The Lexington County Blowfish had dropped five straight contests prior to Wednesday night's game against the Fayetteville Swampdogs. The Blowfish were looking for something to finally go right at The Lex with Jared Drayton on the mound. Drayton had back-to-back quality starts on the road, both coming in Savannah.
Drayton started off the night well, striking out the first two batters he faced on his way to a scoreless first inning. The offensive fireworks began early for the Blowfish with leadoff hitter Michael Green (Clemson) launching the first pitch over the right field wall to give Lexington County a 1-0 lead.
After a Trace Whetsell double in the second inning, Aaron Adams drove him home with an RBI single. With a 2-0 lead, Lexington County and Jared Drayton continued to dazzle on the defensive side. Drayton would work out of a bases loaded jam in the top half of the fifth. His night would be over after the 6th inning, tallying six strikeouts while only surrendering three hits.
Michael Green stole the show however, hitting his second solo shot of the game to lead off the fifth inning. Two more baserunners would reach before Ian Jenkins ambushed a pitch over the left field fence to give Lexington County a 6-0 lead.
Green continued his night with his third homerun of the night in the bottom of the eighth inning.
"Michael was seeing the ball really well tonight," head coach Marshall McDonald told me after the game. "When Mike is hitting the ball well, typically we do well offensively. He's the table setter for us at the top of the lineup and he performed really well tonight."
In fact, he performed better than any Blowfish player in history. Green became the first Blowfish ever to hit three home runs in a single game, hitting all three home runs to lead off innings.
"It's a wonderful accomplishment," McDonald said. "And these type of things typically sneak up on you and you don't realize their significance until well after the game is over. We're just really proud of Michael, his performance tonight, and the work he has put in all summer long."
Not to be lost in all the offense, Jared Drayton and Bennett Nance (UNC) combined for the first shutout effort for Lexington County since July of 2017 (12-0 win in Florence. It was the first home shutout win since the inaugural year in Lexington County, a 1-0 win over the Redwolves.
"Jared commanded the zone well tonight," pitching coach Shawn Torbett said after the game. "He was fired up and locked in mentally and never relinquished any momentum." Nance and Drayton struck out 12 hitters combined, six each, on the way to a 9-0 shutout win over the Swampdogs.
Lexington County hits the road to Savannah for the final time on Thursday, before returning home on Friday night for Woodstock Night at The Lex. Lexington County will host the Bananas for the final time in 2019 that night.