By Matt Green
Hawks (7-13, 4-2 GSC) @ West Georgia (15-7, 4-2 GSC)
March 16-17 • Saturday (DH) 2 pm; Sunday 1 pm • Carrollton, Ga.
CARROLLTON, Ga. – Shorter's Baseball Hawks return to Gulf South Conference play this weekend, Saturday and Sunday, March 16 and 17, when they make the short trip to Carrollton for a three-game set with the University of West Georgia. The teams will square off in a doubleheader on Saturday beginning at 2 pm before closing out their series with a single game on Sunday at 1 pm.
This weekend's series features two teams headed in opposite directions as of late.
The Hawks (7-13, 4-2 GSC) have won five straight after sweeping last weekend's series with Union and taking a doubleheader from non-league foe Albany State on Tuesday. West Georgia (15-7, 4-2) has dropped three of four, including dropping a Gulf South Conference series with West Alabama. The Wolves most recently lost to Georgia College, 9-6, on Wednesday.
Shorter continues to rely heavily on its pitching staff, which is led by ace Stuart Charleston. Charleston, who is 3-2 on the year, leads Shorter's staff in innings pitched (40.2), strikeouts (27) and complete games (4). He has walked just nine and boasts a 1.99 earned run average heading into this weekend's series.
Offensively for the Hawks, Cal Hardie has picked it up at the plate recently, recording a hit in five straight games while hitting .454 (10-for-22) with a pair of doubles and three RBI during that same span.
With Hardie setting the table, Michael Miranda has provided the scoring punch. Miranda, who began the year 3-for-32 through Shorter's first nine games, is 16-for-39 (.410) with a homer, four doubles and nine RBI in the 11 games since. While Jesse Gavigan leads Shorter in RBI with 12, Miranda is tied with Walker Borneman for second on the team with 10 driven in.
West Georgia will look to solve Shorter's pitching staff with a quartet of regulars hitting above .300. While the Wolves haven't shown a knack for power – West Georgia has hit just two home runs through 22 games – they have shown an ability to manufacture runs, having stolen 43 bases in 48 attempts.
Junior Blake McLemore has started all 22 games for the Wolves and is hitting .329 with eight stolen bases while senior outfielder Evan Hester ranks second on the team in RBI with 18 and boasts a .309 average and nine doubles. Junior third baseman T.J. Eifert provides the power with 10 doubles, a homer and a team best 19 RBI.
Live stats for this weekend's series between Shorter and West Georgia are available by following this link.