Battling the Holly Springs Salamanders in the front end of a home-and-home, the SwampDogs needed a win to boost their chances in an increasingly-tight playoff race.
Fayetteville accomplished that mission Sunday evening in Holly Springs, as a four-run eighth inning backed up a dominant start from Dillon Brown in a 4-3 victory.
"Brown pitched a great game and rested our bullpen. Offensively, [Willis] McDaniel gave us a spark." said head coach Matt Hollod after the game.
It was a masterful performance from Brown (Cal State Fullerton), who pounded the strike zone during his eight innings on the mound. The SwampDogs' starter threw more than 75 percent of his pitches for strikes as he allowed just two runs and earned the win.
"I knew if I stuck to keeping the ball low and filling up the zone, I would let them get themselves out," Brown said about his approach. "I really relied on my teammates behind me to make plays for me."
While Brown's teammates backed him up in the field throughout the contest, the Fayetteville bats rose to the occasion as the game neared its conclusion, flipping a one-run deficit into a three-run lead in the top of the eighth inning. Joey Wiemer (Cincinnati) and Willis McDaniel (Florida A&M) each drove in a run, and McDaniel paced the SwampDogs with a pair of hits.
"I've been trying to find a way to consistently have timing at the plate, and lots of credit goes to Coach Caleb [Woodson] for helping me before this game in the cages," McDaniel said of his multi-hit game. "I took what I learned and felt comfortable tonight."
The SwampDogs and Salamanders square off again Monday at The Swamp in another important divisional battle, with just one game separating first place and last place in the second half standings.
"I felt like it was a great team win," Brown said. "It just shows that we can compete with anyone, and hopefully this starts a good roll to get us into first."