastern came right back scoring three runs in the top of the fifth that put the Sharks ahead. After two walks and a single by Alex Marrero that loaded the bases with one out, Sedell hit a sharp single under the glove of a diving Castro that scored two runs. Julian Loret de Mola followed that with a sacrifice fly which made the score 3-2.

CSU would tie the game up in the next frame after Pullen led the inning off with a bunt single and advanced to second on a throwing error by Sedell. During the next at-bat, Pullen moved up to third following a balk call and later came around to score on a Lewis sacrifice fly to centerfield.

Pullen's bunt single would be the final hit of the game for the Cougars as the Sharks went on to win.

Nova Southeastern was led by Carlos Asuaje, Brandon Sedell and Brett Clements who all collected two RBIs for the Sharks. Asuaje and Sedell each recored two hits while Blake Boyd went 2-for-4 for Nova.

Starting pitcher Zachary Westcott went five innings allowing three runs (two earned) on six hits. He didn't walk a batter while striking out three.

For the Cougars, Ryan Lewis and Cameron Griffin both went 1-for-3 with a run batted in while Brett Teschner had a run scoring double.

On the mound, Brodie Leibrandt lasted five innings giving up three runs on just four hits. He walked four and struck out two.

Columbus State and Nova Southeastern will wrap up the series tomorrow afternoon with a doubleheader. First pitch is set for Noon ET at Ragsdale Field.

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