10-run explosion key to Rockdale's 14-4 win

CONYERS - Rockdale Post 77 and the Gainesville A's went run-for-run through seven innings until a 10-run eighth inning gave Rockdale (2-1) a 14-4 win Thursday at Henson-Carr Legion Field.

"We just finally got some breaks and just kept on scoring. Baseball's funny, you just get on a roll and everything works out," Rockdale manager Jack Murphy said. "We're working through it. I've said all along that we're a work in progress, but this was good."

Joseph Lester's aggressive base running, stealing second and third base and scoring on a wild pitch, got things going as Rockdale opened the floodgates in the eighth.

Chris Boyd drove in a run before Jo Jo Bonet and Alan Futch each brought in two more base runners with two outs to make it 10-4.

Rockdale scored two more runs on an error before Boyd drove in Jeremy Riehn and scored the game-ending run on a J.C. Dunagan single.

Rockdale had seven hits in the eighth inning, equaling the amount they had through seven innings, as it sent 13 batters to the plate.

"Once everyone starts hitting, it's contagious," Murphy said. "I always thought pitching was going to be our strength all along and then the hitting would come along."

While pitching was solid for Post 77, errors played a big part in keeping Gainesville in the game.

Three of the A's four runs were results of errors.

Errors could have cost Rockdale more runs in the first inning if not for Nathan Fawbush's pitching.

Gainesville had runners on first and third base in the top of the first, both because of errors, before Fawbush got Bucky Free to hit the ball back to the pitchers mound for the easy out.

Gainesville scored an unearned run in the third to tie the game at 2.

The A's added runs in third and fifth innings as a result of bobbled singles. If the ball had been fielded cleanly both times, the runners would not have been able to advance.

"For seven innings it was tight. If we play error-free baseball, we're OK," Murphy said.

Pacing Rockdale in the game with two hits each were Marcus Smith, Dunagan, Fawbush, Bonet and Boyd.

Of Post 77's 14 hits, four went for extra bases with Fawbush hitting a triple and Futch, Riehn and Boyd going for two-baggers.

Stevenson got the win pitching one inning where he had one strikeout.

Also pitching for Rockdale were Fawbush (four strikeouts, one walk, two hits), Dickerson (four strikeouts, three hits) and Futch (two strikeouts, one walk, two hits).

"Our pitching is good, we're good with pitching. Josh got in and finished the last inning and we were going to let him finish up the game," Murphy said. "I'm pleased right now. Gainesville was last year's state champ and went to the Southeast regional, and I heard they were a strong team."

Manny Fils can be reached at manny.fils@newtoncitizen.com.