SUWANEE -- North Gwinnett showed some grit and determination after getting blown out in Game 1 of its best-of-three first-round series of the Class AAAAAA state baseball playoffs at Lambert.
But it wasn't enough as Lambert pulled out a 5-3 win in nine innings in Game 2 over North to eliminate the Bulldogs.
Lambert took the opening game 9-2 thanks primarily to a five-run first inning.
Tied at 3-3 after eight innings in Game 2, Lambert got an opposite-field solo homer from freshman leadoff batter Tucker Maxwell to break the tie in the top of the ninth.
Lambert (19-8) added an insurance run in the inning on Eric Furphy's sacrifice fly to score Jeremy Johnson to make it 5-3.
In the bottom of the ninth, North went quietly as the Bulldogs could only manage a two-out walk.
Danny Edgeworth came in relief of starter Dylan Biumi and picked up the win with 4 innings of work, while Haynes took the tough loss for North, coming on in relief of Bullldogs' starter Jordan Brown in the sixth.
Lambert had taken a 2-0 lead thanks to a Furphy solo homer in the second and Ian Kimbrell's RBI single to score Johnson in the third.
But North battled back with two runs in the bottom of the third to tie it at 2-2 on Justin Moran's groundout to score Michael Haynes and Blake Sangster's RBI double to plate Cody Short.
Lambert regained a 3-2 lead in the fifth on Kimbrell's RBI double that chased home Edgeworth.
But, once again, North continued to fight and tied the contest at 3-3 when Devin Mitchell scored on Haynes' run-scoring single in the bottom of the sixth.
Haynes finished 2-for-3 with an RBI and a walk to lead the North offense.
Both teams had plenty of opportunities to win in the next two innings before Lambert struck for two in the ninth.
North's season ends at 15-13 as the Bulldogs dropped their final seven games, including the last five regular season games.
Of North's 13 losses, 12 came by three runs or less -- including eight by one run. Only the seven-run loss in Game 1 came by more than three runs.
"I'm very proud of the way our guys fought tonight," said North head coach Frank Vashaw. "We've had some trouble scoring runs the last couple of weeks and we sure didn't see that offense from (Lambert) coming. But they're a good team and had some good at-bats.
"But I knew we were having trouble getting some runs late in the season and maybe did some things that we don't normally do by taking some risks. But we've been to the playoffs eight straight years and I know this program will continue to be solid and represent our school well."
Lambert took control early in Game 1 as the Longhorns sent nine batters to the plate and put five runs on the scoreboard in the bottom of the first inning.
Brock Maxwell had an RBI single to get it started for Lambert, but it was Trey Logan's two-out RBI single to score Maxwell and Kimbrell that made it 5-0 and broke it open for the Longhorns.
Lambert added a single run in the second when Maxwell had an RBI triple to chase home Edgeworth that made it 6-0.
North finally got on the board in the top of the fourth when Ben Carswell reached on a double and pinch runner Robson Evans came around to score on Brady Powell's fielder's choice to make it 6-1.
But Lambert answered with a three-spot in the bottom of the inning on Furphy's two-out bases-loaded double to score Johnson, Brock Maxwell and Kimbrell that pushed the advantage to 9-1.
Brock Maxwell led Lambert by going 2-for-3 with a walk, two RBI and two runs scored while Trey Maxwell, Edgeworth and Logan added two hits each.
North would get one more run in the top of the seventh when Mitchell scored on an error to complete the scoring and the 9-2 Lambert win.
Lambert finished with 11 hits while North could manage just four against Longhorns' right-hander Joe Vonderschmidt.
Staked to the early five-run lead, Vonderschmidt held North in check and allowed just one earned run while striking out three in the complete-game performance.
Tucker Baca took the loss on the mound for North.