Liam Hicks took a first pitch fastball from Marlin pitcher Leo Perez and drove it opposite field over the left centerfield wall to deliver a 5 - 4 walk off victory against the Morehead City Marlins Friday night at Ting Park.
The Salamanders drew first blood in the second inning when Ian Bailey scored the first run of the game from an RBI single off the bat of shortstop Tyler Smith. Another Salamander run was added in the bottom of the fifth inning when Charlie Benson hit his first home run of the year with a line drive over the left center field wall. Holly Spring starter Hayden Thomas held the Marlins at bay for five innings while striking out nine batters through that period.
The Marlins, however, came alive in the sixth inning, plating two runs on four hits. Salamander pitcher Parker Thode came on in relief of Thomas with one out in the sixth inning with two Marlins aboard. After a hit by pitch to Ty Barclay, Thode forced a fly out to left field, and a ground out to Charlie Benson to leave the bases full of Marlins as the inning came to a close. The Marlins added solo runs in the seventh and eighth innings to earn a 4 - 2 lead as the Salamanders came to the plate in the bottom of the eighth inning. Holly Springs would then add two more runs of their own in the bottom of the eighth to tie the score. Chris Crabtree delivered his eighth home run of the year with a 410 foot blast to center field. Ian Bailey would then tie the scoring run from third base when pinch hitter Will Hoyle legged out an infield single to Marlin shortstop Bryan Kowalski.
Salamander reliever Kyle Davis would then set the middle part of the Marlins down in order in the top of the ninth inning to keep the score knotted at four. Then with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning Liam Hicks belted a first pitch fastball from Marlin reliever Leo Perez over the left center field wall for his fourth home run of the summer. The walk off home run was the first this season in Ting Park and sealed the second victory of the second half for Holly Springs.
The Salamanders will travel to Wilmington to face the Sharks in the final game before the Coastal Plain League All Star break.