(HOLLY SPRINGS, N.C.) - The bad luck that has plagued the Salamanders all season continued on Sunday when Holly Springs lost by one run for the eighth time in 2018, falling to the Martinsvulle Mustangs 5-4 at Ting Stadium.
Fast forward to the bottom of the ninth inning, which the Salamanders entered trailing 5-3. Angel Zarate (UNC) lined a single to left field and an error by Martinsville left fielder Greg Lowe allowed Zarate to move up to second base with nobody out. Two batters later, Chris Crabtree (Duke) lined his third hit of the game into right field, a single that scored Zarate to cut the deficit to one and bring the winning run to the plate with one out.
After a groundout moved Crabtree to second, pinch hitter Peyton Isaacson (St. Leo) stepped in as the potential winning run with two outs. With Isaacson up in the count 2-0, he swung and missed at a fastball from Martinsville closer Ryan Evans. On the pitch, catcher Matt Siedem threw the ball down to second base where Crabtree was tagged out, caught straying too far off the bag. The pickoff ended the ballgame, to move Martinsville to 7-9 and drop the Salamanders to 4-12.
Offensively, the Manders got on the board from a Chase Allen 2-RBI single in the bottom of the fifth, scoring Angel Zarate and Chris Crabtree. The next inning, the third run for the Manders crossed when Jack Goertzen (Shippensburg) hit his first home run of the season, a no-doubter to right field that bounced onto Highway 55.
The Manders had a solid overall performance on the mound, with Riley Myers (Catawba) getting the start and pitching into the sixth inning. The right-hander had solid command of all of his pitches, and finished the night going 5-plus innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on seven hits, striking out five and walking one. Myers' only big mistake was a fastball that Martinsville third baseman Joe Boyle hit for a two-run homer to left in the top of the fourth.
Ryan Tapp (Slippery Rock) came out of the bullpen into a second and third, nobody out situation in the top of the sixth in relief of Myers and was able to wiggle out of the jam without further damage by inducing a strikeout, a fielder's choice and a groundout to first base. Tapp would also toss a scoreless seventh.
The eventual losing pitcher for the Manders would be Maddex Richardson (Western Kentucky), who allowed two runs on three hits in the eighth inning, one of which was a swinging bunt up the third base line. The loss for the right hander put his record at 0-2. Noah Jones (ECU) would then come on and throw a scoreless top of the ninth.
The Manders are now 1-8 in games decided by one run and Sunday's loss pushed Holly Springs' losing streak to three straight.
Holly Springs is back in action Tuesday night after having Monday off. The Wilmington Sharks come to town for a 7:00 first pitch from Ting Stadium. Something has to give on Tuesday night, as the Manders have lost three straight games but the Sharks are scuffling much more, losers of seven straight ballgames (overall record of 5-10).