By James Vallone
ROME -– The Hawks won a pair of Gulf South Conference home games from Ledbetter Complex on Saturday with a pair of walk off hits from Charlie Gillis, beating Union by one run in each game – including extra innings in game two.
The opening game proved to be a defensive game with no runs scoring until the fourth, when Wacey Russell picked up the RBI single to drive Cole McAdams in from third base.
Shorter waited until the bottom of the fifth to answer, responding with a two-out homerun that cleared the netting in left center field off of the bat of Michael Miranda for his second homerun of the season.
The Hawks final rally came in the bottom of the ninth when Dustin Evans got the lead off single, followed by a Cal Hardie single to put two runners on for Gillis, who took a pitch from Justin Bryan to left field allowing Evans to score the wining run, 2-1.
Doty pitched the final 2.1 innings, giving up just one hit to pick up the victory.
Union got off to a hot start in game two – picking up three runs in the first five innings off of starter Cameron Rich, before Shorter was able to rally for the 5-4 win in extra innings.
Down 3-0 in the bottom of the fifth, Jacob Forrest hit the second Shorter homerun of the day to start the scoring for the Hawks.
Gillis scored in the sixth inning off of the bat of Jesse Gavigan, putting the Hawks one run down.
Union got a fourth run in the top of the seventh on a McAdams single, making the score 4-2 in the final inning of regulation.
Shorter (4-13, 3-2 GSC) rallied with two outs, singles by Evans and Hardie and a walk to Gillis brought Miranda to the plate. Union brought in reliever Trae Bain and Miranda connected for a two RBI single, scoring Evans and Hardie.
The game moved to extra innings, with Doty brought into the game with one out and a runner on first in the eighth inning, where he was able to get the next two outs.
Doty made things interesting in the ninth after a hitless eighth for Shorter. With two outs and a runner on first, Doty hit the next two Union (3-11, 0-5 GSC) batters to load the bases in a tied game. Benjie Fesmire grounded into a harmless fielder's choice with a put out at second base ending the Bulldog rally.
Hardie doubled with one out in the ninth inning bringing Gillis to the plate with another chance to win the game – where he delivered a single to shallow center field and Hardie was able to slide around the tag for the winning run.
Doty picked up the win in relief, his second of the day.
Miranda picked up five hits in the two games, with Evans, Hardie, Gavigan, and Gillis each collecting three hits.
The two teams play the final game of the weekend series tomorrow at 1 pm from the Ledbetter Complex.