Day's Game 2 gem helps Shorter earn Saturday split against No. 4 Southern Poly
Marietta, Ga. - Shorter College junior Tim Day tossed a complete game gem as the Hawks dealt No. 4-ranked Southern Polytechnic State University its first Southern States Athletic Conference loss of the season and first defeat in its last 13 outings with an 8-3 victory in game two of a Saturday doubleheader.
Poly took game one, 8-1, to salvage the second-day split.
In the nightcap, Day scattered eight hits and surrendered just three earned runs to the Hornets (33-3, 8-1 SSAC) and clawed his way out of a two-out, bases loaded jam in the bottom of the seventh as Shorter (14-20, 6-6 SSAC) improved to .500 in the league and maintained its fifth-place standing in a conference that features three teams ranked in the NAIA Top 25 Poll.
Shorter, which managed five runs over the first two games of the weekend series, saw its bats come to life in Saturday's second game. The Hornets led 2-0 after three innings, but in the top of the fourth, Shorter scored once on a balk and used RBI singles from Kurtis Robinson and Garrett Burgess to take a 3-2 lead.
The Hawks, who pounded out 10 hits in the game against a highly touted Hornets' pitching staff, tacked on another run in the fifth for a 4-2 edge before striking the knockout blows in the top of the seventh.
Joey Taylor's RBI bunt-single in the seventh ignited a game-clinching rally, as Matt Johnson tagged a two-run single and Burgess an RBI base hit to give Shorter its largest lead of the game, 8-2, after six-and-a-half complete.
Day sealed the win with a gutsy performance in the bottom half of the frame, forcing a groundout from Poly's No. 3 hitter, Josh Grooms, with the bases loaded and two away to complete his monster outing and snap Poly's 13-game winning streak and undefeated mark in SSAC play.
Burgess, Robinson and Taylor each contributed two hits for the Hawks in the nightcap, with Burgess and Robinson adding a pair of RBI apiece. Day (4-2) threw 120 pitches - 77 for strikes - and walked just two while striking out a pair.
In game one, Robinson recorded an RBI groundout to give the Hawks a 1-0 lead in the top of the first, but Southern Poly responded with three runs each in the bottom of the first and second inning to grab control.
The Hornets got RBI singles from Josh Grooms and Mason Heller and Andrew Root scored on a wild pitch to go ahead 3-1 after one inning complete and Jono Waugh put the hosts up 6-1 with a three-run homer in the second. Heller later added an RBI double to account for the final 8-1 margin.
Southern Poly hurler Tucker Stone turned in a complete game in which he allowed four hits, struck out five and walked none. Shorter's Brick Carter settled down after the first two innings and yielded just two runs in the final four innings to the potent Hornets' lineup, but still took the loss despite fanning five of his own.
Joseph Brooks, Harkins and Taylor each went 1-for-3 and Scott Morris 1-for-2 for the Hawks, who return to the diamond on Monday, March 29 when they travel to Tennessee Temple University for a doubleheader beginning at 3 p.m.