FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. – The Morehead City Marlins gave up the game’s first three runs and could not come back, falling 11-4 to the Fayetteville SwampDogs at J.P. Riddle Field on Friday night.
The Morehead City (6-2) defense helped Fayetteville compile their 11 runs, as the Marlins committed a season-high five errors. Before tonight’s game, the team’s defense had been charged with just 11 errors over their first seven games.
Fayetteville opened the scoring with two run-scoring groundouts off of Morehead City starter Brent Powers (L, 0-1), a left-hander from Sam Houston State who made his first appearance as a Marlin. Powers then gave up another run in the next inning, giving the SwampDogs a 3-0 lead at that point.
The Marlins struggled early against starter Ryan Prickett (W, 1-0) but got two runs back in the top of the fourth, scoring their first run of the game when Justyn Carter hit a ball that was misplayed by SwampDog second baseman Christian Cummins. That scored Ben Scheffer and made the score 3-1. But Fayetteville came back with two more runs in the fifth, ending Powers’ outing in the process.
The Marlins cut into the Fayetteville lead in the top of the sixth. With runners on first and second, Tripp Lancaster’s RBI double scored Preston Shuey, making the score 5-3. That hit chased Prickett from the game, and Fayetteville reliever Matt Milroy walked the first two batters he faced to force home Matt Ciraco and give the Marlins their fourth run.
But in the bottom of the inning, Fayetteville responded to take an 8-4 lead with three more runs against the Marlin bullpen, led by Eric Grabe’s two-run homer off of Chris Roman. Grabe’s blast was the first home run by either team in a Morehead City game this season.
Fayetteville then capitalized on two Marlin errors in the home half of the seventh to put up three more runs and extend their lead to 11-4. Milroy struck out the side in the ninth inning, and racked up five strikeouts during his outing out of the SwampDog bullpen.
The Marlins will look to rebound Saturday as they host a doubleheader against the Columbia Blowfish on notepad giveaway night sponsored by Time Warner Cable. Each game is scheduled for 7 innings, with the first pitch of game one set for 5:05. Game two will begin approximately 45 minutes after the first game concludes.
The Morehead City Marlins are the newest member of the Coastal Plain League. The Coastal Plain League is the nation’s hottest collegiate baseball league. Celebrating its 14th season, the Coastal Plain League features 15 teams playing in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. The CPL gives players the chance to refine their skills with the use of wooden bats. Players are housed with local host families for the summer and past experiences have been very positive for both players and hosts.