MOREHEAD CITY, N.C. – The Morehead City Marlins (35-14) defeated the Fayetteville SwampDogs (24-26) 7-6 in a 16-inning affair at Big Rock Stadium, marking the first-time in franchise history the team will move on to the second round. Craig Lewis (Seton Hill) came up with the walk-off double in the bottom of the 16th inning as the game neared five hours.
Joe Mason (Pitt CC) got the Marlins offense on the board with a single up the middle that scored Lewis as the Marlins first run. The offense stayed hot in the early innings as Will Johnson (Eastern Kentucky) launched his fourth home run over the left field wall on a 0-2 pitch with two outs in the inning to tie the game at two.
Zach Keenan (Middle Tennessee State) made his ninth start this summer and pitched into the sixth inning. The freshman allowed just two earned runs and struck out five SwampDogs.
Morehead City's offense kept rolling in the early innings as Hunter Shepherd (Catawba College) and Lewis each blasted two-run home runs in the third and fourth inning, respectively, to give the home team a 6-2 advantage.
The SwampDogs would claw back into the game with two runs in the top of the sixth and another pair in the eighth inning.
The Marlins turned to Zach Vennaro (University of Mount Olive) for 4.2 innings. The senior held Fayetteville hitless, while striking out 10 batters in his longest outing to date.
Ashton Raines (Bloomsburg University) earned his fourth win after coming on for the final 2.1 innings. Raines didn't allow a hit and finished with five strike outs.
Team Records: Morehead City (35-14), Fayetteville (24-26)
News & Notes:
- Morehead City moves to 35-14 overall and 17-6 record at home.
- The club improved to 31-1 when leading after the sixth inning.
- The pitching staff combined for a season-high 26 strike outs.
- The offense produced multiple homeruns (3) for the third time this season.
- The Marlins are now 16-1 when the club scores more than six runs.
- Morehead City improved to 12-0 in the summer series versus Fayetteville.
The Marlins will host their third-ever home playoff game on Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. against the Wilson Tobs.