The Hawks’ baseball team crushed Skyline College in the home opener at the new Conway field on Feb. 8.
Clutch hitting and lackluster defense by Skyline factored in as the Hawks soared to an 8-1 victory.
“Skyline made a couple blunders out there,” said Hawks’ head coach Tony Bloomfield. “The sun plays into the defense so that’s a home-field advantage for us.”
The Hawks jumped all over Skyline in the first inning and loaded the bases with only one out. Sophomore first baseman Joe Bettencourt drew a walk which gave the Hawks the early lead 1-0.
Freshman outfielder Josh Cosio followed the walk with a single that drove in the second run of the inning. The next batter, sophomore outfielder Colby Wilmer, hit a routine ground ball to first base that should have ended the inning, however Skyline’s first baseman threw the ball into the outfield and allowed the Hawks to score another run as they ended the first inning with a 3-0 lead.
Hawks’ sophomore pitcher Blake Harrison settled in early on his way to six shutout innings. He struck out four batters and at one point retired seven Skyline batters in a row.
“Harrison pitched real well out there today,” Bloomfield said.
In the fourth inning, with Hawks’ freshman infielder Hunter Carolan on first base, a routine fly ball off the bat of sophomore infielder Luke McDonald was bobbled and dropped by the Skyline outfielder, which allowed Carolan to score on the play, putting the Hawks up 4-0.
Skyline’s poor defense was most apparent in the following inning when two more errors by the outfield helped the Hawks to another four run inning. With two outs and runners on the corners, McDonald ripped a double into the gap which brought home both runners and gave the Hawks an 8-0 lead. McDonald went 3-4 on the game with three runs batted in.
Skyline managed to score a run in the top of the eighth inning but were unable to overcome their own fielding mistakes as well as the Hawks’ pitching.
The win was the first of the season for the Hawks as they prepared to face Skyline again in less than 24 hours.
“We’re young and inexperienced,” Bloomfield said. “We need to work on our consistency and being more competitive. We’re not a real competitive group just yet.”