GAINESVILLE -- The Marietta Patriots (9-15) got home runs from Khalil Wilson, Blake Metcalfe, and Matthew Vaccaro, but couldn't overcome the Gwinnett Tides' (12-9) offense as they fell 14-12 Thursday night at Ivey Watson Field.
The Patriots hit three homers in a game for the first time this season and two or more homers for the first time since Livingston Morris homered twice July 2 against the Norcross Astros.
Both teams combined for 28 hits and 26 runs. The 26 runs tied a Pats record most all-time in a single game set on June 27, 2017 when the Patriots defeated the Brookhaven Bucks 17-9.
Khalil Wilson and Matthew Vaccaro each had two hits and three RBI to lead Marietta at the plate. Wilson's home run in the second inning was his first of the season and highlighted his career best 2-for-3 performance at the plate, while Vaccaro raised his batting average to a league-leading .482. The first baseman from Reinhardt is a combined 10-for-12 with seven RBI in his last four games.
After Marietta took a 2-0 lead on Wilson and Blake Metcalfe's solo homers in the second and third, the Tides evened the score with Tyler Skelton's triple in the home half. Gwinnett then scored three runs in the fourth to take a 5-2 lead.
The Patriots fought back in the fifth as Paul Grazzini scored from first on Blake Metcalfe’s single to cut the deficit to 5-3. Then in the sixth, the Patriots loaded the bases and pushed a run across on a wild pitch before Khalil Wilson drove in two more with a base clearing double to put the Pats ahead 6-5. The lead was short-lived as the Tides responded with four runs in the home half off of Clifton Olmstead (0-1), highlighted by Trenton Jamison's two-run homer to take a 9-6 lead.
The Patriots cut the deficit to 9-8 on Matthew Vaccaro’s RBI single and Adam Alicea’s RBI double in the seventh. But Gwinnett answered with four runs in the home half to increase their lead to 13-8.
Both sides scored a run in the eighth before Marietta made one last push. Trailing 14-9, Blake Metcalfe drew a leadoff walk, stole second, and advanced to third on a wild pitch before scoring on Mickey Skole's pinch-hit single. Matthew Vaccaro then cut the deficit to 14-12 with his two-run homer in the ninth. That was all the Patriots would manage as Sam Cohen came on to pitch for Gwinnett and retired the side to earn the save.
The Patriots return to action Friday at Oglethorpe University for the first game of their three-game series against Brookhaven. First pitch is at 6:30.