April 23, 2010
Montgomery, Ala. - Matt Johnson, Shannon Houston and Joseph Brooks combined to go 7-for-12 with six RBI to lead Shorter College to a 10-6 upset of No. 16-ranked Faulkner University in game two of a Southern States Athletic Conference doubleheader on Friday afternoon.
The Eagles (38-17, 14-7 SSAC) got a walk off homer from Michael Clayton in the bottom of the ninth to take game one 6-5 and salvage a Saturday split with Shorter (23-30, 8-13 SSAC).
In the nightcap, Johnson hit RBI doubles in the first and third to help Shorter jump out to a 3-1 lead. Shorter's leading hitter finished 3-for-4 with two RBI in game two.
Houston added an RBI single in the third and fifth and Brooks extended the Hawks' advantage to 6-3 with a two-run homer to cap a three-run fifth frame. It was Brooks' first home run of the season as both he and Houston finished 2-for-4 with two RBI in the day's second match up.
Starter Tim Day surrendered three runs in the bottom of the seventh, but the seven run cushion entering Faulkner's final at-bat proved too much, as Shorter ended an eight-game slide with a win in its final regular season contest.
Day improved to 7-3 on the year and went all seven innings, allowing five earned runs on seven hits while striking out five. The junior has beaten Southern Poly, Lee and now Faulkner this season, all teams ranked in the NAIA Top 25 Coaches Poll.
Shorter outhit the Eagles 11-7 in the nightcap.
In game one, Clayton's solo shot to left off Hawks' reliever Garrett Burgess was the difference as Faulkner staved off an upset bid from the Hawks.
Shorter scored twice in the top of the seventh and got a timely two-out pickoff from Burgess with a man in scoring position in the bottom of the seventh to force bonus baseball.
Trailing 5-3 heading into their final at-bat, the Hawks' Blake Chapman scored when a throw trying to nab a stealing Clint Harkins sailed by second base to draw Shorter to within 5-4. Kurtis Robinson followed with a sacrifice fly that scored Harkins to knot the game at 5-all.
But the Hawks were sat down in order in the top of the eighth and couldn't capitalize on advancing a runner to second base in the top of the ninth. Clayton led off the bottom of the ninth for the Eagles and looked at a strike from Burgess before taking his next pitch deep over the wall in left for the win.
Shorter matched the Eagles stride for stride throughout game one, even taking a 3-1 lead in the third when Robinson's fielder's choice plated Morris and allowed Harkins to score on a wild throw.
Faulkner, which hit four home runs in the opener, answered back to take a 4-3 lead in its half of the fourth on a Justin Maynard two-run blast and a Ronald Tarvin sacrifice fly.
Morris led the Hawks offensively in game one, going 3-for-4 with a run scored. Robinson drove in three runs for Shorter despite going 0-for-3 at the dish.
Brick Carter started on the mound and turned in 6.2 innings while yielding five earned runs on nine hits and striking out six.
Shorter will take the No. 6 seed heading into next week's SSAC Tournament in Columbus, Ga., which begins on Thursday, April 29.