The most successful regular season in Morehead City Marlins history took another big step forward on Friday night.
The Marlins topped the Edenton Steamers 4-3 at Historic Hicks field for a new franchise-record 36th win of the year. The win clinched the best overall record in the CPL for Morehead City, meaning they will carry home field advantage throughout the Petitt Cup Playoffs.
Going into the 8th inning, the Marlins trailed 3-2, but drew 5 walks in the inning, including RBI free passes from Jace Mercer (Cincinnati) and Blaze Glenn (Youngstown State) to score a pair of runs and take the lead for good. The Marlins did not have a single hit in that pivotal 8th inning, but drew 10 walks total on the night.
On the mound, the Marlins started off with a bullpen day, having Leo Perez (Texas A&M CC), Ryder Yakel (Harding), Mike Appel (Central Connecticut State), Cal Hehnke (Omaha) and Ashton Raines (Bloomsburg) combine to throw the first 4.1 innings.
Hehnke had uncharacteristic struggles, surrendering 3 earned runs in the 4th inning. Justin Drpich provided the key two-run double to give the Steamers the lead in the inning.
Midway through the fifth inning, Tyler Blomster (Colorado School of Mines) took over for Morehead City and would go on to pitch the rest of the way. The right-hander allowed only three hits, walked none, and struck out 6 in his 4.2 shutout innings.
Both teams had numerous scoring chances throughout the game, but struggled to produce with runners on base. The two teams combined to go 5-31 (.161) with runners on and stranded 19 runners total.
With the loss, the Steamers fall a full game back of the Peninsula Pilots in the North division, and will be playing for their lives tomorrow when the Marlins and Steamers square off again in the regular season finale at Big Rock Stadium.
The Marlins will host the Fayetteville SwampDogs in the first round of the postseason on Sunday at Big Rock Stadium.