Farmer strikes out 22, but Bulldogs fall 3-2

CONYERS - Buck Farmer dominated the Dacula lineup, recording a career-high 22 strikeouts, but he wasn't around for the decision as Dacula defeated Rockdale 3-2 in 13 innings.

Dacula scored the winning run on a walk in the 13th. With the bases loaded, Mitchell Farmer, who came in on relief for his brother in the 10th inning, was unable to get the final out in the inning, giving up the deciding free pass.

But the pitching was hardly to blame as Rockdale (2-2 overall, 1-2 in Region 8-AAAA) struck out 17 times and left 17 runners on base.

Neither team was able to get any offense going as pitching was the story for both sides.

Buck Farmer kept the Falcons off balance early on with his overpowering fastball and gave up only one hit over the first six innings.

Marshall Steed took an 0-1 pitch over the left-field fence in the third inning to give the Falcons a one-run lead, but Rockdale answered with two of its own in the bottom of the inning.

Kevin Dawkins drove in a run with a single up the middle and the Bulldogs took the lead after a throwing error allowed the second run of the inning to cross the plate.

Farmer struck out 10 straight batters after the Steed home run, but Dacula managed to push over a run in the top of the seventh inning. After a single and a passed ball, Jessie Baker doubled in the gap to plate the tying run for Dacula.

Farmer went two more innings before being pulled and replaced by his brother Mitch.

Mitch Farmer came on and picked up where his brother left off, fanning 11 batters in four innings of work.

But as hot as the Farmer brothers were on the mound, the Bulldog bats were silent.

Rockdale loaded the basses in the bottom of the ninth inning, but was unable to capitalize after a strikeout and a fielder's choice killed the rally.

The Bulldogs again had a chance to end the game in the 12th, but they stranded runners at second and third.

In fact, Rockdale had seven hits over the first 13 innings while Dacula had only five.

Rockdale had one more shot in the bottom of the 13th inning. After Rashaud Ferrell reached on an error, Nakeem Forte moved him to third with a double down the left-field line. But again the Bulldogs failed to capitalize as they left the bases loaded to end the game.

While Rockdale coach Casey Martin knew his team suffered a heartbreaking lost, he felt good about his pitchers and the overall play of his team.

"We have nothing to hang our heads about," Martin said. "We just left too many people on base. They took the bat out of Buck's hand and when we did hit the ball, it seemed like we hit it right at somebody. It's just one of those things. A hit here or there and we win the game."

Dawkins went 2-for-7 with an RBI, while Ferrell also had two hits for the Bulldogs.