Vikings, Bobcats Split Afternoon Twin Bill
By Matthew D. Stokes
BerryVikings.com Staff Writer
ROME, Ga. – Berry won the first matchup against visiting Bates, but could not muster enough offense at crucial times in the second game as it ended up splitting a Tuesday afternoon doubleheader at William R. Bowdoin Field. Berry won the opener 8-0, before Bates earned the split with a 5-4 win in the nightcap.
In the first game, Berry received a strong outing by right-hander Trent Hillis, who scattered five hits over six scoreless innings while also striking out four batters.
"He did what we were asking him to do," said Berry head coach David Beasley of Hillis. "I thought he did a good job."
And Hillis' offense gave him plenty of run support.
Berry would inflict its most substantial damage against Bates' pitching in the third inning. Four runs scored, including one on Preston Neely's line drive double over the shortstop's head and two more on a laser of a double by Drew McDuffie.
Bates threatened to get some runs across the plate in the top half of the fifth, loading the bases with one out. However, Hillis managed to strand all three runners and leave that inning untouched.
Berry tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the sixth on a Cason Dremann RBI groundout and another RBI single by Farmer, giving the team a comfortable 8-0 lead.
Josh Dilbeck pitched the seventh inning for Berry and stranded two runners to secure the shutout victory.
Berry had five players with multiple hits, including three from Farmer. Austin Neely, Thomas, Preston Neely and McDuffie all had two hits apiece. For Bates, Rockwell Jackson had two hits.
Hillis earned the win while Bates starter Karl Alexander took the loss. Alexander pitched two and two-thirds innings and allowed six runs, five of which were earned.
In game two, Berry starter Levi Austin had mixed results. In four innings of work, he allowed four runs, two of which were earned, while walking five and striking out seven.
Right out of the gate, Bates looked like a different team as it scored the game's first run in the opening inning on a Bradley Reynolds sacrifice fly. Berry stayed in the game though, responding with a run of its own in the bottom half on a Farmer RBI double to right center field.
The two teams would again exchange runs in the third inning. Bates scored two runs in the top half due in large part to two Berry errors and a passed ball. Once again Berry had a response, tying the game 3-3 when Jonathan Stump brought home a run on a sacrifice fly and McDuffie delivered a RBI single to left.
This back-and-forth took yet another turn when Griffin Tewksbury slugged out a one out, first-pitch Austin offering over the right field fence for a solo home run to give the Bobcats a 4-3 advantage.
But Berry still had some fight left in its tank, scoring the tying run in the bottom of the sixth on Austin Neely's RBI single to right, which was set up by a Stephen Gaylor triple. The 4-4 score would hold through the seventh inning, forcing an extra frame.
The Bobcats would push across the tie-breaking and eventual game-winning run on a Steve Burke RBI single. Brad Reynolds worked around one hit and two walks to earn the save, inducing a game-ending double play grounder off the bat of Berry's Johnson.
"We just missed a lot of opportunities today," Beasley said.
Dilbeck took the loss for Berry, pitching three and a third innings and surrendering one run. Dean Bonneau earned the win, pitching two innings and allowing one run.
Berry will conclude its three-game series against Bates with a 2 p.m. matchup tomorrow at William R. Bowdoin Field.
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