Updated: Apr 30, 2019
Marietta, Ga. – The Marietta Patriots capitalized on 15 walks by the Aviator pitching staff to close out the regular season with doubleheader sweep of the Alpharetta Aviators 9-2 and 6-5 Thursday night at Jackie Smallwood Field.
With the victory, Marietta has now won seven straight and improved to 16-14, while the Aviator’s season ends with a 7-22 record. The Patriots will face the Norcross Astros in the first round of the Sun Belt League playoffs. Game one of the three-game series is on Saturday, July 28th, at Peachtree Ridge High School starting at 1 p.m.
Brandon Grover went 2-for-3 with three RBI’s to lead the Patriots, while Nate Stinson went 2-for-4 and scored four runs. Matthew Vaccaro went 2-for-2 with two RBI’s in game one to extend his hitting streak to 11 games, but had no hits in game two to snap the streak.
The Marietta pitching staff also allowed no walks from the Aviators during both games.
GAME ONE (Marietta 9, Alpharetta 2)
With one out and the score tied 2-2 in the sixth, Marietta loaded the bases with a Devin Billardello single and walks by Trey Vanderpool and Nate Stinson. Brandon Grover then scored Billardello and Vanderpool with a single into center field to put the Patriots up 4-2. A successful double steal advanced Stinson and Grover to second and third before a wild pitch on Matthew Vaccaro’s walk scored Stinson and increased Marietta’s lead to 5-2.
Brandon Thomas (0-1) plunked Gabe Howell to load the bases again and was relieved by Chase Meyer, who promptly plunked Stephen Cullen to push another run across. Marietta added three more runs on a fielder’s choice and a two-run double by Livingston Morris to increase their lead to 9-2.
Billy Brand (2-0) pitched three innings of relief to pick up his second win of the season for Marietta. The rising senior from Midland University allowed a solo home run in the fifth, but retired every other batter he faced, including four strikeouts.
The Aviators jumped out to a 1-0 lead on consecutive doubles by Matthew Heard and Parion Alexander. The score remained that way until the fourth as Nate Stinson singled and Brandon Grover walked to put runners on first and second. A wild pitch moved Stinson and Grover to second and third before Matthew Vaccaro scored both with a single into right field to give the Patriots a 2-1 lead.
GAME TWO (Marietta 6, Alpharetta 5)
After Alpharetta took a 1-0 lead on an RBI single by Chase Hall in the top of the third, Marietta capitalized on four walks and four wild pitches by Chase Meyer to take a 3-1 lead in the bottom half of the inning. The Aviators responded with four runs on four hits to take a 5-3 lead in the fourth.
The score remained that way until the fifth as Logan Forster (0-4) came on to pitch for Alpharetta and immediately walked Trevor Austin to lead off the inning. Nate Stinson then scored Austin and advanced to third with a double and subsequent fielding error by Matthew Heard before sacrifice fly from Brandon Grover scored Stinson and tied the game 5-5.
Matthew Vaccaro flew out to center field for out number two, but another error by Matthew Heard extended the inning as the left fielder dropped a routine fly ball from Gabe Howell. Stephen Cullen then made the Aviators pay with an RBI double into right center to put the Patriots up 6-5.
Jacob Hester (1-1) pitched a scoreless fifth inning to pick up the win. With a 6-5 lead in the seventh, Matthew Swain came on to pitch for Marietta and struck out Ryan McCarty to start the inning, but then plunked Khari Anderson and gave up a single from Tanner Wakefield to put runners on first and second. That’s when Swain induced a 6-4-3 double-play to end the game and pick up his first save of the season.
The Aviators outhit Marietta 11-4 in game two, but hurt themselves with eight walks and six wild pitches.