(HOLLY SPRINGS, N.C.) Coming into Thursday, the Salamanders were winless in games decided by one run with an 0-6 mark in such contests. That streak came to an end on Thursday night, as the Manders topped the Wilmington Sharks 4-3 to pick up their fourth win of the year.
It appeared early that Thursday's game could be an offensive shootout, with the score tied 3-3 after three innings. Wilmington scored a run in each of the first three frames off Holly Springs starter Bailey Dees (Penn State), whose stuff looked good but was hurt by two errors and and RBI infield hit in the process. Dees went four innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on five hits, strikning out seven. Salamander pitching held Wilmington scoreless from the fourth inning on.
Offensively, things got started quickly for the Manders. In the bottom of the first, shortstop Cam Locklear (Liberty)walked with one out. After stealing second, he then stole third and trotted home as the throw from Wilmington catcher Zachary Bridges sailed into left field. Two batters later, Chase Allen (Limestone) walked and came around to score on an RBI double to left center by second baseman Daulton Martin (Tusculum). Martin's double gave the Manders a 2-1 lead.
After Wilmington plated one in the top of the second, right fielder Angel Zarate (UNC) led off the bottom half with a line drive double down the left field line. After advancing to third on a wild pitch, he was driven home on a line drive up the middle by third baseman Jacob Maekawa (San Diego State), his first hit at Ting Stadium this summer.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Manders got their fourth run on the first hit by another infielder. This time Peyton Isaacson (St. Leo) launched a no-doubt home run to right field to put Holly Springs back in front 4-3, and that's all the Manders would need on Thursday.
Christian Scafidi (Penn) came on in relief in the top of the fifth inning and was as dominant as dominant can be. The right-hander went the rest of the way, tossing five shutout innings of relief, allowing just two hits and striking out eleven hitters. At one point, Scafidi struck out six consecutive batters and eight out of nine. The precision and electricity of his fastball and breaking ball left the Wilmington hitters no chance, as the sophomore was the winning pitcher, his first victory of the season.
The win was the Salamanders fourth of 2018, moving their record to 4-9. Wilmington dropped to 6-6 with the loss.
The Manders are back in action Friday night against the Fayetteville Swampdogs for a 7:00 first pitch. Friday marks Superhero Night at Ting Stadium, where the Salamanders will wear special Superhero alternate jerseys. These jerseys will be auctioned off online with all benefits going to the American Cancer Society. We hope to see all of you at the ballpark!