ROME, Ga. -- Berry College pitchers TJ Montgomery and Ben Jernigan combined on a one-hit shutout as the host Vikings dealt the Bates baseball team a 6-0 defeat in the Bobcats' season opener on Tuesday.
Montgomery allowed only one hit and one walk in his six innings of work, and struck out six batters. Jernigan picked things up aptly in the seventh inning, throwing three perfect innings while striking out four.
Berry (3-3) gave Montgomery and Jernigan all the run support they needed with four runs in the fourth inning, all charged to Bates senior captain Mike Antonellis (Sudbury, Mass.), who started the inning in relief of junior starter Tom Baroni (Mount Kisco, N.Y.), three of them earned. Zach Farmer, Doug Heath and Ryan Smith loaded the bases with no outs on a single, walk and single, respectively. Will Heard plated Farmer on a groundout, before Austin Neely's triple to right field sent Heath and Smith home for a 3-0 lead. Neely scored a fourth run on a Bates error.
Bates (0-1) junior Steve Burke (Bedford, N.H.) led off the fifth with a single to center field, breaking up Montgomery's perfect game to that point. Montgomery then walked Bates senior captain Kevin McGregor (Randolph, N.J.), and junior catcher Jeff Gunn (Lilburn, Ga.) moved the runners over with a sacrifice bunt, but Burke was thrown out at home on a fielder's choice grounder to third base by first-year Conor Reenstierna (Lincoln, Mass.), and the rally fizzed out with first-year Samuel Warren's (Norfolk, Va.) grounder to second.
Baroni threw a shutout fifth inning before giving way to first-year reliever Chris Ward (Pasadena, Calif.). Ward went two innings and allowed one unearned run on two hits with one strikeout. Berry added a sixth run off of Bates senior captain Mike Spinosa (Charlottesville, Va.) in the eighth.
The Bobcats and Vikings will go at it again on Wednesday with a doubleheader beginning at 2pm (Live Stats).