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Canes sweep Dragons to win opening round series

The Cartersville Purple Hurricanes started the 2018 Class 4A baseball state playoffs in impressive style Friday night with a doubleheader sweep of visiting Pickens to win the first round series and advance to the Sweet Sixteen.

The Canes won the opener 5-1 and blanked the Dragons 12-0 in the nightcap.

The sweep means Cartersville will now host Marist at Richard Bell Field in the second round. That best-of-three series begins next Thursday (May 3) with a doubleheader. Marist swept Madison County Friday by scores of 16-6 and 4-0.

In the opener, Canes’ pitchers Mason Barnett and Gage Morris combined to limit Pickens to only five hits and two walks. Barnett allowed only one hit and an unearned run while striking out five. Morris fanned seven.

Anthony Seigler, who reached base in every plate appearance in the doubleheader, had a double, homer, and walked twice in the first game. Jake Gooch also contributed a pair of hits and one RBI. Ian Inaba added two RBI with one hit. Jordan Wilkie, Devin Warner (double), and Barnett had the other Hurricanes’ hits.

In Game 2, the Canes struck early and often and Jake Gooch dominated the Dragons from the mound.

Playing as the visiting team, Cartersville scored three runs in the top of the first and never looked back. The Hurricanes added two runs in the second, a run in the third, and six runs in the fourth inning.

Gooch tossed a five-inning, complete-game, one-hitter without walking a batter. He struck out nine.

Gooch hit a two-run homer in the first inning and JP Martin launched a long, solo shot in the second inning as the Canes jumped out to an early 5-0 lead.

Devin Warner and Jordan Wilkie both doubled in the third inning to give Cartersville a 6-0 lead and the Canes’ six-run fourth inning included a Barnett triple, a two-run single by Ian Inaba, and RBIs by Wilkie and Martin.

Seigler finished the series 3-for-3 with a double, triple, homer, five walks and one RBI to pace the Hurricanes’ offense. Gooch was 3-for-6 with a homer and three RBI. Warner was 3-for-4 with a double. Wilkie was 3-for-5 with two RBI and Inaba drove in three runs with a pair of hits.

Cartersville improved to 25-7 for the year.

Pickens season ends with a 14-17 record.

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