FMS Rockets garner split in Unionville
The FMS Rockets held their ground in a doubleheader at Unionville on Monday, coming back to win game two 6-4 after losing by the closest of margins in game one 3-2.
"We played real good in both games," said FMS head coach Bart Joyce. "Our pitching and defense has been great, but we just got to get some runs across the plate."
Jacob Jones had a big day at the dish in the twin bill, going 4-7 with four runs scored, one RBI, and five stolen bases.
Jones led off game one with a triple and scored on a fielder's choice RBI by Luke Cunningham.
Community came right back to tie the game in the home half of the first inning on an RBI base knock by Jared Maupin.
Dustin Brashear singled, leading off the top of the third inning and rambled to second base on a sacrifice by Jaylen Smith before scoring on an infield error to make it 2-1.
Forrest starter Marshall McKee held the Vikings in check over the next four frames, retiring Community in order in the second, third and fourth innings and his only blemish in the fifth inning was a hit batsmen.
Kirk Taylor matched McKee, blanking the Rockets the rest of the way and his Viking teammates presented Taylor with a win when they scored twice in the sixth inning on a Robbie Gray RBI double, followed by the eventual game winner by Maupin.
Tyler Hutchinson came to hill for Community in the bottom of the sixth to earn the save, via a 1-2-3 inning, including two strikeouts.
"We had a hard fought game in the first one with McKee pitching an excellent game and we just fell short," said Joyce. "Community got a run when they needed it and we didn't and that was the outcome of the game. The boys played well though."
Community was the visiting squad in game two and scored a run in the top of the first on a two-out RBI fielder's choice by Gray.
Jones singled to lead off the home half of the inning and stole second base before Cunningham sacrificed him to second.
McKee made it a 1-1 contest when he knocked in Jones on an infield grounder.
FMS starter Jonathan Lykins held the Vikings scoreless in the top of the second and Jones manufactured a run in the bottom of the inning for Forrest, slamming a leadoff double before stealing second and scoring on a Community error.
Our pitching and defense again was excellent," said Joyce. "Jones really stepped up at the plate with a couple key hits to along with Lykins and Jent teaming up for a great game. "We also had a lot of players make some key base running decisions that really helped in the second game."
Lykins set down Community in order over the next two innings before the Vikings tied the game 2-2 on an RBI base hit by Spencer Smith in the top of the fifth inning.
The Rockets came right back in the bottom of the inning, plating three runs to take a 5-2 lead.
Ryan Moses walked and scored on a Jones RBI before coming around with run number four on a Cunningham RBI base hit.
Cunningham ended the fifth inning scoring when he trotted home from third base on a wild pitch.
"After the first game, we just regrouped and came back and had another hard fought game and came out on top," said Joyce. "The difference again was we got the runs when we needed them. We got runners on and got them in."
Jordan Jent came to the mound in relief of Lykins in the sixth inning and held the Vikings in check before the Rockets scored for the final time in the sixth as Smith walked with two outs, stole second and came home on an error, making it 6-2.
Community pushed across two unearned runs in the top of the seventh before the game ended on a grounder to Hunter Beckman at third base.
Lykins picked up the win and Jent was credited with save for the Rockets, who play three straight games this week, beginning with a home game versus E.A. Cox on Thursday, followed by a pair of road tilts at Fayetteville on Friday and at Liberty on Saturday in a rainout make-up game.
"Moving ahead I see us shaping up just fine, we have only lost one conference game and as long as we work hard and get some work with our hitting, I believe we will be just fine," said Joyce. "We have some big conference games coming up and the boys will work hard to prepare for those and carry that on in to the tournament."