FUQUAY-VARINA — If not for adrenaline, Fuquay-Varina pitcher Brett Daniels might have felt in his right arm that he didn’t have it Friday night. His teammates, coaches and even Bengals fans who had seen enough games could tell the catcher’s mitt didn’t have the same pop when Daniels delivered his fastball.
But facing the same lineup that tagged him for a loss in his 20-pitch inning of relief in Game 1, Daniels came back to pitch all seven innings as Fuquay evened the series against visiting Richmond County with an 8-1 victory in Game 2.
And he did it without his best stuff.
“Throwing last night gave me a good look of how they hit and what pitches they could hit. So I threw them backwards tonight. I started off offspeed and came in with an outside fastball instead of inside, because they can hit that,” Daniels said.
“Once the game starts, the adrenaline pumps in and I don’t really feel anything. ... I definitely didn’t have everything I usually have, but having eight runs on the board helps with that.”
Daniels struck out nine Richmond batters, walked one and scattered eight hits to snap the Raiders’ 28-game winning streak.
“That was probably one of the best pitching performances I’ve seen in a long time. Brett did not have his good stuff and he found a way to pitch,” Fuquay coach Milton Senter said. “That was outstanding on his part. ... Maybe him pitching a little last night took a little bit out of him, I don’t know. But he found a way to win.”
It sets up a deciding Game 3 Saturday night at 7 p.m. at Richmond County with a spot in the 4A state championship on the line. The Raiders plan to throw their No. 1 starter, Nic Bullard, while Fuquay will start Jordan Bissette.
Daniels, who is now the single-season school record holder with 12 wins, seemed to get stronger in the latter innings for Fuquay-Varina (25-4).
James Buie went all seven innings for Richmond County (28-2) in the losing effort.
Buie’s first pitch was homered by N.C. State signee Garrett Suggs. Second baseman Lucas Scott doubled off the wall in the next at-bat, and then was driven in by first baseman Nick Yarborough three batters later.
“Tonight we came out and played our game. We were aggressive. Maybe we’re more comfortable here, I don’t know,” Senter said.
Fuquay tacked on one more in the third, as Yarborough’s 5-3 groundout scored Suggs from third. Suggs ended the night with the most single-season runs scored (41) in school history.
Richmond scored in the top of the fourth, as Bradley Brown’s double was followed up by Buie’s RBI single.
But the Bengals made it 4-1 in the bottom half as an RBI single by Scott scored Bissette.
In the sixth inning, Fuquay pulled away. Richmond committed two errors and allowed two bunt singles and one infield hit to assist the Bengals’ four-run inning. Fuquay’s Nick Stuart had an RBI sac fly.
“We’ve just got to hit the ball like we did tonight, and we’ll be fine,” Daniels said.
Blake: 919-460-2606; Twitter: @JMBpreps