Morehead City, N.C. - - - The Morehead City Marlins have eclipsed the .500 plateau for the first time in 2017 with a thrilling 7-5 victory over the visiting Wilmington Sharks from Puck O'Neal Field at Big Rock Stadium Thursday evening. The Marlins beat the Sharks for the third consecutive game after sweeping the doubleheader last night in Wilmington.
Morehead City improves to 8-7, while Wilmington falls to 5-9. The Marlins return to action tomorrow night when they travel to Wilmington to face the Sharks for the fourth straight contest. First pitch is slated for a 7:05 p.m. start from Buck Hardee Field at Legion Stadium.
Marlins shortstop Chandler Corley (Armstrong State) continued his scorching start to the season, finishing 2-for-3 with two runs scored and a RBI. Designated hitter Derek Olenchuk (Newberry) tallied a game-high three RBIs in a 2-for-4 effort at the plate, while second baseman Steven Taylor (Mercer) posted a 2-for-3 mark. Left fielder Sammy Miller (Longwood) was for 1-for-4 with two runs scored.
For Wilmington, second baseman Luke Morgan (College of Charleston) topped the Sharks offensive charts hitting 2-for-2 with a pair of RBIs and a run scored. Shortstop Cam Locklear (Liberty) was 1-for-4 with two RBIs due to his two-run shot in the top of the seventh. First baseman Dominic Cuoci (Saint Joseph's) was 1-for-4 with a run scored.
Morehead City started strong offensively with a RBI triple from Corley followed by a RBI groundout by Olenchuk to give the hosts an early 2-0 advantage in the opening home frame. Miller scored the Marlins third run of the contest on a throwing error by Sharks catcher Thatcher Coleman (Presbyterian) to extend the lead out to 3-0 in the bottom of the third.
The Marlins plated two more runs when Miller scored on an error by the shortstop along with first baseman Nick Podkul (Notre Dame) advancing home on a wild pitch to make it a 5-0 MHC advantage. Wilmington tallied its first two scores on a two-RBI double by Morgan in the visiting half of the sixth inning to cut the deficit down to 5-2.
A clutch RBI single by Olenchuk added a much-needed insurance run for the Marlins in the following frame to extend the lead out to 6-2. The Sharks continued to answer with the bats when Locklear drilled a two-run homer over the left field wall to trim the margin down to 6-4 in the top of the seventh.
Both teams would exchange runs in each frame of the eighth when Walker Imwalle (Davidson) ripped a RBI double to make it a one-run game at 6-5. Olenchuk stroked another huge RBI single in the home half to plate the game-sealing run at 7-5. MHC right-handed pitcher Marshall Thompson (Lander) retired the Sharks in order with two swinging strikeouts to close out the victory in the top of the ninth.
Marlins starting right-handed pitcher Patrick McDonald (Notre Dame) got the win, improving to 1-1. McDonald posted his longest outing of the season, tossing six innings with two earned runs allowed on four hits and a season-high seven strikeouts. Sharks starting righty Breydan Gorham (UNC Wilmington) took the loss, falling to 1-1. Thompson earned his first save of the 2017 campaign.
The Morehead City Marlins travel to Wilmington tomorrow night before wrapping up their brief two-game road trip versus the Edenton Steamers Saturday evening at 7:05 p.m. MHC returns home to the friendly confines of Big Rock Stadium to face Edenton on Father's Day (Sunday, June 18) and Wilmington the following night (June 19). Both game times are set for the aforementioned 7:05 p.m. start, while all the play-by-play action can be heard live on the CPL Web Pass and on Twitter (@mhcmarlins).
About the CPL
The Coastal Plain League is the nation's premier summer collegiate baseball league. Celebrating its 21st season in 2017, the CPL features 15 teams playing in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. The CPL has had nearly 1,300 alumni drafted and 95 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.com and follow us via Twitter @CPLBaseball.