With a Tuesday loss in the rearview, Red Oak used a six-run second inning at home Friday night to split the season series with Mansfield Lake Ridge.
Lake Ridge outhit the Hawks (9-8) on the evening, but Red Oak capitalized on three Eagle errors for the 9-2 win. Red Oak fell to Lake Ridge in the series opener Monday night, 3-1.
“We came out ready to play and weathered a few tight innings when they had runners in scoring position early," Red Oak head coach Jay Johnson said. "But we worked through it and got the outs when we needed them."
"We came out and swung the bats a little bit better and played relaxed," Johnson added. "We are not too far off from having a really good team, just a pitch here and a play there from having a really different record. This was a key win for us as far as staying in the playoff hunt.”
The Hawks followed the District 10-5A win by using three pitchers for a 3-0 victory Saturday afternoon at home against Irving Nimitz.
Red Oak is now 9-9 on the season and 3-3 in District 10-5A.
Red Oak broke the game open in the bottom of the second inning when 10 Hawks took a turn at the plate to score six runs on six hits and one walk.
Aiden Hart started the inning with a single to center field and was followed by a Jose Rodriguez single and Bryant Bailey walk. Two sacrifice bunts and four-straight singles by Tristian Olphant, Jordan Trotter, Tallon Heine and Hernan Zamora had the Hawks up on Lake Ridge, 6-0.
Red Oak tacked on two runs in the third inning and one more in the fifth for the 9-2 win.
Zamora earned the win after he threw 3.2 innings. He walked four, surrendered five hits and did not allow a run.
Trenton Fowler recorded the final out of the fourth inning before he handed the baseball over to Clayton Soloman for the final three innings. Soloman struck out two and allowed one earned run on three hits.
The Hawks scored in the second inning when Holden Tate roped a one-out double into left field. He scored a little late on a passed ball for a 1-0 Red Oak lead.
Red Oak starting pitcher Trevor Gattin cruised through five innings of one-hit baseball on the mound. He struck out six and walked one while throwing 43 of his 65 pitches for strikes.
Red Oak tacked on two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. Tate reached base to lead off the inning on a Nimitz error and Trenton Fowler singled to put two Hawks on base with one out.
Jordan Trotter used a sacrifice bunt to plate Holden and Heine put a ball in play that resulted in a Nimitz error to score Fowler for the 3-0 Red Oak win.
Stephen Briggs and Tallon Heine each tossed one inning in relief. Heine allowed the only other hit on the afternoon.
The Hawks return to action next week for a two-game series against Mansfield Summit. Game one is at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Red Oak. Game two is at 7 p.m. Friday in Mansfield.
Travis M. Smith, @Travis5mith