MONTGOMERY, Ala. - Faulkner blasted Blue Mountain 13-3 in the opener of a doubleheader, then held off the Toppers 10-8 in the nightcap here Tuesday at Harrison Field to push its win streak to 14 games.
The Eagles (38-9) fell behind in the first inning of both games before coming to life. The first game ended due to the run rule, but Faulkner had to survive a late Blue Mountain rally in the second game, allowing four runs in the Toppers' final at bat before finally closing the door.
"We played really well and I'm glad our pitching staff got some work in as we get ready for a huge series this weekend," said Faulkner head coach Patrick McCarthy, whose Eagles are currently 21-3 and tied for first in the Southern States Athletic Conference standings. We were patient at the plate and if we continue to execute like we have been, we have a chance to finish the season like we want to."
Earlier in the day the Eagles had moved up to No. 4 in the latest NAIA poll, and they wasted little time in jumping on the Toppers in Game 1. After falling behind 2-0 in the top of the first, the bats came alive in the bottom of the inning as Faulkner erupted for five runs and were never seriously threatened the rest of the way. Brennan Olive, Zak Colby and Daniel Cayton all had run-scoring singles in the decisive inning.
Faulkner scored two runs in each of the next two innings, the closed it out with three in the fifth and one in the sixth. The Eagles outhit the Toppers 12 to 5, with catcher Matt Darr leading the way with a double and a two-run homer.
Olive, Colby, Cayton and Tucker Willard joined Olive with two hits apiece. Nathan Prokuski (2-0), after struggling through the first, settled down and was effective in his 4 1/3 innings of work. He struck out two and allowed only five hits to earn the victory.
After staking the Toppers to three runs in the first inning of Game 2 - thanks primarily to five walks - the Eagles fought back again, scoring twice in the first and four times in the second to seize command.
The advantage had ballooned to 10-4 heading into Blue Mountain's final at-bat. Eagle reliever Andrew Harrison struggled to finish it off, issuing a pair of walks and three hits as the lead dwindled to two. Closer Damon Porter entered and coaxed a line out to shortstop to end it.
Faulkner managed only seven hits in the nightcap, but took advantage of seven walks and three Blue Mountain errors to secure the victory. Willard and Colby had two hits apiece, while Craig Massey drove in two runs to lead the Eagles' attack.
The Eagles travel to Marietta, Ga., this weekend for a key Southern States Athletic Conference three-game series against Southern Poly. Friday's Game 1 begins at 1 p.m.