August 4, 2011 - Coastal Plain League (Coastal Plain) - Wilmington Sharks
The Wilmington Sharks rallied back from an early deficit to tie the game on a Daniel Aldrich solo shot in the bottom of the seventh, only to watch their following chances be erased by the Fayetteville Swampdogs as the visitors posted a four spot in the top of the 11th as they won Game One of the Best-of-Three Opening Round of the CPL Petitt Cup playoffs 5-1 in Wilmington Thursday night.
The Sharks now face the task of having to win back-to-back games in Fayetteville over the next two nights to keep their 2011 season alive.
After allowing an unearned run in the top of the first inning, Sharks starter Mat Batts did not factor in the decision despite going eight innings and allowing only three hits and walking two while striking out eight Swampdogs batters.
Aldrich finished 2-for-4 with an RBI and a walk, while Justyn Carter also had two hits and a walk for the Sharks. Eric Mayers had the only other Wilmington hit.
The Sharks, who were held hitless until the bottom of the fifth when Aldrich singled, tied the game in the bottom of the seventh when Aldrich connected on an opposite-field homer to left-center field on a 1-2 pitch from Fayetteville starter Derek Brooks.
Wilmington had its chances to take the lead or win it in the eighth, ninth and tenth innings.
In the eighth, the Sharks got a two-out double from Eric Mayers before he advanced to third on a passed ball during Carter's at-bat. After Carter drew a walk, Alex Freedman ended the inning and the opportunity with a hard grounder to second base.
In the ninth, Kenny Bryant led off the inning with a walk before he moved up to second on a sacrifice bunt from Jake Mayers. With Bryant representing the winning run on second, the Swampdogs wanted no part of Aldrich as they intentionally walked him to give the Sharks runners at first and second with one out.
Scott Coleman stepped in and popped out to the third baseman before pinch-hitter Jacob Leonardo flew out to right field to end the inning.
In the tenth, Carter reached with a two-out single before Freedman was hit by a pitch to set up another situation with runners at first and second.
Bryant stepped in and, on a 0-1 pitch, lifted the ball into shallow right-center field. The only Swampdog with a chance to make the play, second baseman Jay Cannon, made a full extension, running catch as he rolled to the ground and preserved the game.
In the top of the 11th, Chris Dula came on to pitch for the Sharks and was charged with three earned runs on two walks and a hit-by-pitch in 2/3 of an inning before Tyler Deloach was brought in and allowed one run (on a bases loaded walk) on three hits before recording the final out of the inning.
After threatening the previous three innings, the Sharks went down in order in the bottom of the 11th.
The Sharks will turn to Chris Mazza tomorrow night in Game Two as he will get the start for Wilmington and will square off against Dom Macaluso for the Fayetteville Swampdogs. Game Three, if necessary, will also be in Fayetteville, on Saturday night.