Toccoa Falls Sweeps Berry as Vikings End Season Saturday
By Matthew D. Stokes
BerryVikings.com Staff Writer
ROME, Ga. – Berry College's baseball season ended on a sour note Saturday, as the Vikings were swept in a doubleheader at William R. Bowdoin Field by scores of 8-5 and 11-10, respectively.
In the first game, Berry put Casey Gray on the mound and had mixed results through four innings. Toccoa Falls touched up Gray for one run in the second and fourth, but Berry's offense was rolling in support of its right-hander, responding each time with three in its second and two in the fourth.
However, Gray and Berry crumbled in the fifth as the first five Toccoa Falls batters all reached base before an out was recorded. After throwing away a potential out at third base that allowed the first run to score, Gray was lifted in favor of Josh Dilbeck.
Gray's (4-6) final pitching line read four-plus innings with six hits and five runs (four earned) allowed.
The bleeding did not stop there for Berry's pitchers, though, as four more Toccoa Falls crossed the plate to secure the Eagles' lead for good.
Jordan Couillard and Corey Warner both stroked two hits for Toccoa Falls while Zach Warner scored twice.
Right-handed starter Micah Ellington survived through some shaky defense and erratic control to earn the win for Toccoa Falls. He threw six innings, allowing seven hits, five runs (three earned) and four walks. Nate Bowen threw a hitless seventh to earned the save.
"We just hurt ourselves and gave them a big inning where there really shouldn't have been one," said Berry head coach David Beasley of that five-run fifth.
The nightcap looked to be more promising for Berry as it overcame an early deficit and a quick departure by righty starting pitcher Aaron Epp to be in a position to close out the season with a win.
Then things disintegrated in the matter of an inning. Nursing a four-run cushion in the seventh, Berry pitcher Levi Austin allowed all six batters that he faced to reach safely, the crushing blow being Corey Warner's three-run home run, which turned an 8-7 Berry lead into a 10-8 deficit.
In all, Toccoa Falls' first eight batters got on base before an out was recorded.
Berry rallied in the bottom of the seventh, as Jonathan Stump and Matt Pinson each laced RBI singles to tie the game 10-10 and send it into extra innings.
Getting the first out proved to be problematic for Berry pitchers yet again in that lone extra inning as the first three batters reached base, including the deciding blow, a Zack Warner RBI single.
Berry's 2012 season ended quietly in a three up, three down eighth with Michael Whatley striking out swinging to finish a tough spring.
"We have a flaw right now of giving up runs late in the game," Beasley said. "It's something we have to work on, and I've got to do a better job as a coach."
Stephen Gaylor had three hits, three RBIs and three runs scored for Berry while Pinson picked up two hits.
Zack Warner went a flawless 4-for-4 for Toccoa Falls while Josh Ward picked up three hits and three runs scored. Cam Fulcher and Couillard each also had multi-hit games.
Berry finishes 2012 with an 18-21 record.
"We had a tough schedule," said Beasley of Berry's 2012 opponents. "But I thought the kids did well. I thought they fought hard."
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