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ABAC Stallions defeat national powerhouse Darton College

By Ty Baker, Dixon Fletcher
and Dallas Hudgens
Staff Writers

The ABAC Stallions baseball team defeated nationally ranked Darton Sunday afternoon with a walk-off hit after a 14-inning affair. Outfielder Hayden Kudela slammed a single to left field that helped Neal Gandee glide across home plate untouched for the 7-6 victory.
The win helped the Stallions take the series 3-1, which was their first series win over Darton in a regular season in two years.
“It felt good to drive in the game-winning run,” said Kudela. “The fact that it was against a big team like Darton made it even better.” Darton currently leads in the GCAA standings with a 16-4 record (29-8 overall).
The Stallions trailed three times in the game. They were behind 3-0 after three innings but rallied to tie the game in the fourth. After a couple of key hits in the top of the ninth, Darton took back a 4-3 lead, leaving the Stallions with a desperate need for a comeback.
With a runner on second, the Stallions were down to their final out until Kudela hit a fly ball at the warning track, driving in the game-tying run. Darton regained a 2-run lead in the next inning, leaving the Stallions down 6-4.
Again on their final out, the Stallions put two runners on with Matt Fryman at the plate. Fryman, who was hitless so far in the game, smashed a triple that evened the game 6-6, setting it up for Kudela’s heroics.
Saturday double-header
In another nail-biter on Saturday, The Stallions defeated the Darton Cavaliers 8-7 in the first game of their April 6 doubleheader at Stallion Field..
Both ABAC and Darton struggled to find consistency from the mound Saturday. The Cavaliers cycled through three pitchers in the first four innings and eventually placed four different individuals on the mound. Darton’s David Knapp, a catcher, was walked three times after being hit in the shoulder, elbow and helmet respectively throughout the game.
The Stallions’ record is 14-22 this spring, but the team has turned it around to win five of the seven games since March 28.
“I feel like the effort from this year’s team has been phenomenal… We are starting to pull everything together right at the right time,” said Justin Hicks, left-handed pitcher.
Though the Stallions dropped the second game Saturday, Gandee was the big hitter of the day, going three for four from the plate and littering the field with base hits. Brad Blount led the Stallions in RBI’s for the game; he was able to knock in two runs on a single in the big second inning.
Earlier in the week, ABAC triumphed against Darton to win 4-3 on the road to hand the Cavaliers their first home loss this season
This was a great series win for ABAC, as Darton was ranked No. 12 in the nation while the Stallions were struggling to get back .500 on the year.
“It felt great to take three out of four from one of the top ranked teams in the nation, but we are more excited about where these three wins puts us in the conference standings, we have a great team here, and if we play like we are capable of for the rest of the year, we like our chances for the conference tournament,” said Adam Boan.
The Stallions continued their winning ways on Saturday, April 13, taking two games from West Georgia Tech College.
Kevin Werner started the first came and posted an 11-2 win. Pitcher Robert Nelson closed out the victory.
The key to the game was a 7-run rally by the Stallions in the third inning.
In the second game, pitcher Aaron Westbury started and Matt Moses closed the game, posting a combined shutout 3-0 triumph.
Coach Jeff Kilgore gave credit for the win to the stellar pitchers and the tremendous defensive play in the field behind thehm.