MOREHEAD CITY, N.C. – Shawn Armstrong threw seven strong
innings and the Morehead City Marlins offense broke out if its
recent slide, dispatching the Fayetteville SwampDogs, 9-1 at Puck
O’Neal Field at Big Rock Stadium on Friday Night. The win
snapped the Marlins’ four-game losing streak.
Armstrong (W, 2-0) started for the second time as a Marlin and retired the first four Fayetteville (1-0) hitters he faced. After Luke Smierciak’s run-scoring single gave Morehead City an early 1-0 lead, Armstrong worked out of a two-on, one-out jam in the fourth to preserve the advantage.
The SwampDog offense had its best chance in the sixth as they loaded the bases with one out. Though Brandon Padula’s groundout did score a run, Armstrong struck out Jay Cannon to end the threat. He then capped his outing with two strikeouts in his final frame, finishing with six strikeouts and just two hits allowed in seven innings.
The Marlins gave Armstrong plenty of run support in the fifth and sixth innings. With Morehead City leading 1-0 entering the home half of the fifth, Zach Borenstein and Smierciak each delivered RBI-singles off of Fayetteville starter Ryan Longstreth (L, 1-2). Brian Litwin then scored Borenstein with a sacrifice fly to make the score 4-0 after five.
During the Marlins’ next turn at bat, Chad Oberacker sparked a three-run inning. With the bases loaded, he lined the first pitch he saw from reliver Nate Kerkhoff into center field, driving home Corey Bass and Joe Sclafani. A junior from Tennessee Tech, Oberacker finished 1-for-4 with three RBIs in his Morehead City debut.
Up 7-1 in the bottom of the eighth, the Marlins then added two more runs when Oberacker grounded into a fielder’s choice. As Jordan Dean tried to turn the double play, his throw went well wide of the first base bag, allowing Bass and Sclafani to score on the play and push the margin to 9-1.
Jeff Guthridge pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning while Ryan Smith struck out two in the ninth in his first inning as a Marlin. A right-hander from Dartmouth, Smith got Cannon to go down swinging to end the game.
The Marlins featured a balanced offense as five different players recorded two hits while Sclafani and Borenstein each scored three runs and Bass added two. In his Marlin debut, Stephen Marino reached base twice with a walk and a single.
Morehead City will hit the road tomorrow to face the Columbia Blowfish in a doubleheader. Each game is scheduled for 7 innings, with game one set to begin at 5:05.
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.