COLONIAL HEIGHTS, VA – Well that was fun.
The Morehead City Marlins got a wild, back-and-forth 9-7 win at Tri-City Tuesday night. After falling behind 6-2 after 4 innings, the Marlins methodically chipped away at the lead, ultimately taking the lead for good in the top of the 8th inning.
“This was a good win for us tonight,” Marlins head coach Jesse Lancaster said. “There was no panic when we fell behind. The guys stayed up in the dugout, and we got the job done.”
Jack Hodgins (Hendrix) got the start for the Marlins, pitching 3 and 1/3 innings, allowing five earned runs. Jordan Morales (La Salle) pitched the middle innings, going 2 and 2/3 innings, allowing two earned with four strikeouts. Trey Jernigan (UNC-Asheville) got the win, pitching a scoreless 7th inning, and Brendan Bean (Penn) got a six-out save, shutting the Chili Peppers out in the last two innings with four strikeouts.
“Jack battled tonight,” Lancaster said. “Things weren’t looking great for a minute there, and then he had a clean third inning which really helped him. Jordan Morales did a really solid job for us in the middle innings, and we felt really good when we were able to give the ball to Brendan Bean with the lead in 8th.”
The Marlin offensive attack was opportunistic, taking advantage of six Chili Pepper errors, and scattering 11 hits. Jack Harris (Newberry) continued his torrid offensive start, finishing a triple short of the cycle. After the Chili Peppers hit a solo home run in the bottom of the 1st, Harris and the Marlins answered right back with a 2-run double that roped down the 3rd base line.
The Chili Peppers answered right back with a 2-run homer in the bottom of the 2nd off the bat of Logan Jarvis, the first of two on the night for him. Jarvis’ second home run came in the bottom of the 4th, and the Chili Peppers took a commanding 4-run lead to the 5th inning.
The Marlins wasted no time chipping away at the lead, taking advantage of 4 walks, 2 errors and a balk by the Chili Peppers in the top of the 5th. The Marlins only recorded one hit in the inning, a single off the bat of Jordan Johnson (Arkansas-Monticello), but they still managed to score 3 runs and cut the lead to 6-5.
The Chili Peppers added a run in the 6th to extend the lead to 7-5. Nick Sanders (Reinhardt) starting the 7th inning rally with a single, and he was able to come around and score on an infield single from Justin Johnson (Lafayette) after a couple crazy caroms and an error from Tri-City. The Chili Peppers led 7-6 after 7.
As they often do, the Marlins came alive in the 8th. In his Marlin debut, Conner VanCleave (Kansas) walked, one of 4 walks on the night for him. He reached base in all six of his plate appearances, walking 4 times, getting hit by a pitch, and recording a single. He came around to score on a double by Caleb Morris (Pitt CC), and a throwing error by the Chili Pepper third baseman to tie the game at 7. Sean Johnson (Belmont Abbey) walked, stole second, and Morris was able to score on a throwing error by the catcher on Johnson’s steal. It was 8-7 Marlins after 8.
Harris provided an important insurance run in the top of the 9th, hitting a bomb of a home run to left field that left the park in a hurry.
A couple of defensive mistakes allowed the winning run to come to the plate in the 9th against Bean, but with runners on 1st and 2nd and 1 out, he induced a game ending 4-6-3 double play.
The Marlins hit the road again Thursday, continuing the Golden Chumbucket series with Wilmington. First pitch is scheduled for 7:00 at Legion Stadium.