ALPHARETTA -- Matthew Vaccaro went 3-for-3 with a walk and a RBI as the Marietta Patriots (9-13) strung together nine runs on 12 hits to dominate the Alpharetta Aviators (8-13) 9-1 Monday night at Legion Field.
With the victory, the Patriots move a half game ahead of the Aviators into fifth place in the Sunbelt standings and currently sit 1-1/2 games behind the Atlanta Crackers for the fourth and final playoff spot.
For Vaccaro, his 3-for-3 performance is the second straight game in which he recorded a hit in every at-bat after going 4-for-4 in Friday's game against the Atlanta Crackers. The senior first baseman from Reinhardt, who also leads the Sunbelt with a .480 batting average, is now a combined 7-for-7 at the plate in his last two games. His three hits also move him into a tie with Sean McDermott for the most career hits in Pats history with 52.
Palmer Sapp went 2-for-5 with an RBI, while Randy Guevarez and Khalil Wilson each drove in two runs.
The Patriots jumped out to a 2-0 lead on an RBI single by Vaccaro in the first and an error in the third. Then in the fourth, Palmer Sapp tripled to right field with one out. Anthony Angelety then walked and stole second with two outs, setting up Khalil Wilson's RBI single to center field that scored both runners and increased Marietta's lead to 4-0.
After the Aviators scored their lone run in the bottom of the fourth, the Pats responded with four runs in the fifth. With two outs, Vaccaro doubled, and Walker Hennon walked. Adam Alicea then drove Vaccaro home on a single and subsequent fielding error in left field. A pass ball moved Alicea and Hennon to second and third before Palmer Sapp scored Hennon with an infield single. Randy Guevarez then capped the inning with an RBI double to left field that scored Sapp and Alicea and increased Marietta's lead to 8-1.
The Patriots added another run on Paul Grazzini's groundout in the eighth with runners on second and third.
Pats starter Ronny Piepmeier (1-2) allowed only one run in five innings to earn his first victory of the season.
The home-and-home series with Alpharetta concludes Tuesday at Marietta High School. First pitch is at 7 p.m.