MACON — The Darlington offense experienced both a famine and a feast on Wednesday.
After being limited to two hits in a six-inning, 10-0 loss to First Presbyterian Day in Game 1 of Wednesday’s doubleheader, Darlington came back to light up the offense in a 7-3 season-saving win in Game 2.
The victory in the second game enabled Darlington to serve First Presbyterian Day with only its second loss of the season, and to tie the Class A Private School best-of-three series at one game apiece.
The decisive Game 3 of the series will be today at 3 p.m. at First Presbyterian Day.
Darlington coach Kent Harrison said after suffering through the Game 1 loss that his team saw winning Game 2 as a challenge they were ready to take on.
“We knew we would have a battle on our hands,” he said. “It’s the Elite Eight — you’re not going to run into a bad team.”
That was proven when the Vikings scored five runs in the first four innings in Game 1 and then surged to a 10-0 advantage in the fifth and sixth innings to end the game on the run rule.
“We were kind of surprised at how well (FPD) swung the bats in the first game, but for our guys it was a challenge,” said Harrison. “It was a gut check, and they responded just the way we wanted them to.
“Of course, it never hurts when (Burton) Dulaney is on the mound,” Harrison added.
After the explosive Game 1 hitting performance by the Vikings, Dulaney took the mound in Game 2 to notch 11 strikeouts.
He gave up four hits and three runs, two being unearned on an error in the sixth.
“(Dulaney) is a sophomore that’s beyond his years,” said Harrison. “It seems like when the game is on the line and our backs are against the wall, he’s at his best.
“He’s the perfect Game 2 pitcher, and he put us right at the situation that we like (today).”
The Tigers made sure to keep it rolling from the plate as well.
The second inning saw Darlington’s bat around, with David Grindstaff, Brad Butler and Breck Tillery each collecting an RBI in the inning.
Miles Bearden and Drake Frix also had a hit in the inning with Logan Rice and Burton Dulaney getting on base with walks.
The Tigers surged for three more runs in the fourth and one more in the sixth, while relying on a sharp defense to secure the 7-3 win.
Grindstaff and Dulaney each went 3-for-4 in the win. Butler collected three RBIs with two walks and a sacrifice fly.
Tillery and Bearden both went 2-for-4.
In the first game, Logan Rice pitched four innings, and Robert Muschamp pitched the last two innings, each giving up five runs.
Bearden and Dulaney each had a hit.
With a deep pitching staff and a little bit of confidence, Harrison said his team is ready to “take care of business” in Game 3 in order to advance to the third round.
“One game away from the Final Four is no small feat,” he said, “but we feel confident.
“We only threw three arms (Wednesday) which means we have six more for (today), so the next man’s up, and they’ll be ready.”