Updated July 28 2017
The Fayetteville SwampDogs led the Florence RedWolves 5-3 going into the top of the seventh inning before a lightning delay put a lull in the action. Fayetteville capitalized during the break scoring five runs in the inning and two in the eighth to win 12-to-4 over the RedWolves on Friday for Cancer Awareness Night at Sparrow Stadium.
Fayetteville (30-18, 12-7) loaded up on the RedWolves (22-23, 8-10) in the top of the first inning scoring four runs on three hits, including two home runs and a sacrifice fly out. The SwampDogs sent nine hitters to the plate in the opening inning pressing starting pitcher Jack Piekos (3-4) for 34 pitches.
Piekos walked the first two batters he faced in Jay Robinson and Jameel Edney. A wild pitch and passed ball put the lead runner on third as Matt Morrow opened the scoring on a sacrifice fly out to centerfield. The next hitter in Jayson Newman lifted a two-run home run to right field taking a 3-0 advantage. Justin Hawkins, too joined in the parade, sending a solo shot to left for a 4-0 lead.
A fifth Fayetteville run was scored in the top of the third off of a Jonathan Allen sacrifice fly. Hawkins, who had a 4-for-6 night at the plate, doubled off the centerfield wall to leadoff the frame. Andrew Henrickson was hit by a pitch to put runners on first and second. Trent Franson then flied out to right field as Hawkins tagged up on the play to advance to third. Allen lifted a liner into left deep enough to score Hawkins, extending the SwampDogs lead to 5-0.
Florence began to push back plating a run in the bottom half of the third. Jim Wagner led the charge with a two-out single to right field and advanced to second on a passed ball. Grayson Cottingham stepped in and singled through the right side to score Wagner, bringing the RedWolves to 5-1.
Logan McRae added to the run tally for Florence in the fourth, blasting a no-doubt, two-run shot well over the wall in left field. Clay Casey got on base reaching on an error. The play made this the 24th consecutive game the Delta State University product has reached safely. McRae’s third home run of the season brought the RedWolves within two runs at 5-3.
McRae finished the night 1-for-3 with the home run, two runs driven in, a run scored and a walk. Casey later singled in the sixth to improve his hitting streak to 11 straight games.
Piekos settled in after the third inning and didn’t allow a run through the final three innings of his outing.
Entering the top of the seventh inning, a lightning strike was detected within a 10-mile radius of Sparrow Stadium. After a 43-minute delay play resumed and Blake Whiting took over the pitching duties from Piekos to open the seventh.
The SwampDogs took full advantage of the weather delay, putting a five-spot on the RedWolves in the inning off of three hits, four walks, three wild pitches and two passed balls, leading to a 10-3 mark.
Fayetteville then added two additional runs in the eighth capping a 12-run night in Florence.
The RedWolves though did not go down without a skirmish, footing a run in the final inning. With bases loaded and two outs after two walks and an infield single, Connor Howell pushed a bunt to the right side for an RBI single to put the game at 12-4 before the final out of the game was recorded.
Zach Neff (7-0) wasn’t as masterful for the SwampDogs in the outing on Friday as in his past appearances, but still got the job done. Neff threw 6.0 innings and gave up three runs, one earned, on six hits, one walk, and seven strikeouts.
Florence will be on the road Saturday as they’ll travel to Gastonia to take on the Grizzlies. Visit www.florenceredwolves.com for more information and tickets.
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