LUMBERTON — The Scotland baseball team is no stranger to facing deficits this season whether it’s in a game or in practice, and were in that position trying to claim a sweep of Lumberton on Monday night.
The Scots saw the Pirates put up four innings after one inning, but they chipped away at the lead over the final four innings to grab a 5-4 Southeastern Conference win.
“We practice that a lot and we try and put them in roles where they’ve got to find a way to come back,” Scotland coach Chad Hill said. “We got down 4-0 and I told them it’s easy to roll over and just take it in the chin. These guys clawed and fought their way back to a hard earned win.”
In the fourth and sixth innings, the Scots used timely hitting and execution on the fundamental plays to score five unanswered runs and set up a winner-take-all series with Richmond today and Thursday. Scotland must sweep the Raiders to win the SEC title, while one win from the Raiders gives them the crown.
“We will enjoy this until we get back to Scotland and then return our focus to Richmond,” Hill said going into his first matchup with the Raiders.
Down two runs with two innings to go, Scotland (15-5, 6-2) put the first two runners on in the top of the sixth inning. Justin Bowers laid down a bunt that Lumberton (10-10, 3-5) pitcher Alec Brewington scooped up and quickly threw to first base but the ball was off line and allowed two runs to score and tie the game at 4-all. Bowers ended up at third on the play and plated the game-winning run in the next at bat on a suicide squeeze off the bat of Aaron Locklear.
“Fundamentals. The coaching staff has stressed it since the beginning when we got here and the kids have bought into it,” Hill said. “Small ball wins games and championships, and right now it won a game.”
In the fourth, Scotland hung its first runs on the board after putting runners on second and third with no outs. Bowers and Locklear followed by hitting a sacrifice fly and a RBI ground out to carve the lead down to two runs. Prior to that inning, Brewington had allowed one hit to the Scots in the first three innings.
“Brewington was keeping us off balance with his curveball and fastball mixed in and we knew that we had to scrap out a few runs,” Hill said. “It was a great team effort.”
Bowers, Nick Charleson, Cross Holfert and Brandon Jacobs each had a hit for Scotland. Locklear had a team-high two RBIs.
After Daly Marcano gave up the four-run first inning on the mound, Matthew Hyatt came in and pitched five scoreless innings to hold Lumberton down for Scotland’s counterattack later in the game.
“That’s one thing we love with him as a sophomore is that he’s not afraid to throw it in the zone and into contact,” Hill said. “He got a lot of swings and misses tonight and when they did put it in play we were able to make some plays.”
Kris Allen and Daniel Carter each went 2-for-3 to lead Lumberton’s offense.
Jonathan Bym can be reached at 910-816-1977. Follow him on Twitter @Jonathan_Bym.