By Matt Green
FLORENCE, Ala. – Shorter's Baseball Hawks avoided a weekend sweep at the hands of Gulf South Conference foe North Alabama, taking the first game of a Sunday doubleheader, 7-1, before falling in the finale, 10-1. UNA took two of three in the weekend series.
Shorter departs Florence with a 2-13 overall record and 1-2 mark in the GSC. North Alabama improves to 8-5 overall and 2-1 in league play.
In the opener, Hawks' ace Stuart Charleston did not allow a hit until the fourth inning, Mike Miranda went 3-for-5 with a pair of RBI and Shorter put up a four-spot in the seventh on its way to a 7-1 win.
Charleston, who had been the pitcher of record in Shorter's only other win of the season entering this weekend's series when he went 10 innings against North Georgia, was on top of his game Sunday in Florence.
The senior improved to 2-2 on the year by tossing eight innings during which he scattered four hits and struck out four while allowing just one unearned run.
While Charleston held UNA at bay on the mound, his offense provided him plenty of support.
The Hawks, who were blanked 10-0 in Saturday's series opener with the Lions, wasted no time getting on the board in Sunday's Game 1, getting a Miranda RBI single that plated Charlie Gillis for a 1-0 lead in the top of the first. The Hawks extended their lead to 2-0 in the fourth on Jacob Forrest's RBI single, and after UNA notched its unearned run in the bottom half, regained a two-run advantage in the top of the fifth when Cal Hardie struck out, but reached on a passed ball, stole second, advanced to third on a fly out, then stole home to make the score 3-1 in Shorter's favor.
The Hawks then put the game out of reach in the seventh, getting a Hardie sacrifice fly and back-to-back-to-back RBI singles from Jesse Gavigan, Miranda and Chad Ikerd off Lions' reliever Daymon Eriksen to take a 7-1 advantage.
David Summerall pitched a one-hit ninth to close out the win for the Hawks.
Shorter outhit UNA 10-5 in the win. The top four batters in the lineup – Hardie, Gillis, Gavigan and Miranda – combined for six of those hits and five of Shorter's seven runs. Josh Cyr paced UNA with two of his team's five hits.
In the nightcap, the Lions tacked on six runs in the first two innings and pitcher Cade Medley scattered eight hits over seven innings to help UNA to a 10-1 victory.
Medley kept Shorter at bay by stranding six Hawks on the bags and striking out five while walking none. The one run he surrendered to the Hawks came in the fourth, when Shorter's Forrest grounded into a double play that allowed Miranda to score after Miranda led off the frame with a double and advanced to third on an error.
Offensively, a five-run explosion in the second was all the Lions would need.
Already up 1-0, the Lions loaded the bases with one out in the second. Thomas Lundborg was hit by a pitch, bringing home UNA's second run of the game, before a fielding error on Eric Wilson's drive to first base cleared the bases and put the Lions up 5-0. Andrew Almon capped UNA's scoring in the frame with an RBI single that made it 6-0 and the Lions would add four more runs in the fourth to add the finishing touches on the win.
Miranda continued his hot streak going 2-for-3 with two doubles in the Game 2 loss. Ikerd also went 2-for-3 for the Hawks.
Shorter returns to action on Tuesday, March 5 when it travels to Lincoln Memorial for a 2 pm contest.