Seniors win final home game behind Perez’s record-tying homer

All good things must come to an end. Seniors Dallas Deavers, Logan Burt, Jack Fleming and Steven Tomlinson found the truth behind this statement Sunday afternoon as their careers at Bob Stein Stadium came to a close.

The four veterans were able to leave Bob Stein with a 4-3 victory over the nationally ranked Columbus State Cougars behind Andres Perez’s record-tying 20th home run.

After hitting his 20th home run of the season, tying the UNG record for home runs in a season, Perez (middle) celebrates with teammates Jake Arnold (left) and Joshua Profit. (Photo by Jake Cantrell)

“I’m just glad I could send the seniors who have done a great job all year long on a high note and get the win,” Perez said.

The win marked the 146th win for this senior class, making them the winningest class of seniors to come through UNG since the program joined the NCAA in 2006.

“This senior class just won 30 games four straight years,” head coach Tom Cantrell said. “That’s huge and it’s hard to do in Division II baseball.”

The victory did not come easily for the Nighthawks however, as North Georgia gave up a 2-0 lead in the fifth inning and fell down 3-2 to the Cougars. UNG remained quiet until the eighth inning, when infielder Chase Sudduth sent home William Mapes on a sacrifice fly to even the score at 3-3.

Following a leadoff triple to start the eighth inning, William Mapes slides in safely for the game-tying run on a sacrifice fly from Chase Sudduth. (Photo by Jake Cantrell)

Up next came catcher Andres Perez, who was one home run shy of tying the UNG home run single season record set by Rob Flanigan in 2008. Perez then proceeded to send a ball deep over the left field fence to tie the previous record and give the Nighthawks a 4-3 lead.

“Andres has had a heck of a year,” head coach Tom Cantrell said. “In my opinion, he is the player of the year in this league.”

The record-tying long ball by Perez would prove to be enough for Burt, as he threw three and one third innings in relief while picking up his fourth win in his final appearance in Dahlonega.

“[I’m] not really concerned about myself,”  Burt said. “Just trying to get the team a win and we needed a win going into conference tournament next week.”

Senior relief pitcher Logan Burt celebrates the Senior Day victory against Columbus State after pitching 3.1 scoreless innings to close his final outing at home for UNG. (Photo by Jake Cantrell)

UNG’s lone victory in the three-game series secured North Georgia the fifth seed heading into the 2018 Peach Belt Conference tournament in St. Augustine, Florida. The win came off the heels of a 15-2 loss Friday and a 3-2 loss Saturday afternoon.

“It’s honestly a boost we have especially coming back from the two days we had,” Perez said, “to come back and win this game after being down and showing the resiliency we did today.”

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