Thomasville Times Enterprise

Local Sports

March 13, 2014

Night Hawks look to rebound from sweep

THOMASVILLE —

The Thomas baseball team looks to shake of the rust from last weekend’s headaching sweep to Embry-Riddle when it heads to USC-Beaufort for a weekend series between conference foes.

The Night Hawks fell from first to a tie for third in the Sun Conference standings following the three losses, but still have five weekends to regroup and qualify for the postseason tournament.

“We can’t let the first weekend in March define who we are,” TU coach Mike Lee said. “We can’t stay upset about getting swept by a good baseball team. I don’t think we’re a 13-12 team, but we played like one [through the first month].”

The benefit of downing the first five weeks of the season, Lee said, is that Thomas can focus solely on conference play for most of the remaining slate. The Night Hawks didn’t play during the midst of the week, and utilized the time to slow pace and get healthy.

Lee noted that no players are suffering any affliction that could plague their playing time, but a few guys had “soreness and nagging injuries that required some much needed rest.”

“Nobody is going to be out of the lineup, there were just a few cases of guys that needed some treatment and sleep in their own bed.”

When asked how the Night Hawks matched up with the Sandsharks, Lee gauged that both teams will present plenty of plate opportunities. The team whose hitters are patient will likely come out on top.

“We want to get to the ‘pen as quick as possible,” Lee said. “Doing that means taking pitches and not jumping early. If we leave their starter in for seven or eight innings, it’ll probably be a close ballgame. If it’s a high scoring game, I like our hitters.

Lee will send his standard rotation of Kurt Gens, Ben Overman and Evan Morgan to the mound in Games 1 to 3, respectively, with expectations to call the reliable John Gainey and Justin Hicks from the bullpen.

First pitch on Friday is slated for 3 p.m., and Saturday’s doubleheader will begin at noon.

“We’re starting to think about the conference tournament, and this weekend can certainly help us get there,” Lee said.

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