MILTON — With his former Major League pitching grandfather watching from the stands, Tyler Jarvis pitched a two-hit, 12-strikeout shutout to lead Dacula to a 2-0 win and complete a doubleheader sweep of Milton in the first round of the Class AAAAA state baseball playoffs Friday night.
In the opener, Dacula rallied for seven runs in the top of the seventh to knock off home-standing Milton 9-3 to set up Jarvis’ pitching masterpiece in the nightcap.
But Jarvis also had a great time at the plate, ripping a grand slam in the first game to cap off the seven-run explosion that sent the Falcons flying high into the second game and subsequent sweep of the Eagles.
Dacula (18-10) will move on to meet the winner of Mill Creek-Walton in the second round while Milton, region champs out of 5-AAAAA, closes its season at 18-9.
“We’ve just been on a role lately,” said Dacula head coach John Poitevint. “We just have a lot of confidence and there’s no secret that we had something to prove after we lost to (Milton) back in the fourth game of the season. We got some great pitching tonight and there’s no doubt that we carried momentum from the comeback in the first game into the next one.”
Squandering chance after chance in Game 1, Dacula left nine baserunners through the first six innings and trailed 3-2 heading to the top of the seventh. But a Milton error and a double from Tripp Calhoun led to an RBI single from Steven Williams to plate pinch runner Josh Bullock to tie the game at 3-3.
One batter later, Matt Pogue walked to load the bases. Then Milton committed its second throwing error of the inning on a play at the plate, allowing pinch runner Dylan Schmidt to give the Falcons the lead 4-3.
After Chase Loyd was hit by a pitch to score Williams and make it 5-3, Jarvis came to the plate one hitter later to launch his grand slam deep over the wall in right.
“That felt good to give us such a big boost,” Jarvis said. “We really used that momentum to finish up the first game and then I was really pumped up going out to pitch the second game. We had a lot of confidence after that first game and we used it in the next game.”
The second game was all Jarvis, who threw 104 pitches and blew it past most of the Milton hitters in his complete game. Allowing only the two hits — both singles — and a pair of walks, Jarvis also sat down five Milton batters on called third strikes and had just six balls hit to the outfield.
Offensively, Dacula squeezed out two runs against Milton left-hander Jason Richman, who limited the Falcons to just four hits and struck out five.
But Dacula got a run in the first as Bullock, running for Jarvis, scored on a throwing error and then added a big insurance run in the fourth on an RBI single by Morgan Loyd to score Blake Zierten.
“We play a lot of good baseball in our region (8-AAAAA) and in all of Gwinnett County,” said Poitevint. “I think that really has prepared us to get better as the season has gone along and we’re playing our best baseball at the right time.”