After a rough stretch that saw the SwampDogs score 12 runs in four games, Fayetteville needed a big game offensively to help regain that good feeling from a week ago.
The SwampDogs' lineup more than delivered Saturday night.
Fayetteville's hitters brought their A-games in the batter's box against a surging Holly Springs team, recording 18 hits in a 14-8 victory over the Salamanders.
"The hitting in this league always heats up, and we've started off pretty cold with our bats," said SwampDogs' head coach Matt Hollod. "We have good hitters, so it's going to turn around. And tonight might have been the first glimpse of that."
After yielding five runs in the top of the first, the SwampDogs responded with four in the bottom half of the inning. Four more in the second gave Fayetteville a lead it would not relinquish the rest of the night, and a two-run third inning and four-run fifth were just icing on the cake.
"Obviously that's not the start that [the team] wanted, but I let the guys respond and see how they respond," Hollod said. "I never thought that these guys after a half of an inning were just going to pack it up. And they didn't."
All nine starters for Fayetteville recorded at least one hit on the night, with seven SwampDogs posting multi-hit games. Catcher Natale Monastra (Xavier) led the way, going 3-for-5 with two doubles and three RBIs. Monastra had not played in Fayetteville's previous two games, and that rest helped him regain his focus at the plate, he said.
"I just thought he was kind of tired," Hollod said about his decision to give Monastra rest heading into the weekend. "He came back, and his bat speed was back, so maybe that helped."
The win snapped a four-game losing streak and put an extra game of distance between Fayetteville and Holly Springs as they jockey for position in the standings. The SwampDogs improved to 8-10 and maintained second place in the East division heading into the final week of the season's first half.
"With this week, we're going to start some guys who maybe haven't started and see if they can be starters for us in the second half," Hollod said about his plans for the team's upcoming games. "And we're going to move some guys to the bullpen and hopefully make our bullpen better."
Fayetteville kicks off a four-day road trip Sunday, beginning with a doubleheader against the Wilson Tobs. Fans can catch audio broadcasts of both games through the team website. The SwampDogs are back at home Thursday for a matchup with the Wilmington Sharks.