CONYERS - Buck Farmer's three-run home run in the bottom of the sixth inning was the deciding factor in the Bulldogs' 4-1 win over Habersham Central on Thursday.
Both teams scored a run in the first inning before posting goose eggs over the next four innings.
But with two outs in the bottom of the sixth, the Rockdale rally began.
Mitchell Framer smacked a two-out double and Rashad Ferrell walked, setting the stage for Buck Farmer's three-run blast over the center field fence.
"You can't put something like that into words," Rockdale coach Casey Martin said. "That was big. I can't believe they pitched to him. I thought for sure they would put him on. Fortunately for us, they pitched to him and he was able to make something of it."
The key for the Bulldogs was getting out of jams.
Habersham Central stranded nine runners on base in the game, seven of which were stranded in scoring position.
Martin gave credit to his pitchers and the defense played behind them.
"Kevin Masters did a great job," Martin said. "He struggled a little at the beginning, but he made the adjustments he needed to make."
Masters started the game on the mound for Rockdale. He pitched six innings, scattered six hits and allowed just one earned run. Masters also walked three and struck out five. Buck Farmer came in to close it out in the seventh. He gave up a two-out triple before fanning the last batter to clinch the win.
Habersham Central first got on the board in the top of the first inning off an RBI single by Grier Rogers that plated Kyle Bennett.
Rockdale answered with a run in the bottom half of the inning off an RBI single by Kevin Dawkins that plated Ryan Conner.
Masters and Habersham pitcher Seth Harvey, both left-handers, then combined for 51/2 scoreless innings of baseball. Rockdale stranded seven runners on base and three in scoring position over the first five innings of play. Harvey took the loss after allowing four earned runs on five hits in six innings of work.
With the win, Rockdale continued to climb the region ladder. The Bulldogs are now 8-7 in Region 8-AAAA with another home matchup today against Clarke Central.
Brandon Evans can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.