Mike Lee predicted on Thursday that should Friday’s tilt with conference foe USC-Beaufort come down to hitting, the Night Hawks would come out on top.
As was the case in the 14-11 thriller that featured a combined 35 hits and five lead changes.
“We figured that’s what was going to be the case going in,” Lee said. “They swing it well, too. It’s just that our counted for a few more.”
Friday’s game, however, started much like last weekend’s blowout losses to Embry-Riddle.
The Night Hawks reached base on an error on the first pitch of the game, later reached third base, then couldn’t score. The Sandsharks utilized the momentum and poured four runs on in the first.
Thomas responded with a pair of runs in the third and fourth innings to tie the game, then took the lead in the fifth with a score on a sacrifice fly from catcher Andrew Crane.
Beaufort bounced back in the bottom of the inning with a bases loaded single to bring home two.
It was all tied up at the end of nine, then Thomas padded four in the tenth to secure the win.
Chris Kitlas doubled, moved to second on a sacrifice bunt, then later scored on a catcher’s interference.
“The biggest thing for us today was the bottom part of our lineup,” Lee said while noting he tweaked the starting order before the game. “The bottom four, none of them were hitting over .250 but today they had some big hits, took some walks and drove in some runs.”
No. 1 ace Kurt Gens threw Thomas season high 123 pitches on Friday – yet didn’t throw the complete game.
Stud reliever John Gainey tossed 3.2 innings, and allowed an uncharacteristic six hits and three runs.
“It was good enough,” Lee said of his team’s performance from the mound. “You don’t beat around guys like gens and gainey, and they did. ... It was just one of those days where everyone was seeing the ball well and hitting for both teams. You’d like to limit that more, but these are two strong offenses.”