Kurt Lipscomb cruised through eight innings on Friday night against Wilson, allowing just an unearned run to the Tobs, which helped Morehead City to roll to a 3-1 victory and remain in first place in the CPL East.
Lipscomb entered the game having allowed just one unearned run in his first ten innings of work, and continued to pitch effectively in this third start of the season. The right-hander from Faulkner University retired the first eight batters he faced, and struck out four in his first three innings of work. He allowed just four hits on the evening—doubles in the third and fifth and a couple of singles in the eighth. Through his first seven innings he did not allow a runner to reach third, and allowed just four runners in scoring position for the whole game.
"It's always huge when you can get a quality start like that," said pitching coach Aaron Meade said. "He was in control the whole game. It was nice, even in a 3-1 game we felt like we were in control the whole time."
Lipscomb's success in the game stemmed from his fastball command. He used the fastball early, and threw first pitch strikes to 18 batters he faced. He also allowed just five three-ball counts throughout his whole outing.
"Before the game even started, coach Meade told me we are going to establish the fastball fast and early in the count so I can get my pitch count up a little higher and go a little longer," Lipscomb said.
"In his last start he sort of lacked that [fastball command]," Meade said. "I told him we are going to have fastball command and let the off-speed work off of that and that is what he did. He put that fastball wherever he wanted. He was just bearing down and not relying on the off-speed early, just attacking fastball."
His point-on command helped him to establish his off-speed, which included a hard knuckleball that Lipscomb threw with some frequency in the ballgame.
"I threw it a lot," Lipscomb said. "If I got 0-2 or 1-2 I would usually throw it. The curveball [was] a go to pitch too, and I was just working it off the fastball."
His earned run average for the season remains at zero, as his innings pitched total has increased to 18. For the season, he has allowed just 14 hits and has struck out 13 batters.
Morehead City tacked on another run in the fourth courtesy of an RBI single from Matt Simmons, his 10th RBI of the season.
Jacob Bruce had a single, run stolen base and a walk in the game, Caputo was 2-for-3 with a stolen base and a run, and Graham extended his season high hit streak to nine games with a 2-for-4 effort, a run and a stolen base.
Casey Eskew came on for the save after Lipscomb departed having thrown 110 pitches in the game, and he locked the door on the Tobs. Eskew struck out Matthew Parrish and Matt Rubino to start the inning, then retired Justin Carroll on a fly to right to end the game. Eskew now has four saves in four opportunities.
"That was big for him," Meade said. "It has been tough, we have not really had any save opportunities [lately] so it was big to get him out there in that situation and get that 1-2-3 inning."
"That was probably the best inning he has thrown in his last few outings," said head coach Sam Carel. "He was very dominant tonight. It was nice to win a 3-1 game. We have had a few close games, some higher scoring games, but it was nice to be in a lower scoring, close game that we were in control of the whole time."
The Marlins will travel to Wilmington on Saturday to play the Sharks before returning home for the All-Star Break in Morehead City. First pitch in Wilmington is at 7:05 p.m.
The Coastal Plain League is the nation's hottest summer collegiate baseball league. Celebrating its 18th season in 2014, the CPL features 14 teams playing North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. The CPL gives college 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. Furthermore, the CPL has had over 1,100 alumni drafted and 65 alums - including 2011 AL MVP and Cy Young winner Justin Verlander - make their Major League debut thus far. For more information on the Coastal Plain League, please visit the league website at www.coastalplain.com, and be sure to friend us on Facebook (at www.facebook.com/coastalplainleague) and follow us via Twitter (@CPLBaseball).