After the University of West Georgia baseball coach saw his team belt out 15 base knocks in a 14-3 rout of Lynn in the opener Saturday, the Wolves used solid defense, situational hitting and four pitchers to pull out a 3-1 victory in the nightcap for the sweep on a cold, windy day at Cole Field.
“I’m proud of them, man. They just found a way. If you look at the games, we just found a way,” Fite said. “We jumped on them in the first game and then it kind of went south on them with some errors. But the second ball game, if you look at it, we just found a way.”
The Wolves (7-2) have now won four in a row and improved to 5-0 at home on the young season heading into today’s series finale, slated for a 1 p.m. first pitch.
In Saturday’s nightcap, Lynn took the 1-0 advantage in the top of the fourth, getting back-to-back singles from Mike Gonzalez and Paul Stortini to lead off the inning. Following a sacrifice bunt, Jason Matusik delivered an RBI single to bring home the first run of the game. After Fite pulled starter Jonathan Black for Cody Skinner, the junior right-hander got out of a one-out, bases-loaded jam to keep it a one-run game.
Lynn starter Joe Perrotta cruised through the first four innings, allowing just one West Georgia base-runner to reach scoring position when Evan Hester connected on a two-out double in the fourth. He would be stranded when John Mark Rhodes grounded out to short to end the inning.
UWG would finally get to Perrotta in the fifth after Trey Dickson reached on a passed ball on a strikeout and Tyler Landmon laid down a bunt single to put runners on first and second. That set up T.J. Eifert’s two-run double to the right-field corner, putting the Wolves up 2-1. Blake McLemore then tacked on an RBI single to plate Eifert for the 3-1 advantage.
Lynn threatened in the top of the sixth, getting runners on second and third with two outs, but Skinner was able to wiggle out of the jam by inducing a groundout to third base to keep UWG on top.
Sophomore Alex Allen started the seventh inning, but ran into trouble after recording an out to start the frame, yielding back-to-back singles and a hit batsman to load the bases. That prompted Fite to insert Max Aeschlimann, who got a one-hopper to third for a force out at home and then McLemore made a diving snag at first base and flipped the ball to Aeschlimann for the final out of the game.
Skinner (1-1) worked 2.2 innings of shutout relief to earn the win, allowing just one hit and one walk with three strikeouts.
Offensively, UWG only got five hits in the game, but Eifert’s double was the difference.
“It wasn’t like we hit a bunch of doubles. We hit one double and it was with guys at second and third,” Fite said. “And that’s what’s happening for us right now. We’re getting that hit. We’re not getting a lot of hits, but we’re getting that hit.”
UWG actually did get a lot of hits in the opener, overcoming an early 2-0 deficit by getting a single run in the second, two in the third, two in the fourth and then busting the game open with a six-run sixth.
Five different UWG players had multiple-hit efforts, led by McLemore’s 3-for-4 performance, with a double, three runs scored and two RBI. Dylan Coleman (2-for-4, 2 runs), Hester (2-for-4, 2 BB, 2B, 2 runs, 2 RBI), Rhodes (2-for-4, 2 runs, 2 RBI) and Dustin Brantley (2-for-2, BB, run, RBI) also had solid showings at the plate.
The run support proved to be plenty for Game 1 starter Chase Riemer (2-1), who worked eight innings, yielding three runs on eight hits with two walks and seven strikeouts.
The Wolves brave the cold again today as they go for the series sweep and their fifth win in a row.
“[Today] will be a battle. These guys are good. They’re really good in their league. The cold weather is probably affecting them a little bit. It probably affected everybody [Saturday]. But you don’t make any excuses when you lose or think that’s the reason we won because the cold weather. We won [Saturday] because our kids were gutsy, they believed in themselves and they played hard,” Fite said.