By Caleb Bailey, Staff Writer
The Armstrong Pirates baseball team entered into the weekend having lost their last two games to Francis Marion last weekend.
They looked to bounce back from the losses and did so in a big way with a sweep of the Georgia Southwestern Hurricanes in a Peach Belt Conference series.
“We are playing our best baseball when we are making plays behind our pitchers,” junior Cody Sherlin said, “Our pitchers are doing a phenomenal job of keeping us in the ball game and we hitters are doing our best to put pressure on the opposing team’s defense to manufacture as many runs as possible.”
Sherlin was huge for the Pirates in game one on Feb 27 when he went 3-4 with four RBIs in the contest as the Pirates went on to a 9-1 victory. The Pirates also got big runs off the bats of juniors Jerad Curry and JT Phillips.
Junior Corey Kafka picked up his third win of the season with eight strikeouts and only one earned run in six innings of work to improve to 3-1 on the season.
Feb. 28, the Pirates and Hurricanes played a doubleheader and the first game was hotly contested as it went into extra innings. The game was scoreless going into the top of the fifth inning, but seniors Zach Lance and Tyler Avera both recorded RBIs off of a sacrifice ground out and a single to right field respectively.
The Hurricanes answered with a sacrifice RBI in the eighth inning and a hit batter with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth tied the game up at 2.
Curry came up huge in the top of the twelfth inning as he crushed a triple to left field and scored both Lance and senior RJ Dennard to seal the win for the Pirates.
“In the extra inning game, our main goal was to keep hitting the ball hard and playing great defense in the meantime,” Curry said, “We knew the baseball gods would shine down on us sooner or later if we kept grinding out at bats. It was a must win for us as that would give us the momentum we needed to finish off the sweep.”
The Pirates used that momentum in the second game of the doubleheader as they plated four runs in the second inning off of two RBI doubles by Sherlin and junior Will Austin as well as an RBI triple by senior Matt Wisniewski. They added on three more runs in the third inning and cruised to an 8-1 victory to improve to 12-3 with a 6-2 PBC record. Phillips picked up the win with five innings and seven strikeouts.
“Our guys are playing some good ball despite the bad weather conditions,” Coach Calvain Culberson said, “It’s not sweeping a series that matters, just winning it does, but sweeping one does not hurt either. This gives us loads of confidence moving forward in the season.”
The Pirates return to action with a PBC series against Lander at home starting with a doubleheader on March 7.