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Canes split with Marist, rubber game Friday

Cartersville and Marist split a Class 4A second round state playoff doubleheader Thursday night at Richard Bell Field forcing a rubber game Friday at 5 p.m. back at the Canes’ home field.

Cartersville won the first game 11-1 in six innings, but Marist bounced back in the nightcap with a 4-3 win.

Mason Barnett started on the mound and went five and two-thirds innings for the Hurricanes Game 1 victory. The junior scattered three hits and four walks for only one, unearned run. He fanned three. Gage Morris recorded the final out of the sixth inning for the Canes in relief.

Sophomore southpaw Liam Sullivan (5 IP, 5R, 3ER, 5H, 3BB, 3K) suffered the pitching loss for the War Eagles. Nick Roma (0.0 IP, 4ER, 4H) failed to record an out in the sixth and William Stephens (0.2 IP, 2ER, 1H) was on the mound when Devin Warner hit a walk-off, two-run homer to end the game in the Canes’ half of the sixth inning.

Cartersville scored four runs in the second inning taking advantage of three walks, a Marist error, singles by Ian Inaba and Anthony Seigler, plus a Josh Davis sac fly.

Davis made it 5-0 Cartersville in the fifth inning with a solo shot over the left field wall.

Marist narrowed the margin to 5-1 in the top of the sixth on a pair of singles and an outfield error that included an RBI single by James McCallum.

Then the Canes ended the game with a six-run bottom of the sixth.

Consecutive hits by Jordan Wilkie, J.P. Martin, and Preston Welchel preceded a three RBI double by Seigler that made the score 8-1. Gooch hit a sacrifice fly that scored Seigler later in the frame for a 9-1 advantage, and Warner ended the game by run rule with a two-run, line-drive homer over the right field wall.

In the nightcap, Marist turned to its pitching ace Sebastian Thomas to face Cartersville starter Jake Gooch.

Thomas delivered a complete-game, three-hitter as the War Eagles extended the series. The 6 foot, 5 inch Auburn-commit walked two and struck out three and allowed only one earned run.

Marist, playing as the home team in Game 2, led 2-0 through three innings after Tyler Hare drove in a run with a single and Patrick Comerford doubled Hare home in the second frame.

The Hurricanes knotted the score 2-2 in in the top of the fourth with only one hit.

Barnett reached on an infield error, moved to second on a single by Gooch, and both baserunners moved up a base on a groundout by Warner. Inaba reached on a fielder’s choice and throwing error by the War Eagles’ shortstop that allowed Barnett to score. Then Gooch scored on a fielder’s choice grounder by Wilkie.

Marist went back ahead 3-2 in the bottom of the fourth with three singles. Chase Abshier and Hare had base hits before Comerford delivered his second RBI of the game with a single to left field.

The back-and-forth battle continued in the Canes’ top of the fifth. Seigler hit a mammoth fly ball home run deep over the right field wall to again tie the score 3-3.

The War Eagles would answer again, however, with three straight hits off Canes’ reliever Morris. Singles by McCallum and Matthew McDermond set up an RBI double by Abshier to give Marist a 4-3 lead with only one out and two runners in scoring position.

Coach Kyle Tucker turned to reliever Cohen Wilbanks to minimize the fifth inning damage. The move was successful as Wilbanks fanned the two batters he face in the frame.

The 4-3 Marist lead would hold, however, as Thomas retired the next six Cartersville batters in order in the sixth and seventh innings.

Gooch (3.1 IP, 3R, 2ER, 5H, 1BB, 5K) left the mound in the fourth inning with no decision. Morris (0.2 IP, 1ER, 3H) suffered the pitching loss with the deciding run in the fifth inning and Wilbanks (1.2 IP, 0R, 1BB, 3K) retired five of the six batters he faced.

Seigler paced the Canes offense by going 3-for-5 with a double, a home run, and five RBI. He also walked twice to reach base in 5-of-7 plate appearances. Warner was 2-for-3 in the first game with a two-run homer and scored twice. Welchel and Wilkie also added two hits in the doubleheader.

Comerford led Marist with a 3-for-6 performance in the two games that included a double, a walk, and two RBI. MacCallum, Abshier, and Hare each contributed two hits and one RBI in the doubleheader.

Cartersville (26-8) and Marist (15-17) will match up again Friday at Richard Bell Field at 5 p.m. The winner will host Spalding in the Class 4A quarterfinals starting Wednesday, May 9.

Spalding swept a second round doubleheader at Cross Creek Thursday night, 13-6 and 5-1. Spalding is the 4-seed from Region 2-AAAA.

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