By Matthew D. Stokes
BerryVikings.com Staff Writer
ROME, Ga. – Berry rapped out 20 hits, but blew an eight-run lead in the ninth inning and ended up losing 13-12 to visiting Bates in a marathon game Wednesday afternoon at William R. Bowdoin Field.
The matchup lasted 10 innings and over four hours.
Berry looked strong the first four innings, leading 3-0 heading into the top of the fifth. Bates' offense suddenly awakened in the fifth, scoring three runs to knot up the game at 3-3.
After scoring nine runs in its next three times to bat and allowing only one in that same stretch, Berry entered the ninth with a comfortable 12-4 lead.
Then things took a turn for the absolute worst for the Vikings.
Six consecutive walks, including four with the bases loaded, combined with several run-scoring hits and two Berry errors allowed Bates to come all the way back and tie the score 12-12.
In the top of the tenth, Bates scored the tiebreaking run on Jeffrey Gunn's screaming line drive RBI single past Berry's Preston Neely at third base and into left field. And Berry, seemingly still in shock from Bates' ninth inning rally, could not string together any offense as it went down in order in the bottom of the tenth.
Mike Ciummei, Griff Tewksbury, Mekae Hyde and Gunn recorded two hits apiece for the Bobcats.
Aaron Epp made his first college start for Berry, pitching four innings of three-run ball, while his Bates counterpart, Mike Antonellis, also pitched four frames and allowed three earned runs.
A.J. DeBenedictis (1-0), the sixth of seven pitchers used by Bates, earned the victory while Tom Baroni picked up the save. TJ Page (0-1) took the loss for Berry.
Berry returns to William R. Bowdoin Field on Saturday against North Park at 1 p.m.
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