VALDOSTA, Ga. -- Evans High felt like they owed Lowndes senior pitcher Nic Dodson something in Game Two of their best-of-three series Friday night.
With one swing of the bat in the first game and bases juiced in the bottom of the fifth inning, Dodson ripped a 3-2 pitch over the center-field fence to give the Vikings a 7-2 lead, propelling Lowndes to a 7-3 victory.
But in the nightcap, Evans took advantage of Dodson's inability to find the plate, taking advantage of seven walks from the right-hander and two Viking errors to take the second game 14-12 and force a third and deciding game of the best-of-three series at 11 a.m. today.
After the start of the doubleheader was delayed from 5 to 6 p.m. because of heavy rain that saturated Noel George Field on Friday, the two teams wrapped up their two games around 12:30 a.m. today. Now, coach Chris Segraves has to hope his team can rebound from a long day Friday and muster enough pitching and offense to take Lowndes in Game 3.
The Knights jumped on Lowndes early in the second contest and never quit. But they had to fight off a furious Lowndes rally in the top of the seventh to post the victory.
Jamal Jones scratched home the game's first run in the bottom of the first, then B.J. Long's RBI single in the second gave Evans a 3-1 advantage.
Then two errors in the third followed by an RBI double from Kenny Ludlow gave the Knights a commanding 8-1 lead.
After Lowndes tried to crawl back into the game with solo homers from Zane Green and Jason VanNus in the third, Evans padded their lead in the bottom of the fifth with RBI singles from Darren Radcliff and a two-run homer from Justin Bryant.
VanNus then belted a grand slam in the top of the seventh and with Stephen Drew on first, Javon Moran ripped a two-run homer to cut the gap to 14-12. Finally, Game 1 starter Dunham came in to retire the final two batters.
In the first game, Dunham and Lowndes senior left-hander Sammy Watson locked up in a pitcher's duel for the first 4 1/2 innings. But Lowndes took control in the bottom of the fifth.
The Vikings loaded the bases with two outs in the inning, then an RBI single from Zane Green broke the 2-2 deadlock when he hit a deep infield single to shortstop.
That wasn't the bad part. A batter later, Dodson ripped a 3-2, two-out pitch over the left-field fence for a grand slam homer and a 7-2 Lowndes lead.
Seth Yates homered in the sixth inning for Evans, but that was all the Knights would manage the remainder of the contest.
Lowndes took a 1-0 lead in the first inning before Evans used a two-run homer from Mike Jones in the top half of the second to take their first and only lead of the first game at 2-1. That lead was short-lived though as Lowndes tied the game at 2-all in the bottom of the second.
The two schools combined to hit five homers in the first game of the series.
Tim Morse covers Georgia high school sports for The Augusta Chronicle. He can be reached at (706) 823-3216.
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