|Dogs' Offense Slugs Team to Championship Berth|
|Friday, 10 August 2012 20:48|
In what had been a pitching-dominant series in the first two games, the Fayetteville SwampDogs defeated the Forest City Owls 11-6 in the deciding Game 3 on Friday night to send them on to the 2012 Petitt Cup Championship series. The Dogs scored five runs in the eighth inning to break a 6-6 tie and ultimately win the game, along with the series.
The Owls struck first, plating a run in the top half of the first frame, but the Dogs went on to take a commanding lead afterwards. Blake Beemer (Ball State) and Mike Tauchman (Bradley) picked up base hits in the bottom of the first before Reed Harper (Austin Peay) drove them home with a two-run double.
Fayetteville added three more runs in the second frame. Jacob Golliday (Francis Marion) led off and reached on a throwing error, before Zach Gawrych (Tampa) was hit by a pitch and John Howell picked up a bunt-single to load the bases. Beemer came up clutch once again with an RBI-single up the middle to plate Golliday and make it 3-1 Fayetteville. Tauchman followed with a two-run double to deep right center field to give the Dogs a four-run advantage.
The Dogs made it 6-1 after the third inning, when Gawrych drove in University of Tampa teammate Tyler Ding with a single down the left field line. Ding had led off the inning with a walk.
With a five-run advantage, it appeared the Dogs would be able to coast on to the championship round, but Forest City had other ideas. The Owls scored two runs in the fourth, and recorded a three-run home run in the eighth inning to tie the game at six runs apiece.
With the momentum abruptly swinging towards Forest City, the Dogs came up in the eighth trying to regain the lead. They proceeded to score five runs to take an 11-6 advantage.
Golliday led off the inning with a solo home run to deep left center field, his first of the season. Howell later singled, and Joe Ciamacco (Ohio State) walked to put runners at first and second. They moved up on a groundout to the pitcher, and Howell scored from third when Tauchman reached on an error by Forest City's third baseman. Harper then ripped a single, scoring both Ciamacco and Tauchman to make it 10-6 Fayetteville. Ding doubled to right center field to plate Harper, and the 11-6 advantage proved final.
Max McDonald (St. Edward's) started the game, working four innings, before giving way to James Simmons (Hardin-Simmons), who worked three innings of relief. His streak of 10.1 scoreless innings in the postseason came to an end when he surrendered the three-run home run in the eighth inning. Simmons has appeared in each of the five postseason games the Dogs have played this year. Tyler Brunnemann (Hardin-Simmons) picked up the win as he worked a perfect two innings, striking out three Owls.
The Dogs will travel to Columbia on Sunday to take on the Blowfish in Game 1 of the 2012 Petitt Cup Championship series, with Game 2 falling on Monday night at "The Swamp." The Dogs would host Game 3 on Tuesday night if necessary.
For tickets to the championship round, visit or call the business office at (910)-426-5900, and for all things SwampDogs log on to www.goswampdogs.com.