Lawrenceville, GA- Facing elimination after a 5-0 defeat to the Tornadoes on Saturday morning, the Falcons bounced back and earned a pair of wins in the A.I.I. Conference Tournament to earn a spot in the semi-finals on Monday. Fisher banged out 21 hits in Game 1 against the College of the Ozarks (23-29) for a 17-0 win, and went on to defeat the Edward Waters College Tigers 12-7 in the nightcap.
Game 1-Junior hurler Johann Doerrer (Dolgeville, NY) pitched a 3-hit, complete game shutout, to help lead his team to a convincing 17-0 win in the first game of the playoff action at the Grizzly Baseball Complex at Georgia Gwinnett College. The Falcons got on the board first, scoring a pair of runs in the top of the 2nd on RBI singles from Cameron Pearson (Orlando, FL) and Reynaldo Vega (Aguada, PR) off of the Bobcats starter Collan Thrasher, to take an early 2-0 lead. The bats were quiet on both sides until the 5th when the Falcons added another three runs to go up 5-0 after five full innings. Jacob Deziel (Merrimac, MA) and Ismael Perez (Brooklyn, NY) started the inning with back-to-back singles to put runners on the corners. John Batista (Lawrence, MA) hit a sac fly plating Deziel, and Pearson followed with another RBI hit, this time a triple down the right field line to make it 4-0. Joshua Rogers (Highlands Ranch, CO) made it 5-0 with another sac fly scoring Pearson for the 5-0 lead.
Doerrer did not allow a Bobcats hit until the bottom of the 5th, but managed to get out of the inning unscathed to keep it 5-0. The Falcons broke the game open in the top of the 7th as they started the inning collecting two straight hits forcing Thrasher out of the game. After Braxten Ramirez (Amarillo, TX) was hit by his replacement, scoring Pearson, Edward Waters went to their bullpen again. Sean Neal almost got his team out of the frame, but a Tigers miscue kept the inning alive and Perez made it count, smacking a three-run homer leading his team to 14-0 lead after seven innings. Fisher added three more runs in the 9th on three more hits, going on to win 17-0.
Pearson, Perez and Jonathan Rosado (Bayamon, PR) each had four hits in the contest to help keep their playoffs hopes alive, combining for 10 RBI's and nine runs scored in the victory. Doerrer earned his 6th win of the season, allowing just three hits over nine innings while striking out four. Thrasher took the loss for the Bobcats as he pitched seven innings, allowing eight earned runs while striking out seven in the losing effort. The loss ended the College of the Ozarks season, while Fisher went on to face Edward Waters in the nightcap.
Game 2- After the Edward Waters Tigers (27-35) jumped on the scoresheet first, getting a pair of runs off of Falcons starter Randolf Flores (Brooklyn, NY) in the top of the first, the Falcons answered right back in the bottom half, tying it quickly at two runs a piece. Ivan Rivera (Brooklyn, NY) started the action in the first, tagging a double to right center off of Tigers starter Noah Leake. Mitchell Lundholm (Plymouth, MA) earned his first RBI of the day, as he followed with a single to right scoring Rivera. Perez stayed hot in the nightcap, and added another single to his day plating Lundholm to tie it up. The Falcons earned their first lead of the evening in the next inning as Lundholm smacked a triple to deep left center for two more RBI's in as many innings to go up 4-2.
EWC made it a 4-3 game, grabbing an unearned run in the top of the 3rd on a Marcus Judd single. But again, the Falcons quickly answered, tacking on two more runs in the bottom half of the inning on a pair of hits from Rogers and Rosado to extend the lead to 6-3. The Tigers would not back down though, and got within one run after scoring in both the 4th and 5th inning off of Flores to make it a 6-5 contest. After two quiet innings from the Falcons bats, they finally got to Tigers reliever Manuel Guerra in the bottom of the 6th. Deziel got on board to start the inning with a bunt and moved up to second on a wild throw that went out of play. Rivera hit a liner to right that allowed Deziel to scamper to third, setting up the sac fly for Lundholm to gain a two-run advantage going up 7-5. Rosado made it an 8-5 game in the 7th, ripping a double to deep left, his 6th hit and 6th RBI of the day.
The Falcons gave themselves some breathing room in the bottom of the 8th, taking advantage of control issues from the Tigers pitching staff and a key defensive miscue. Fisher load the bases on a hit batsman, a Tigers error, and a walk with no outs. EWC went to the bullpen to replace Guerra, but his replacement Frank Grimaldi also struggled to find the plate, walking Perez for their first run of the inning. Batista made it an 11-5 game, taking a Grimaldi pitch to right scoring two runs. Rogers added the 4th run of the inning on a sac fly, giving the Falcons the 12-5 lead heading to the 9th.
The Tigers made it interesting the top of the 9th, finally getting to Jose Galan (Alta, PR), who came in for Flores in the 5th and had only allowed one hit over his next four innings of work. But two extra base hits from the Tigers added a pair of runs, but that would not be enough and the Falcons held on for the 12-7 victory. In five innings of relief, Galan earned his 6th win of the season, allowing four hits and striking out five.
Lundholm and Rosado each tallied a pair of hits in the victory, while combining for six RBI. Will Boggs led the Tigers, going 3 for 4 at the plate in the losing effort. The victory ends the Tigers season, with the Falcons going on to face the Talladega Tornadoes Monday at 11am. This will be the 5th time in a week that the two teams have squared off, with the season series tied at two wins a piece.