GAME RECAP: Datoc “saves” the night, Morehead City holds off Petersburg Generals 3-2

GAME RECAP: Datoc “saves” the night, Morehead City holds off Petersburg Generals 3-2

By Corey Hodges (Media Relations Director/Play-By-Play Voice, Morehead City Marlins)

It took 13 innings and a walk-off two-run homer for Morehead City to finish off the Petersburg Generals the last time the two Coastal Plain League Eastern Division teams met back on June 22nd at Puck O'Neal Field in Carteret County (4-2 FINAL).

Less than one week later, Morehead City and Petersburg were at it once again but this time the action unfolded at the Generals' house (Petersburg Sports Complex south of Richmond, Virginia) on Tuesday (June 28th) evening.

For Petersburg, the change in scenery wasn't the only difference between matchup one and two as they also experienced what it felt like to trail the Marlins for a change (Generals led Morehead City 2-1 in first meeting  before surrendering advantage late).

On this night, though, the home team didn't make a comeback.

Thanks to a Christian Campbell (Rutgers University) two-run (Tanner Kirwer, Matthew Batten) single shot through the left field gap in top third play, the Marlins struck first against Petersburg as they grabbed an early 2-0 lead over a Generals squad which entered the evening losers in nine of their last 11 games.

After the Marlins enlarged their cushion to three runs of distance following an error-aided (Generals committed throwing miscue to first base) score chalked up by Michael Druhan (Spring Hill College) in the away half of the sixth, Petersburg countered with solo scores in bottom sixth (Calvin Scott) and bottom eighth (Ryan Cox) action to send play to the ninth with Morehead City on top by just one run.

Right-handed hurler Brady Womacks (Oral Roberts University) entered for Petersburg in the top half of the ninth and did exactly what he did against the Marlins back on the 22nd: throw two strikeouts.

But what Womacks didn't do on Tuesday as opposed to six nights ago was surrender two runs, two hits and a walk (his rocky inning of work in the first matchup with MHC resulted in the Marlins walking off to victory).

A clean top ninth defensively set the stage for Petersburg to erase a slim one-run advantage for the visitors and finally snap their slide.  

What the Generals didn't count on, however, was an equally strong frame of hill heroics from Morehead City in the bottom portion of the ninth as RHP Jared Datoc (Georgia Tech) hopped on for the Marlins and silenced the Generals for good by giving up just one base hit while ringing up two.

For Datoc, a tidy ninth handed him a team-best second save of the 2016 season all the while sending Morehead City home with a 13-11 overall record in hand.

After the Marlins stumbled to the finish line on Sunday (June 26th) against visiting Savannah (MHC gave up five top ninth runs en route to a 12-3 loss at the hands of Bananas), Morehead City was much more cognizant and aware of the proceedings against Petersburg after an off day allowed the team to recharge following an eight games in seven days week prior (6/20-6/26).

Despite posting an error for the ninth straight outing, Morehead City found respite from the mistake in the forms of both aforementioned Christian Campbell (hit, two RBIs in four plate appearances) and Tyler Weyenberg (Presbyterian College), the latter of which finished the night as the only Marlin to post more than one base hit (two) while also grabbing a MHC-best seventh double of the summer.

Starting righty Sean Mason (Appalachian State) went five innings on the mound and struck out three Generals to push his 2016 K total to 21 (he became just the third MHC hurler to reach 20+ punchout territory) all the while earning his first pitching victory of the season (1-2).

Relieved by another right-hander (Tad Ratliff, Lenoir-Rhyne University) in the sixth, Mason finished the evening with eight base knocks allowed but just one of Petersburg's eventual two runs given up off his glove.

As for Ratliff, he subbed in for Mason and proceeded to fan four Generals in three innings of bump duty while gifting Petersburg's second and final run of the evening.

The Generals (7-17) lost their fourth in a row on Tuesday despite multi-hit nights turned in by both Adam Bauer (Murray State University) and Ryan Cox (Kutztown University), each of whom posted three base hits to combine for six of Petersburg's 10 knocks on the night.

Starting RHP Michael Kammerer (Kutztown University) fell to 0-1 on the season but only did so after striking out seven Marlins in six full innings of work.

Morehead City is back in action on Wednesday (June 29th) night (7:05 PM first pitch) at Puck O'Neal Field (Big Rock Stadium) as they host visiting Edenton (Steamers: 9-15) in meeting number five of ten on the season(series tied 2-2).

Play-by-play coverage of Marlins/Steamers on "Scout Night/Buffalo Wild Wings Wednesday presented by Buffalo Wild Wings" can be heard via CPL WebPass (coverage begins shortly after 7 PM).

Additionally, fans can follow along with the Marlins on Twitter (@mhcmarlins) for inning-by-inning updates.

Follow the author on Twitter, too! @The_CoreyHodges