MOREHEAD CITY, N.C. — The Morehead City Marlins rode strong pitching and some clutch hits to a 5-3 victory over the Fayetteville SwampDogs in the East Division Championship. The Marlins will host the winner of Peninsula/Wilson in the semi-finals on Tuesday.
The Marlins went with their All-Star starter Eric Miles on the mound, and he delivered with 5.1 innings of strong work, allowing just 2 earned runs on three hits and striking out six. Despite Cameron Phelts launching a solo home run in the first at bat of the game, Miles bounced back nicely. The only other run he allowed was a solo shot to Brandon Talley in the 4th.
At the plate for Morehead City, they brought one run across on a throwing error from Konner Piotto in the 3rd, and would tie the game on a Dusty Baker homer in the 5th. It was the 4th home run for Baker on the summer, and his first long ball since June 25.
Later in the 5th inning, Hunter Shepherd added an RBI single to give the Marlins their first lead of the night. The SwampDogs would answer back with a solo shot from Alex Kachler in the 7th, but Cal Hehnke retired the next six batters to keep the game tied into the 8th inning.
In the bottom of the 8th, the Marlin offense rallied with a walk from Jack Harris, a single from Zack Miller then an intentional walk to Jacob Reimold. With one out in the inning, Daniel Little came off the bench for a crucial pinch hit at bat. Little delivered with a sacrifice fly to left-center, to give the Marlins a 4-3 lead. Then on an appeal attempt from pitcher John Barr to 2nd, pinch runner Tony Mack took off from 3rd and successfully stole home to extend the Marlin lead to 5-3.
Hehnke stayed on for the 9th inning, and put up his 2nd straight scoreless frame to lock down the win for Morehead City. The victory marked the 4th of the summer for Hehnke.
The Tobs and Pilots will resume their suspended game tomorrow at 1 p.m., and the Marlins will host the winner of that contest on Tuesday at Big Rock Stadium.