By Matthew D. Stokes
BerryVikings.com Staff Writer
ROME, Ga. – Berry completed a three-game sweep weekend of Tennessee Temple Saturday, taking both ends of a double header at William R. Bowdoin Field. Berry won Saturday's first game 6-2, then won the series finale 13-4.
The opener featured dueling lefties in Berry's Cameron Rich and Tennessee Temple's Hunter Giles. Early on it appeared that it would a pitching battle as Rich retired the first eight batters he faced and needed only 31 pitches to cruise through the first three frames. Meanwhile Giles looked sharp in the first two innings, successfully navigating his way through a no-out and two-runners-on jam in the second.
In the third, Berry would tag Giles for three runs on an error and a two-run double from Thomas Johnson. On the other side, Berry's Rich continued dealing, wiggling out of a none-out, two-on situation of his own in the fourth.
Tennessee Temple's offense showed signs of life in the sixth, tagging Rich for its only two runs of the afternoon on Ryan Bruce's sacrifice fly and a Luke Daniel RBI single. With the bases loaded and one out, Rich found his touch once again, inducing Brandon Davis to line out into an inning-ending double play to second.
Both pitchers wound up tossing complete games in the seven-inning affair. Rich (3-2) allowed two earned runs on seven hits. He struck out three and walked none. Giles tossed six innings of eight-hit ball, surrendering six runs (two earned) with four walks and four strikeouts.
"It was the same situation that we had (Friday)," said Berry head coach David Beasley, comparing Rich's complete game effort to that of teammate Casey Gray the day before. "He went out and forced contact."
Zach Farmer led Berry with two base hits while T.C. Boyd and Johnson drove in one and two runs, respectively. Chris Altman's two base hits were tops for Tennessee Temple, and Bruce and Daniel drove the Crusaders' lone runs.
"Giles was throwing a lot of offspeed pitches, and we did a good job of staying back and letting the ball travel," Beasley said.
The nightcap was just the opposite of game one as two righties, Berry's Carter Reese and Tennessee Temple's Brandon Davis, faced off. Both offenses did not wait this time around to get going immediately.
Reese was touched for four hits and three runs in the first inning, but the scoring in that entire frame did not stop when Berry came up to hit.
Berry responded quickly with three runs of its own, tying the game at three runs apiece.
Berry did not cease its scoring ways there as it ripped off five straight singles to open its second inning and finished with six runs. Austin Neely, Boyd, Farmer, Will Heard, Drew McDuffie, and Brandyn Jackson all drove in a run apiece.
This all gave Reese sufficient run support, but the right-hander departed after the first two Tennessee Temple batters each singled to start the fourth. He pitched three-plus innings, giving up eight hits and four earned runs.
Berry's Daniel Boccella (1-0) earned the win in relief of Reese, pitching two scoreless frames. Tanner Warren made his Berry debut, closing out the win with a scoreless seventh in spectacular fashion as he turned a lineout right back at him into a game-ending double play.
For Tennessee Temple, Davis took the loss after he lasted three innings, allowing 13 hits and 12 runs (eight earned).
Austin Neely had a standout game for Berry, leading the team with three hits and four runs scored. Boyd, Farmer and Gaylor also recorded multi-hit performances at the plate as Berry had 14 base hits overall in game two. Tennessee Temple's offense in the nightcap got multi-hit games from Altman, Bruce and Jon Clayton, who also drove in a pair.
Berry will return to Bowdoin Field this Tuesday for a doubleheader against Point University. First pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m.
NOTES: In addition to Warren's debut on the mound, Michael Whatley and Caleb McCreary each notched their first career hits as Berry Vikings. Whatley's single came in the opener while McCreary's hit occurred in the nightcap.
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