ATLANTA — Flowery Branch proved that good pitching will (always?) beat good hitting.
The Falcons held high-scoring Riverwood to just three total tuns in taking a surprising 4-0 and 5-3 two-game sweep in the two teams' Class AAAAA first round baseball series.
Flowery Branch (18-11) got solid pitching performances from starters Preston Felt and Zander Sechrist and reliever Andrew Armstrong, who recorded two saves.
The Falcons came in as the No. 3 seed against the No. 2-seeded Raiders, who were fifth in Class AAAAA in scoring. Flowery Branch was ninth in pitching in runs allowed.
In Game 1, Felt earned the win scattering four hits and striking out one in five innings. Armstrong recorded the last six outs to earn the save.
Brett Thomas took the loss for Riverwood tossing 5 2/3 innings, surrendering three runs on eight hits and striking out four.
Anthony Grutadaurio went 2-for-3 with two RBI to lead the Falcons offense. Flowery Branch scored two runs in the second and added single runs in the sixth and seventh to pull away.
In Game 2, freshman Zander Sechrist earned the win going six innings giving up three runs on five hits and fanned seven. Armstrong again came on pitching a perfect seventh to earn his second save of the series.
Flowery Branch battled back from two deficits. The Falcons fell behind 1-0 in the third but scored twice in the bottom of the inning for a 2-1 lead. The Raiders reclaimed the lead 3-2 in the fifth but the Falcons again answered with three runs in the bottom of the fifth to retake the lead for good.
Trace Merck, Cam Holmes, and Dalton Strickland each collected one hit for Flowery Branch.
The road will not get any easier for the Falcons. They will travel to take on 2016 Class AAAA state champion Locus Grove next week in the second round