By Matt Green
Hawks (1-10) at Columbus State (6-9)
Tuesday, Feb. 26; 6 pm; Columbus, Ga.
COLUMBUS, Ga. – The Shorter Baseball Hawks travel to Columbus, Ga., tomorrow, Tuesday, Feb. 26, for a non-league matchup with Columbus State University at 6 pm.
The Hawks (1-10) hope to steal a game from the Cougars (6-9), who were picked to finish third in the Peach Belt Conference this season after going 30-23 a year ago. Columbus State opened the season ranked No. 36 in the Preseason Collegiate Baseball Newspaper Poll.
Shorter, which scored its first win of the season on Feb. 17 in a 4-2 extra inning victory over North Georgia in Dahlonega, has battled a stretch of early season bad luck that has resulted in five losses by two runs or less, including three defeats by one-run margins. The Hawks dropped one-run decisions to Florida Tech (3-2), Georgia Southwestern (2-1) and Barry University out of Florida (1-0) during the first weeks of the 2013 season.
Most recently, the Hawks fell 5-3 on the road to Stillman last Wednesday.
So far in 2013, Shorter's pitching has led the way, keeping the Hawks close just about every time the team has taken to the diamond.
Shorter's top three hurlers by innings pitched, seniors Stuart Charleston, Cameron Rich and Ben Stell, all have earned run averages under 4. Charleston paces the staff with a 3.04 ERA and 17 strikeouts against just six walks over a team best 23.2 innings pitched. Rich (3.24 ERA, 15 K) and Stell (3.75 ERA, 10 K) have tossed 16.2 and 12.0 innings, respectively, in three appearances each.
Offensivley, senior Willie Lewis is batting .361 with a team high three doubles. Lewis has hit safely in nine of Shorter's 11 games, including a hitting streak of six games to open the year. He went 3-for-5 with a walk and an RBI in Shorter's win over North Georgia.
Newcomers Walker Borneman and Jesse Gavigan currently lead Shorter with six RBI apiece with Borneman, who is hitting .290, recording one of Shorter's two home runs on the year. Gavigan has a pair of doubles to his credit and has driven in at least one run in each of Shorter's last three games.
Columbus State will counter with a high-powered offense that is producing 7.4 runs per game and a .333 team batting average. Four players with at least 24 at-bats are hitting over .400 while a total of seven Cougars are hitting better than .300.
Cougars' senior infielder Cameron Scott has been a menace to opposing pitchers thus far in 2013, hitting .421 with seven doubles, three homers and 21 RBI in just 14 games. Senior outfielders Ryan Lewis and J.D. Pullen have combined to swipe 12 bases while hitting .410 and .344, respectively, with seven combined doubles and 20 RBI.
Columbus State put up 26 runs on Shorter's Gulf South Conference rival West Georgia in a 26-12 win back on Feb. 6.
Fans unable to make the trip to Columbus can follow the action by accessing live stats provided by Columbus State. You can find the link here.