LAGRANGE — Flowery Branch earned a split with LaGrange in the two teams’ Class 4A second round playoff series on Tuesday.
The Grangers (26-8) took Game 1, 6-2, while the Falcons (21-11) avoided elimination with a 6-3 victory in the second game.
A deciding Game 3 is set for 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday in LaGrange.
Facing elimination, Branch got a solid outing on the mound from Jake Beaver and Ethan Mieldezis in Game 2. Beaver went five innings allowing three runs on five hits while striking out eight to get the win. Mieldezis retired six of the seven batters he faced over the final two innings to get the save.
Already up 1-0 in the series, the Grangers got a pair of runs on a RBI single from Colton Esposito in the top of the first. But the Falcons answered right back getting RBI singles from Beaver and Kaden Smallwood and got the go-ahead run on a wild pitch.
Branch added a run in the second on a sacrifice fly from Nick Linkowski for a 4-2 lead. LaGrange pulled within 4-3 on a run in the fourth but the Falcons extended the lead to 6-3 on a RBI triple from Riley Mitchell in the fourth and a RBI triple from Smallwood in the fifth.
From there, Mieldezis shut the door on the Grangers offense to send it to Game 3.
In Game 1, LaGrange scored five runs in the bottom of the sixth to rally for the win.
Branch started strong getting a two-run double from Mason Compton in the first inning for a 2-0 lead. But they could not get anymore against Grangers starter Trey Cook.
Compton, who started for the Falcons, lasted into the sixth inning allowing just a second-inning run. He ran into trouble in the sixth after getting two quick outs as LaGrange was able to put a decisive inning together.
Flowery Branch got the tying run to the on-deck circle but could cash in with a pair of runners on base in the seventh.
2nd ROUND BASEBALL PLAYOFF SCORES
(All series are best-of-3 at home of higher seed)
TUESDAY, MAY 3
Buford 7-14, Glynn Academy 3-0 (Buford wins series 2-0)
Flowery Branch 2-6, LaGrange 6-3 (Series tied 1-1)
WEDNESDAY, MAY 4
Flowery Branch (R8, S2) at LaGrange (R2, S1) (Game 3), 5:30 p.m.
Appling County (R1, S2) at North Hall (R7, S1) (DH), 4:30 p.m.
Cherokee Bluff (R7, S2) at Pierce County (R1, S1) (DH), 4:30 p.m.
Banks County (R8, S2) at Vidalia (R2, S1), (DH), 4 p.m.
Class A Public
Irwin County (R2, S2) at Commerce (R8, S1) (DH), 4 p.m.