MOREHEAD CITY, NC – “Gotta win two.”

That was the message in the Marlins’ dugout after the Savannah Bananas took Game 1 of the 2021 Petitt Cup Championship Series 5-4 at The Rock.

“Just weren’t good enough tonight,” Marlins head coach Jesse Lancaster said. “Didn’t pitch it well enough, too many walks and errors hurt us, and obviously didn’t hit well enough. Credit to their relief pitcher, he was great and held them right in there, but we can’t get one hit in the last six innings of the game and expect to win no matter who we’re playing.”

The Marlins struck first on the very first man they sent to the plate, as Sean Johnson (Belmont Abbey) belted a leadoff home run to right center field to open the scoring in the first.

Then, the skies opened up over The Rock in the third inning with the Marlins threatening.

With the bases loaded and Conner VanCleave (Pitt State) coming up to the plate, heavy rain delayed the game for almost 2 hours. After the rain shower ended and the tarp was pulled off the field, VanCleave drew a bases-loaded walk to make it 2-0. Jordan Johnson (Arkansas-Monticello) blooped an RBI single in to make it 3-0, and then Josh Jones (Mount Olive) picked up an RBI groundout to make it 4-0.

That was it offensively for the Fish tonight.

The Bananas didn’t even record their first hit of the game until the sixth inning, but then Savannah caught fire offensively. An RBI triple from Livan Reinoso drove in the Bananas’ first run of the game in the sixth, and then he came home on a sacrifice fly from Bryson Bloomer.

In the seventh, the same two guys drove in runs again for the Bananas. After a two-run double from Reinoso, Bloomer gave the Bananas the lead for good with another sacrifice fly that ended up being the game-winning run for Savannah.

At the plate, the Johnson duo stood out the most.

Sean Johnson went one for five, starting the Marlin offense right with a leadoff solo home run.

Jordan Johnson went three for four with an RBI single. The third baseman’s RBI was the last run scored by Morehead City.

On the mound, it was a great start from Jack Hodgins (Hendrix) and a great finish by Trey Jernigan (Appalachian State).

Hodgins threw a perfect two innings, striking out two. Jernigan threw a perfect top half of the ninth inning, adding two strikeouts to his stat line.

For Savannah, it was a gutsy, shutdown performance from Matthew Steidl. The righty threw 4.2 shutout innings in relief, giving up only two hits and three hits, along with striking out six.

The Bananas lead the series, 1-0. The Marlins need to win two games in a row, both at Historic Grayson Stadium in Savannah, GA. Game 2 between Morehead City and Savannah gets started at 7:00. Listen live on the Morehead City Marlins Radio Network.