The South Charleston bats have provided the Black Eagles baseball team with an identity, and for the fifth consecutive game, it has resulted in a victory.
Zach Wright had a run-scoring double and a two-run single and the Black Eagles continued their torrid hitting in a 7-5 victory over Capital (3-8) on Thursday night at Bryan-McElwain Field.
Although the victory came against the struggling Cougars in their fourth straight loss, among the South Charleston wins during its winning streak have come against Hurricane, the No. 1 team in the Daily Mail’s sportswriter rankings, and George Washington, the sixth-ranked team.
“We hit the ball, and with the exception of the last couple games, we’ve made plays,” South Charleston coach Ken Samms said. “We’ve made routine plays, but today we didn’t, but the bats picked it up.”
The Black Eagles (5-4), who were hitting .278 as a team entering Thursday’s game, are batting .352 during their winning streak.
Much of the production is coming from the bottom of the lineup. Against the Cougars, South Charleston’s bottom three hitters were 4-of-7 with a run-scoring double and two-run single from No. 7 hitter Zach Wright — the younger brother of former SC standout Greg Wright — an RBI single from No. 8 hitter Jacob Marler and a 1-of-2 performance from No. 9 hitter Jared Hill.
“Once we got our first win we started playing with confidence,” Wright said. “Especially the bottom of the lineup. Coach has been telling us to stay down on the ball.”
After Capital scored two runs on an Austin Hupp single, South Charleston put up four in the bottom of the first on a Jonathan Pauley three-run homer — the first career varsity home run for the junior — and a Wright double.
South Charleston plated three more in the third, capitalizing on two Cougar errors, a two-run single by Wright and an RBI single from Marler.
“The first four games we all kind of struggled, but now we’re playing together and doing real well,” Pauley said.
Capital couldn’t get the hits with runners in scoring position. The Cougars scored three runs in the fourth to slice into South Charleston’s lead, but a strikeout and flyout left the bases loaded. A Capital runner reached second base in the fifth, and a double play ended a modest threat in the sixth.
Marler, who threw 119 pitches in a complete-game performance for South Charleston, set down Capital in order in the seventh.
“That’s been our MO all year,” Capital coach Robert Massey said. “We’ve had not hit with runners in scoring position. Meaningless hits, we do a fantastic job.”
Capital finished with six hits, but just two RBI on its five runs. Hupp had a single and a double as the Cougars’ only player with more than one hit. He led off the fourth inning with a double and eventually scored on an error.
As for South Charleston, all but one batter got a hit, including one from relief catcher Zach Lively. Lively entered the game in the first inning when starting catcher Cole Lanier left after getting hit in the face with a foul ball off his bat. Lanier left the field under his own power, but was transported to Charleston Area Medical Center’s General Hospital for tests.
Capital is off until Monday when it plays its first game in the Mingo Bay Classic in Myrtle Beach. The Black Eagles visit Woodrow Wilson for a 6 p.m. game today before leaving for the Mingo Bay Classic.
Contact Assistant Sports Editor Rich Stevens at email@example.com or 304-348-4837. Follow him on Twitter @richdailymail.