Bombers Down 0-2 In SAL Championship

An error by pitcher Brian Walker allowed Hickory designated hitter Anthony Bocchino to score the eventual game winning run in the top of the sixth inning to give Hickory a 5-4 victory in Game Two of the South Atlantic Championship and a 2-0 lead in the best of five series as it heads back to Hickory for Game Three on Thursday.

Down 3-2 heading into the top of the sixth inning, Hickory 2B Craig Stansberry led off the inning with a double off of Capital City starter Matthew Lindstrom. Anthony Bocchino promptly chased Lindstrom out of the game with an RBI double of his own, giving Hickory a 4-2 lead with no outs in the sixth inning. Brian Walker relieved Lindstrom and was able to get two outs in between loading the bases on a walk and a single. With two outs, Bocchino scored the eventual game winning run on an error by Walker.

For the second straight game, Hickory was able to get on the board first. Hickory left fielder Adam Boeve drove home leadoff hitter Nyjer Morgan, who led off the game with a single, with the game's first run.

Capital City immediately responded in the bottom of the first inning when Lastings Milledge singled, stole second to put the tying run at second base with no outs, and advanced to third when he tagged up on a Wilson Batista fly out. RF Jamar Hill drove home Milledge with a two-run home run to give the Bombers' a 2-1 lead. Hill, who was fifth in the South Atlantic League this season with 26 home runs, hit his second of the postseason.

In the top of the third inning Hickory first baseman Jon Benick, as he did 32 other times during the regular season, homered. Benick's two-run shot drove home Mike Cockrell and gave Hickory a 3-2 lead before plating two more runs in the top of the fifth inning.

Andrew Wilson's two-run double in the bottom of the sixth inning cut the Hickory lead to 5-4 when Jamar Hill and Ryan Harvey scored after both being hit by pitches earlier in the inning. Wilson, who went 3-4 in the loss, had a single in the bottom of the ninth as he collected the final two Bombers' hits in the game. In fact, after cutting the lead to 5-4, the Bombers only had two more base runners the rest of the way.

Now the best-of-five series shifts to Hickory as the Bombers lost their pivotal two games at home, which not only is the final home game of the 2004 season, but could be the final game the Bombers played at home representing the Mets' organization. The series resumes Thursday night as the Hickory Crawdads (Pirates) will look for the three-game sweep.

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