Tifton Gazette

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May 7, 2014

Mustangs score three in 7th to win game one

TIFTON — For six innings and one out, the Tift County Blue Devils looked well on their way to taking a 1-0 lead in their second round baseball series with the Kennesaw Mountain Mustangs. They had a 3-1 lead, but just minutes later it was a 4-3 game, making the Mustangs the victors.

Starter Deviner McCray had given up a run until that point, but had not allowed a hit since the 4th. Things began unraveling for him after a single by Zach Goodman. That was followed by a liner by Reggie Pruitt. To make matters worse, McCray balked, putting both men in scoring position.

Coach Kyle Kirk elected to stay with his man, but he surrendered a single to Michael Atkinson to tighten the lead to 3-2, with Atkinson taking second on an overthrow. Tyler Stephenson was walked intentionally to give them the option of an out at every bag, but he unintentionally issued a pass to Zach Teem to tie the game. Kirk went to his bullpen and Briggs Benson, but pinch hitter Patrick Martin stepped in and smacked a single for the walk-off.

No. 1 starter Ryley Gilliam only lasted four innings for Kennesaw Mountain. His undoing came after the 4th. Patrick Watson was hit by a pitch with one out. With Will Boothe as a courtesy runner, Jonah Reyes drilled  a single. Ryan Ross hit a deep ball that fell in, but the runners had to hold. That loaded the bases for Zeke Dodson, who grounded out to third, but scored Boothe.

That inning had come after a shaky 3rd when Dodson scored on a single by Alex Abbott. Abbott made it around to third on a steal and wild pitch, but the Devils could do no more.

Zack Chandler came in to replace Gilliam in the 5th. He did the job for the Mustangs, setting down all nine men he faced.

Tift got a solitary hit off Gilliam in the 1st, but it was another type of hit that led to the game's first run. Zack Bullard was plunked to start the frame and immediately began to establish a lead off first. Will Reinhardt laid down a sacrifice bunt and when the Mustangs were slow to cover, Bullard took third.

Watson fanned for the second out, but he was picked up on an RBI single by Reyes.

McCray struck out six and gave up seven hits. Tift had six hits, two coming off the bat of Reyes.

Game two finished after press time and will be published in Friday's edition.

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