CARROLLTON, Ga. - Pitching paved the way for a series win to open Gulf South Conference play this weekend, as the West Georgia Wolves swept Saturday's doubleheader at Cole Field, winning 5-3 in the first game and 8-1 in the nightcap to win the series over the Shorter Hawks.
Head coach Skip Fite needed just three pitchers on Saturday, as starters Ryan Parker and Cason Greathouse combined for 14.1 innings against the Hawks in the two games, with junior Sawyer Steele finishing out Game 1 on the day for the save.
Following a game where both teams opened the Gulf South Conference schedule with an offensive explosion, Game 2 of the series was the exact opposite for the first seven innings, as UWG starter Ryan Parker and Shorter starter Banks Woodley went head-to-head. Both teams put a run on the board in the first, and things looked early like a return to the offensive explosion.
After a Shorter home run in the first, Brady Barnes was hit by a pitch with one out in the bottom of the first. Senior first baseman Logan Taylor then doubled home Barnes to tie the contest. Shorter added two in the third inning, only to have West Georgia add one more in the bottom of the third. It didn't take long in that frame, as Cade Marlowe led off the inning with a walk, then stole second. Barnes singled, pulling the Wolves to within one at 3-2.
That was where the score would stay until the bottom of the seventh. Sophomore shortstop Joseph Hill opened the rally with a single, then senior right fielder Nick Poskey blasted an opposite-field home run to right field to give the Wolves a 4-3 advantage, the first lead of the weekend for the Wolves.
In the top of the eighth, the Wolves picked up a huge defensive play, as Fite went to his bullpen to bring in Sawyer Steele with runners on second and third with one out and Shorter's Kaleeq Brannigan up. Brannigan lined out to Tucker Breen at second and Breen won the race to second base to double-off the Hawk runner and end the threat.
In the ninth, Steele sat the Hawks down in order to pick up his first save of the season. Parker gets the win, working 7.1 innings, scattering 10 hits and allowing just three runs. The Wolves had six hits in the game, with no player picking up more than one hit.
Greathouse was superb in his Gulf South Conference debut Saturday, tossing a complete-game two-hitter to lead the Wolves to an 8-1 victory over a team that began the series with 19 runs on 20 hits against the Wolves. Greathouse went the distance in the seven-inning game, allowing a run on two hits while striking out six. He was perfect through 4.2 innings, allowing the first hit of the day in the fifth inning, a double by Brannigan.
The offense was solid for Greathouse in the final game of the series, as the Wolves pounded out eight runs on 10 hits against the Shorter pitching. Marlowe led the way, going 3-for-3 with two runs scored, and it was Marlowe who got things going in the bottom of the first.
After Greathouse sat down the Hawks in order in the top of the first, Marlowe beat out a slow roller to shortstop, then took second on an errant throw. Barnes then bunted Marlowe to third and Taylor singled to bring home the first run of the game. Drew Haywood singled in the inning as well, scoring Taylor and giving Greathouse a two-run cushion.
Poskey made it 3-0 in the bottom of the second with his second home run of the day and the Wolves were off and running. The score stayed at 3-0 until the fifth when Marlowe started a rally again, this time with a bunt single. After the Wolves loaded the bases, redshirt freshman Joe Skinner belted a single through the left side, scoring two for a 5-0 lead. Joseph Hill singled later in the inning for another run and Poskey picked up his second RBI of the day with a sacrifice fly to make it a commanding 7-0 advantage.
Barnes drove in the final run of the game for the Wolves in the bottom of the sixth, scoring Tucker Breen after Breen doubled to lead off the inning. The only other hit of the game for Shorter came in the top of the seventh, as Samyr Santos homered to center field for the final score of the weekend.
The win moves West Georgia to 4-7 on the year and 2-1 against GSC competition, while Shorter falls to 6-4 overall and 1-2 in the league. UWG will be back in action on Wednesday afternoon, taking on the Columbus State Cougars at Cole Field.