The Golden Knights (14-12, 4-5) handed Darton its first conference loss of the season, dropping it to 21-5 overall and 8-1 in league play.
WGTC rode the arm of starter Tyler Banks, who pitched a complete game, allowing three runs — two earned — on six hits, fanning one and walking one.
“Tyler pitched a gem for us,” WGTC coach Todd Pratt said. “He really did a splendid job. I can’t say enough about him, shutting down a really good offensive team.”
Darton entered the game as the top hitting team in Region 17 with .343 team average, but the Knights out-hit it, 9-6.
Darton opened the scoring with a run in the top of the third on back-to-back doubles with two outs before WGTC tied the game in the home half of the inning.
Hudson Power reached base on a hit batsman and got into scoring position on a wild pitch. Beau Welborn singled him home one pitch later to tie the score, 1-1.
Darton scored two more runs in the top of the fifth to go in front 3-1, a score that remained until the seventh. West Georgia Tech’s Mike Bryan doubled with two outs and then scored on a single by Matthew Pope to bring the Knights to within one at 3-2.
West Georgia Tech tied the game at 3-3 in the eighth inning. With one out, Welborn walked and Rus Morman brought him home on a double down the third-base line.
Darton got the leadoff man on base in the top of the ninth, but a sacrifice attempt was thwarted by the Golden Knights on a great play by Banks, who threw the lead run out at second base.
The Knights scored the winning run in the bottom of the ninth, as they worked the bases loaded with no outs on a Jamie McKnight single sandwiched between two walks.
Matthew Pope then delivered his second RBI on a ground ball that was mishandled by the drawn-in infield, giving the Golden Knights the 4-3 final margin.
West Georgia Tech was led offensively by Morman (2-for-4, RBI) and Blake Butcher (2-for-4), while Pope was 1-for-4 with two RBI and Welborn was 1-for-3 with an RBI.
“This was a good way to start the series, there is no question about that,” Pratt said. “Darton is a great team. I thought we gave them some outs here and there on the base paths, but we had a really solid outing from Banks and we got the clutch hits when we needed them.”
The series resumes on Friday in Albany, with the threat of rain once again altering the schedule.
The two teams originally were to play a single game on Friday and a twin bill on Saturday. But with a soggy weekend forecast, the two teams have agreed to play a doubleheader on Friday and a single game on Saturday, if conditions permit.
A second West Georgia comeback fell short Wednesday afternoon in South Carolina, as the Wolves fell victim to Coker in consecutive days in midweek non-conference action, suffering a 7-5 loss this time around.
The Cobras (18-8) got a pair of runs in the first, second and fifth innings to jump ahead 6-0. After Coker scored a single run in the seventh for the 7-0 advantage, UWG (17-9) finally got its bats going. The Wolves scored two in the eighth and three in the ninth, but couldn’t overcome the Cobras.
The Wolves return to action this weekend when they open a three-game Gulf South Conference series against Union University in Jackson, Tenn. UWG will play a 2 p.m. doubleheader on Saturday, followed by a single game at 1 p.m. on Sunday.