The Hornets (42-16), who have won 20 of their last 22 games, will have two opportunities, beginning today, to advance to NAIA World Series, which begins May 23 in Lewiston, Idaho.
“Playing (Embry-Riddle) on this field is always tough,” Southern Poly coach Marty Lovrich said in a release. “Just knowing we had Zach (Smith) on the mound kind of calmed that down.”
Smith pitched a complete game, scattering eight hits and striking out nine. He kept Embry-Riddle off the scoreboard until allowing one run in the seventh.
“We, pretty much, won the game with the things we did all year,” Lovrich said. “Getting a couple of bunts down and getting a big hit.”
Tremayne Hardin was 2-for-4, stole three bases and scored twice. Khirus Ware had a hit and drove in two, Chad Livingston was 2-for-3 and Chad Eure came off the bench to get a pinch-hit single and an RBI.
Western Carolina 8, Kennesaw State 6: The Owls let a 6-1 lead slip away, but the news isn’t the fact that Kennesaw State lost a game.
It’s that the nation’s longest winning streak was snapped. The Owls (30-21) had won 16 straight games dating back to April 5.
During the run of victories, Kennesaw State averaged 8.4 runs per game and was held under five runs only once, in a 3-1 win over Georgia.
The recent surge had lifted the Owls into fourth place in the Atlantic Sun standings, heading into the final conference series of the regular season this weekend when they host North Florida.
The Atlantic Sun tournament will begin May 21 in Fort Myers, Fla., hosted by Florida Gulf Coast.