March 23, 2010
Rome, Ga. - Shorter College scored seven runs in a marathon fourth inning to take the lead and then withstood a late charge from visiting Tennessee Wesleyan College to take a 12-10 victory in game two of Tuesday's non-conference baseball double header at the Robert H. Ledbetter Baseball Complex.
The game two triumph allowed the Hawks to salvage a split with the Bulldogs, who are ranked No. 11 in the NAIA Top 25 Coaches Poll. Tennessee Wesleyan won the opener, 4-2.
In the second contest, Shorter (13-18) spotted Tennessee Wesleyan six runs before its bats came to life in the bottom of the second.
After the Hawks' Matt Johnson and Shannon Houston led off the frame with a single and a double, respectively, David Anderson drew a walk to load the bases with no outs. An Adam Pilate single to right center plated Johnson and Houston and Anderson came home one batter later on a throwing error as a result of a bunt from Blake Chapman.
Clint Harkins followed with a two-run double to right center that trimmed the Bulldogs' lead to 6-5.
Down 7-5 in the fourth, Shorter again pieced together a rally, this time getting an RBI each from Joey Taylor and Johnson to knot the game at 7-all. Houston and Anderson hit back-to-back RBI singles to stake Shorter its first lead at 9-7 and the Hawks posted three more runs courtesy of a Chapman RBI single and a pair of runs off of errors to take a 12-7 lead after four complete.
Tennessee Wesleyan (21-9) crawled back to within 12-9 on a two-run triple from Jonathon Smith in the top of the sixth, but a crucial 4-6-3 double play later in the inning limited the damage in the frame and Shorter's Tim Day sat the Bulldogs down in order in the seventh as the Hawks ended a four game slide.
Garrett Burgess earned the win on the mound for the Hawks in the nightcap after tossing 5.0 innings of relief and surrendering three runs on seven hits. Day claimed the save. Johnson, Houston and Chapman each recorded two hits for Shorter with Harkins and Pilate driving in two apiece.
In game one, Shorter got a strong starting performance from hurler Brick Carter, but Tennessee Wesleyan starter Hamilton Bennett held the Hawks to four hits over his 5.1 innings pitched as the Bulldogs snuck by with a 4-2 win.
Carter went 4.0 innings and struck out six. He yielded two earned runs on four hits and walked just one, but the Hawks were cold at the plate for much of the contest, going hitless through the first three innings.
Shorter finally broke through in the sixth while trailing 4-0. Matt Johnson singled to left with the bases juiced to score Clint Harkins and Shannon Houston was hit by a pitch in his next at-bat to plate Joey Taylor and cut the deficit to 4-2.
Johnson and Harkins went 2-for-3 in the opener to pace Shorter offensively.
The Hawks return to action on Friday, March 26 when they travel to Marietta, Ga., to take on Southern States Athletic Conference foe and No. 4-ranked Southern Polytechnic State University. Friday's contest is set to begin at 2 p.m. and the teams will conclude their three-game series with a double header on Saturday beginning at 1 p.m.