MOREHEAD CITY, N.C.—The Marlins and Steamers were tied, 6-6, heading into the 7th until a six-run rally, all coming with two outs, broke the contest open for good in a 12-6 loss on Thursday night at Big Rock Stadium.
"They're just a good team and you can't give them anything," said Danny Higginbotham. "You have to go after them, try to get a win, and not make many mistakes."
After retiring the first 12 batters he faced out of the bullpen, Tyler Gunnin (West Georgia) allowed a double, followed by a RBI single, giving the Steamers' their final lead of the night. That after throwing three quality innings with a great fastball (89-91 MPH) and back-door curve combination.
The Marlins (7-9) then sent out Keller Bradford (ULM) who allowed two unearned runs following a base hit from Rosselli, further extending the Steamers' lead. Max Herrmann (Rutgers) came in to stop the two-out bleeding only to allow a 2-RBI triple to Cole Gruber, who eventually came around to score an inside-the-park homerun on an error from the cutoff throw. All in all, the Steamers tied a season high, one they set here at Big Rock Stadium, pounding out another 15 hits against Marlins' pitching.
"Their hitters made adjustments," said pitching coach Danny Higginbotham. "Give credit to them, they are good hitters."
Entering Chick-fil-A Night 2-0 on the year when tied after six innings, the Marlins were unable to put together any significant rally once the Steamers jumped on top 12-6, failing to collect a hit following the 5th inning. That was at the point when Dominick Cammarata (Tennessee) drove in Blake Graham (Missouri State), who collected a leadoff triple into left. Playing in his first game of the season, the second-year Marlin finished the night 2-4 with two runs scored.
"I had a good swing on the triple," said Graham, who returned to action Thursday night after playing in the NCAA Super Regional against Arkansas. "I was pleased overall, but I (still) have some things to work on."
Graham wasn't the only star of the night for the Marlins, as Stephen Wallace (Mt. Olive) belted his fourth home run of the season, tying the game at two in the second inning. The bats came alive against starter Jacob Banks, who allowed five runs in the frame, capped with a two-out RBI single from Luke Bolka (ECU) reaching base in each of his first five games with the squad.
Hayden Jones (Oklahoma) battled through 2.1 innings of work but could never fully control the pesky Steamers' lineup, which belted two home runs, reached on five walks from the Marlins starter and capitalized on four errors on the night. That said, the Marlins were tied heading into the seventh against the team with the best record in the Coastal Plain League, improving to 15-4 on the year.
Following the loss, the Marlins continue a tough stretch with 10 games over the next nine days. The Marlins will now head to Wilson tomorrow night before traveling to Edenton on Saturday. The next home game will be Father's Day, this Sunday, as the Marlins host the Wilmington Sharks.
FINAL FOUR FINS
-In a strange twist on the box score, Matt Collins (Texas A&M) did not register an official at bat. Yet the No. 9 hole hitter reached base four times, recording three stolen bases, while scoring once.
-Blake Graham became the third Marlin to record two hits in his season debut, matching Matt Winaker (Stanford) and Luke Bolka (ECU) who each went 2-4.
-The Marlins have now launched home runs in each of the past seven games.
The Coastal Plain League is the nation's hottest summer collegiate baseball league. Celebrating its 19th season in 2015, the CPL features 15 teams playing in 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. The CPL has had over 1,200 alumni drafted and 79 of those – including 2011 AL MVP and Cy Young winner Justin Verlander – make their Major League debut; while another notable alum - Russell Wilson - won Super Bowl XLVIII. For more information on the Coastal Plain League, please visit the league website at www.coastalplain.comand follow us via Twitter @CPLBaseball.