The Marlins struck for six runs in the seventh inning on Friday against the Tobs, turning what was a close pitcher's duel into an eventual 10-2 win for the Marlins. It was five fielding miscues that haunted the Tobs, as Morehead City's first eight runs were all unearned.
The biggest error came in that seventh inning, when with two outs and two runners on base, third baseman Jake Armstrong misplayed a ground ball off the bat of Johnny Caputo. At that point, it was a 2-1 Marlins' lead, and the inning should have been over.
Insetad, Dalton Britt stepped up to the plate with the bases loaded, and was able to trickle a soft liner through the hole at shortstop and into short right field, bringing in two runs and making it a 4-1 game. That also spelled the end of the night for right-hander Quinn Atwood, who had a lot of success against the Marlins both earlier this season, and early in the game.
"When the pitcher is pitching really well, you have to take advantage of an error and that is what happened," Britt said. "That is what good teams do. He was locating his fastball well all night, that's why we really weren't connecting with it very well. But that one was a bit outside, and I kind of guessed he was going to throw it there and I got the barrel on it and it scooted through."
"The whole at bat was very good," Marlins head coach Sam Carel added. "He was able to work the count full and foul off a pitch, and against a guy that threw very well against us tonight and had a history of throwing well against us. For him to come [through] with that big hit was huge."
Four runs was enough to win the ballgame, but nobody told the Morehead City offense that. They went on to bat around plus one batter in the inning, plating six total runs in the frame. Kyle Carroll had an RBI walk, and Eduardo Castro also had a two-run single—his second single of the inning. All of the runs came with two outs, and all were unearned.
"We are proud of the at bats they guys took," Carel said. "We really felt the at bats were very good."
They tacked on two more runs for good measure in the eighth when Britt lined a two-run home run to right off lefty Reagan Pope—his first round-tripper of the season.
Britt finished the day 2-for-4 with a home run, four RBI, three runs scored and a walk. In his last five games he has nine runs batted in, including multi-RBI efforts in three of those games. In ten games this season, he is hitting .405 with 11 RBI.
Castro went 2-for-4 with a run scored and two driven in, bringing his season RBI total up to 15, while Carroll was 1-for-2 with two RBI, a walk and two runs scored.
All of this offense backed a stellar outing from right-hander Cal Quantrill in what was his last outing as a Morehead City Marlin. Quantrill was dominant on Saturday, spotting his fastball and using his off-speed as both called strikes and chase pitches. His slider was outstanding Friday, and it featured exceptional velocity and lateral movement.
"I came this summer to work on the slider and curveball, and this was my last chance so I figured I had better throw it enough to make it worth it," Quantrill said. "I had quite a few strikeouts on it, so I'm going to call it a success."
That success came in the form of seven strong innings, during which he allowed just four hits and one run while tying a season-high in strikeouts with 11.
"I left it all out there," Quantrill said. "I really just did the same thing I have been doing all year, the stuff was just a little bit better today."
Quantrill finishes up his CPL season with a 3-0 record, 33 strikeouts in 22.2 innings, a .160 opponents batting average, a .97 WHIP, and an ERA of 1.59, which qualifies as the lowest earned run average ever for any Marlins' pitcher with 20 or more innings in a season.
"He gave us a heck of a six weeks here," Carel said. "The game tonight was a microcosm of how he goes about his business. Whenever there was any trouble he was able to come right back and get out of it—get a strikeout, get a popup and get us back in the house. We are going to miss him."
"I had a good time in Morehead City," Quantrill said. "[There is] great fan support, lots of people show up to every game, and Buddy [Bengel] does a real good job. I got to work on some stuff I needed to work on and I enjoyed my time here."
Matt Tindall worked a scoreless eighth inning and Julian Larimer finished out the game as the Marlins ensure with their win Friday that they will at least be in a tie for first place for another day. The Marlins have now won 10 of their first 13 games to start the second half.
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).