Morehead City, NC- The Fish Tacos won their sixth straight game on Tuesday night, as they took down the Peninsula Pilots 9-2. It was a complete game for the Fish Tacos, as both pitching and defense shone brightly. Nick McCollum (Georgia Southwestern State) got the nod to start, and he shone brilliantly, going five innings and giving up two runs on six hits, and Jack Eshleman (Hamilton College) would get the four-inning save, giving up one hit and no runs with one walk and four strikeouts. The offense would finish with 12 knocks on the night.
McCollum retired the first three Pilots in order to start the first, and the bats got to work. A single by Joseph Mershon (College of Charleston) got the table started, as Phillip Bernstein (Richmond) would replace him on first, with a fielder’s choice nabbing Mershon at second. An error on Pilots third baseman Christopher Martinez would allow Evan Scavotto (Portland) to reach, and there would be two runners on for Trent Youngblood (Transylvania) who walked to load the bases. Braylin Marine (Newberry College) would come up clutch, as he knocked a 2-RBI single into shallow right field to put the Fish Tacos up 2-0 through an inning of play.
The Pilots would come roaring back in the top of the second, with back-to-back-to-back singles by Zac Morris, Christopher Martinez, and Cole Stanford. With the bases loaded, Henry Garcia singled in Morris to cut the lead in half at 2-1. One run is all the Pilots would get, as Marine would scoop a ball hit by Keenan Spence and step on the second base bag for out number two, throwing across to Dan Tauken (Albany) at first to secure the double-play, and get the Fish Tacos out of the jam in the second.
The pitching would lock down the offense until the bottom of the fourth, as McCollum and Pilots starter Brian Ereu locked horns, McCollum pitching back-to-back 1-2-3 innings in the third and fourth.
The flood gates would open in the fourth, as the Fish Tacos would send twelve batters to the plate and score seven runs. A Youngblood single and stolen base would set the tone for Dan Tauken, who launched an Oppo Taco into the night on Taco Tuesday to put the Tacos up 4-1. Back-to-back-to-back singles by Shayne Campbell (Reinhardt), Zach Marriott (Hendrix College) and Mershon would again load the bases for Nate Anderson (Gardner-Webb) who singled home Campbell for a 5-1 lead.
With the bases still loaded, the Pilots headed to the bullpen to bring in Dalton Barham. Bernstein hit into a fielder’s choice, which resulted in a throwing error from second baseman Zac Morris, as he tried to get the out at second. Two runs scored on the play, and the Fish Tacos would balloon their lead to 7-1.
Youngblood would come up to the plate with two outs in the fourth and runners at the corners. Anderson scored on a wild Barham pitch to make the score 8-1. Ereu would finish his night giving up eight runs on eight hits through three-and-a-third innings. Youngblood then promptly singled in Bernstein to complete the scoring in the 7-run inning, and send the game to the fifth with the Fish Tacos up 9-1.
With McCollum back on the bump after a long offensive inning, he gave up a solo shot to left to Cole Stanford to bring the score to 9-2, where it would stay for the rest of the game. McCollum finished his day with five innings, giving up six hits and two runs with no walks and seven punchouts.
McCollum would give way to Jack Eshleman who pitched brilliantly the rest of the way. After giving up a single with one out to Morris, he induced a 6-4-3 double play to get out of the sixth inning. The Taco bats would go down in order in the bottom half via the strikeout, to give way to Eshleman who allowed a walk to Garcia but no further damage in the seventh.
Neither side could muster much offense for the rest of the game, as Eshleman induced a Morris popout to Tauken, and back-to-back strikeouts of Martinez and Hunter Cole to end the game. Eshleman would finish his day with four innings pitched giving up a hit and a walk, and striking out four Pilots.
Following an off day on Wednesday, the Marlins will take on the Wake Forest Fungo on Thursday from Big Rock Stadium at 7 PM.