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Muscogee Sports

Knowles goes the distance as CSU advances in NCAA Regional

The eighth-ranked Columbus State University baseball team won its second game in as many days, defeating second-ranked and top-seeded North Greenville 4-3 Friday in the NCAA Southeast Regional.

Perez Knowles (7-3) went the distance for the Cougars, limiting the Crusaders to just three runs on seven hits with nine strikeouts.

Columbus State (42-12) moves into the winner’s bracket final, where it takes on the winner of Belmont Abbey and Lincoln Memorial. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Saturday.

“Perez was outstanding today,” head coach Greg Appleton said. “We jumped on them early and he buckled down and fought the entire day. He made the big pitches when he needed them most and seemed to be getting stronger late in the game.”

The Cougars came out rolling Friday, with five of the first six hitters picking up hits. Grant Berry started the frame with a ball back through the middle and Mason McClellan scored him with a single in similar fashion. Austin Pharr then beat out a soft ground ball and Robert Brooks cashed it in with a line drive into left that plated McClellan.

The offense kept coming in the second, with Garrett Kirkwood opening the frame with a bunt single. Drew Webb then doubled the lead with a long two-run homer to left to make it a 4-0 contest.

North Greenville (44-9) got the two runs back immediately though, hitting a two-run homer of its own in the bottom half of the second.

From there, the game was in the hand of the two starting pitchers, as neither team scored from the third through sixth innings.

Berry, Brooks, Kirkwood and Webb all had two hits as CSU pounded out 12 on the day.

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