Mt. Berry, Ga. - In a wild conclusion to a great afternoon of baseball, the Berry College Vikings scored six runs in the bottom of the seventh inning in game two against Union University on Saturday to pull out a thrilling 12-11 win over the visiting Bulldogs. Berry had won the first game of the TranSouth doubleheader 9-4. Union, ranked No. 20 in the NAIA, defeated Berry 12-8 in 12 innings on Friday.
On a sunny and mild day at Bowdoin Field, the Vikings got a run in the first on a sacrifice fly by senior Nick Sun that plated sophomore Nick Hopper. In the bottom of the second, Berry went up 2-0 when senior Michael Moore belted a solo home run to left field. The Vikings then scored twice in the third, one on a sacrifice fly by Josh Griffith and another on an RBI double by Moore. Berry went up 5-0 in the fourth when sophomore Mason Brackett singled home freshman Jack Cash. Union climbed back in the game in the top of the fifth, scoring three runs on RBI singles by junior David Canary, junior Joel Hysmith, and freshman Brandon Jackson. However, Berry got those three runs back in the bottom of the inning. Moore belted a two-run homer, and Hopper had an RBI single. Each team got a run in the sixth; sophomore Josh Allen homered for Union, and Sun had a homer for Berry for the final 9-4 score.
Moore finished the game 3-for-4 with a double, two home runs, and four RBI. Hopper was 1-for-3 with an RBI, and Cash was 3-for-3 with two runs scored. For Union, junior Marc Glass was 3-for-3 and Jackson was 2-for-4 with an RBI. On the mound, Viking senior Josh Beshears improved to 4-0 with the win, going five and a third innings and allowing four runs on eight hits with six strikeouts and one walk. Senior Andy Davidson took the loss, giving up five runs on seven hits with two walks and three strikeouts in three innings of work.
After a brief break, the two teams hit the field again for the rubber game of the series. The Bulldogs jumped on top 1-0 in the first inning on a solo homer down the left field line by senior Roger Cook. In the Viking half of the first, Sun ripped a two-run homer to left center field to put Berry up 2-1. Union plated a pair of runs in the third on an RBI double and a sacrifice fly, and the Bulldogs then broke the game open in the fourth. Union scored four runs, with freshman Steven Sweat getting an RBI single and junior Jason Johnson adding a sacrifice fly. Jackson added another sac fly, and Cook then hit an RBI double to put the Bulldogs up 7-2.
Berry scored twice in the bottom of the fourth to cut the lead to 7-4, but Union came right back in the fifth. Senior Jed Thomas led off with a homer to left center field, and freshman Garrett Pepper later scored on a balk to make it 9-4. Cash had an RBI single for Berry in the bottom of the fifth to cut the gap to 9-5, and each team scored a run in their half of the sixth to make it 10-6 heading into the seventh inning. After Union got a run on an infield error to build an 11-6 lead in the top of the seventh, the Berry comeback began.
Moore started the rally by reaching on an error. After a strikeout, senior Jared Kime singled and senior pinch-hitter Lance Culpepper singled to left field to load the bases. An error at second base allowed Hopper to reach, and Moore scored to make it 11-7. Senior Corey Teem belted a two-run double to center field to make it 11-9, and Union head coach Andy Rushing then made a pitching change, bringing in Sweat to relieve junior starter Nash Powell. He intentionally walked Sun, and with the bases then loaded, junior Tyler Coats hit a hard shot to first base that was stopped by a diving Josh Allen. He tagged the base for the second out, but a run scored to make it 11-10. Griffith then stepped to the plate, and he ripped a pitch into center field that scored freshman pinch-runners Kerry Shouldeen and Michael Mayo with the winning runs.
Sun finished the day 4-for-4 with two homers and three RBI, while Griffith was 2-for-5 with those two big RBI in the seventh. Cash was 2-for-4 with an RBI, and Teem was 2-for-5 with two RBI. For Union, Cook was 3-for-4 with a pair of home runs and four RBI, while Sweat was 3-for-4 with an RBI. Pepper was 2-for-4 with two runs scored. On the mound, Sweat took the loss in relief, while Powell pitched six and a third innings and allowed 11 runs on 15 hits. For Berry, junior Troy Fry started and was relieved by senior Nate Mosteller in the fourth. Sophomore Chris Tanton pitched one and a third innings, and junior Chuck Smith earned the win in relief, going one and two thirds innings with one run, one hit, a walk and a strikeout.
Berry improved to 10-8-1 overall and 2-1 in the TranSouth, while Union fell to 12-4 overall and 1-2 in the conference.