On a night where everything was big – from the fireworks to the promotions to the attendance – it was the SwampDogs' play on the field that loomed large.
For the first home game of the season's second half, the SwampDogs presented both their 12th annual StriKing Out Cancer Night and their classic Fourth-of-July-Eve fireworks extravaganza. In front of a sellout crowd of more than 4,000 fans, Fayetteville combined consistent hitting with dominant pitching en route to an 11-0 victory over the Asheboro Copperheads.
"It's always fun playing in front of a big crowd," said Zach Jacobs, who went 3-for-4 with a double and three RBIs. "After a rough night at the plate last night, I think we came out with a mode of jump on them early get ahead and just keep pounding away."
The SwampDogs certainly kept pounding away, as Fayetteville used 14 hits to produce its double-digit run total. Brett Young (Delta State), Matt Kelly (Portland) and Joey Wiemer (Cincinnati) joined Jacobs (Campbell) in the multiple-hit club, and six different SwampDogs drove in runs on the night.
Fayetteville's success at the plate should not overshadow the stellar work from Michael Hendricks (Miami Ohio) on the mound. Making his third start of the season, Hendricks held the Copperheads to just two hits in seven and two-thirds innings before turning the ball over to Jimmy Reardon (Bloomsburg) to complete the shutout.
"A game like this is a huge confidence booster," Hendricks said. "I had a lot of movement on my sinker, and I was getting a lot of ground balls, lots of weak contact."
Fayetteville will look to build on Tuesday's success as the team travels to Wilson for a midweek matchup against the Tobs. While everyone on the team can gain confidence from such a commanding win, the night was especially meaningful to Jacobs, whose two games with the SwampDogs have represented some of the first since his Coastal Plain League stint last summer.
"I happened to sit out this past year…[but] you don't just sit around when you're not playing. You work out on your own and do whatever you can to get better," Jacobs said. "You go out every day trying to do your best and give it your all."