(HOLLY SPRINGS, N.C.) The Salamanders came into Tuesday 0-4 against the Morehead City Marlins on the season, and that mark fell to 0-5 after Thursday's ballgame as the Marlins won the game by a 6-4 score.
The scoring opened in a big way Thursday as Morehead City left fielder Joe Mason hit a grand slam just over the top of the padded wall in right with one out in the top of the third. The bases were loaded cheaply in the inning off Holly Springs starter Riley Myers (Catawba) off an infield single and two walks. Myers took the loss Thursday, going five innings, allowing five runs (four earned) on four hits, striking out three and walking three.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, the Salamanders answered back. With nobody out in the inning, an Angel Zarate (UNC) sacrifice bunt moved Carter Williams (NCCU) to third, who led off the inning with a single, and Cam Locklear (Liberty) to second, who had walked. The next man up Chase Allen (Llimestone) knocked in both runs with an RBI single to center field to cut the Morehead City lead to 4-2.
In the top of the fifth, after a Chase Allen error allowed Marlins right fielder Will Johnson to reach, he was eventually scored from third base on a Joe Mason sacrifice fly to extend the Morehead City lead to 5-2.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, Holly Springs cut into the lead again. After two straight errors by Morehead City second baseman Luke Shadid began the innings, both of those runs would come around to score. After Angel Zarate and Cam Locklear moved to second and third respectively on seperate stolen base plays, first baseman Trey McDyre (Liberty) hit a sacrifice fly to center field to score Locklear and cut the deficit to two at 5-3. The next batter, second baseman Jacob Maekawa (San Diego State) singled in Zarate on a soft liner to center to make it a 5-4 ballgame.
That was all the Manders would get on Thursday night.
In the top of the ninth inning, Salamander reliever Evan Moores (Wright State) hit pinch hitter Riley Campbell to lead off the inning. Campbell then stole second base and was sacrificed over to third by shortstop Alex Pimentel. Campbell would moments later come in to score on a wild pitch to make it a 6-4 game.
In the bottom of the ninth, the Manders were retired in order by Marlins closer Kenny Wells to close out the ballgame. Thursday's loss marked the fourth straight for Holly Springs, moving the Manders' record to 7-17 on the season. Morehead City, who has already clinched the CPL East First Half championship, improved to a league-best 18-4 with the victory.
The Salamanders travel to Fayetteville Friday for a battle with the division rival Swampdogs before returning home Saturday for a 6:00 first pitch against the Asheboro Copperheads. Saturday marks Star Wars night at Ting Stadium, where the Salamanders will be wearing special edition Star Wars jerseys. The jerseys will be auctioned off via silent auction from first pitch until 8:00pm Saturday. Proceeds from the silent auction will benefit Special Olympics North Carolina.