But Hyde (a former Calhoun High standout) thrived under pressure and belted a gigantic grand slam over the fence in right center field at Eldredge Park to help Wareham snap its 5-game losing streak and beat Orleans.
On a night where pitching appeared to be the story through the firstthree innings, Gatemen reliever Colby Suggs (Arkansas) got the win for Wareham by pitching an inning and a third and only allowing one hit. Kurt McCune (LSU) started the game for Wareham and was pulled with two outs in the fourth after allowing five hits and surrendering three earned runs.
After three scoreless innings between McCune and Firebirds starterDylan Clark (Elon), the Gatemen started the scoring in the top of the fourth inning with a two-run home run from Tyler Horan (Virginia Tech). The Middleboro, MA native was making his first start since Tuesday after sitting out the last two games. He finished the night 2-4 with those pair of RBI’s.
The Gatemen tied up the game at 3-3 in the fifth on an RBI single from Mott Hyde to plate Logan Uxa (Arkansas St.). Then with Hyde on first and Cole Sturgeon (Louisville) on second, Manager Cooper Farris called the double steal and the runners both advanced safely. Sturgeon then scored on a passed ball and Wareham took a 4-3 lead.
But the scoring wasn’t done in the fifth after that. The Firebirdstook their turn off of Gatemen reliever Dan Tobik (Tennessee-Martin).
JT Riddle (Kentucky) led off the fifth with a solo home run that knotted up the game at four. Tobik then settled down nicely and did not allow a hit for the rest of his time out on the mound.
Both the sixth and seventh innings went scoreless for both teams, but not without some drama. With two runners on in the top of the sixth, Logan Uxa drilled a fly ball out to left field that curved to the right of the foul pole and appeared to be a home run that would have been a 3-run shot. However, home plate umpire Bill Fisher ruled it a foul ball and Uxa struck out. Ethan Gross (Memphis) then singled up the middle as the next batter, but Ty Ross (LSU) was caught in a pickle taking too big of a lead off of third base. Gross ended the night 3-3 with two singles and a double.
The biggest moment of the game came in the eighth when Ross led off the inning with a single. The next two batters got out, however, before Gross doubled and the Firebirds intentionally walked Sturgeon to load the bases. The rest is history. Hyde connected with a fastball from Chase Johnson across the center of the plate that went over the wall for a grand slam. That bomb proved to be the difference as the Gatemen took a decisive 8-4 lead.
Hyde is coming off his sophomore season at Georgia Tech in which he hit .266 with seven home runs, 33 RBIs and 11 doubles. He also had 10 steals as the Jackets went on a late-season surge that included going 4-0 in Greensboro, N.C. to win the ACC Championship after qualifying for the ACC Tournament on the final day of the regular season.
Konner Wade (Arizona) shut it down for Wareham in the final twoinnings, pitching a perfect eighth and ninth.
The win is the first for the Gatemen since they played at Orleanslast Friday and snap their five game losing streak. The team is now at 11-14.