June 7, 2014 - Coastal Plain League (Coastal Plain) - Morehead City Marlins
PENINSULA, V.A.- The Marlins strung together four consecutive hits in the ninth inning on Saturday against Pilot's reliever Wes McGuire, but fell short as they were unable to overcome a three-run deficit, dropping the second game of their five-game road trip to the Pilots, 5-3.
Morehead City scored one run in the inning on a Matt Simmons pinch-hit, RBI double to make it a 5-3 ballgame, but left the tying run stranded, despite him being in scoring position with just one out in the inning. Tyler Burden, Kirk Morgan and Manny Pazos all singled prior to Simmons run-scoring double, but Blake Graham and Trent Leimkuehler both flew out to end the ballgame. The Marlins were also hurt by a base running mistake from Burden, who was thrown out in that ninth inning trying to go first to third on Morgan's single.
But despite the outcome, the Marlins showed a resiliency that had not been there in the first few games of the season. They were certainly not for lack of hard-hit balls in the game, putting together eight hits (three for extra bases), including four hits in that ninth inning.
"[The ninth inning we had], it shows character," head coach Sam Carel said. "Our guys play hard. They show up and they play hard, every out."
The Marlins were trailing by just one run heading into the bottom of the eighth inning, but Peninsula tacked on a couple of insurance runs that proved to be all-important. Logan Hershenow, who was beginning his third full inning of work in relief, allowed three hits to the first four batters, including two doubles, which was enough to push the two runs across.
Hershenow came on in relief of Davis Kirkpatrick in the fifth inning, after Kirkpatrick began to falter. The right-hander from East Carolina was solid in his first four innings, retiring the side in order three times and posting three strikeouts while walking just one. His only hiccup was a two-RBI double he allowed to Garrett Brooks in the fourth.
But his fifth inning was different. Kirkpatrick allowed a hit, walked three consecutive batters, threw three wild pitches, and allowed two stolen bases. That led to the go ahead run for the Pilots, and also led to Kirkpatrick's early exit. He took the loss, falling to 0-2 on the season.
Morehead City did jump out to a very early lead in the game, after second baseman Nick Lombardi crushed a solo home run to left with two gone in the first inning. It is already his second home run of the season in just his fourth game. After going 2-for-4 tonight, he is now hitting .429 with two homers, two doubles, three RBI and five runs. He is currently the team leader in all of those categories except RBI, in which he is third.
"He has played very well since he's been here," Carel said. "He has obviously seen the ball well."
Blake Graham (1-for-5, RBI double) and Simmons (1-for-1, RBI double) were responsible for the other Morehead City runs.
"I really like our team," Carel said. "I really like our character, I really like our talent, and I really like how hard we play. I really like our team."
The Marlins will play the third game of their five straight road games on Monday in Florence, with first pitch set for 7:05.