WILMINGTON, NC – “It’s a good day!”
Those were the first words out of Marlins’ head coach Jesse Lancaster’s mouth after the Marlins swept the 7-inning doubleheader with the Wilmington Sharks, 6-1 and 3-2 on Thursday night.
“Starting pitching doesn’t get any better than that,” Lancaster said. “Jared Kollar and Ty Bothwell were dialed in, we were sharp defensively behind them, and we held out long enough for the offense to get rolling. Guys stay engaged and focused in the dugout for 14 innings, and I’m really proud of the effort tonight. This is exactly what we came here to do.”
The starting pitching was nothing short of remarkable. Jared Kollar (Seton Hill) got the start in game 1 in his first official CPL appearance of the summer for the Marlins, and all he did was give up no hits in 5 and 1/3 innings. He did walk 4 men and give up an earned run, but he worked around the minimal trouble he faced.
“I didn’t even realize it was a no-hitter for a second there,” Lancaster said. “It felt like he was working around some traffic, but I think that made him focus up and pitch really well, which he did. I mean, no hits. It doesn’t get better than that.”
The Marlins offense came to life in the 4th inning of game one. Zack Miller (Catawba) continued his hot start, doubling to left center field with 2 outs in the inning. Sean Johnson (Belmont Abbey) missed a two-run home run by about 6 inches in left center field, and Miller came home on his double. Phillip Glasser (Youngstown State) got back on track with 3 hits and 2 RBI in game one, and he singled in Johnson to make it 2-0 Morehead City.
That would’ve been plenty good enough to win game one, but the Marlins added on in the 6th. Joe Mason (Mount Olive) reached on an error, Miller singled, Glasser singled again, Robbie O’Neal (UNC-Greensboro) grounded into an RBI fielder’s choice, and Tyler Clark-Chiapperelli (Washburn) singled to round out the four-run 6th inning.
Jordan Morales (La Salle) and Colt Webb (Charleston-WV) rounded out the pitching effort for the Marlins in game one, with Webb striking out the side in the 7th inning to end it.
Game two wasn’t much different.
Ty Bothwell (Indiana) got the start, and he didn’t give up a hit until the 6th inning, same as Kollar. He gave up a single and a walk with one out in the 6th inning, and then exited. His final line was 5 and 1/3 innings, 1 hit, 1 earned run, 4 walks and 7 strikeouts.
The Marlin bats were quiet in game two until the 5th inning. Dom Bucko (Youngstown State) continued his hot stretch with a leadoff double. Justin Johnson (Lafayette) singled Bucko to third, and he then scored on a wild pitch. Jack Harris (Newberry) singled, scoring Johnson, Joe Mason and Zack Miller both walked, and then Sean Johnson hit a sacrifice fly to score Harris to make it 3-0.
The Sharks finally had some life offensively in the bottom of the 6th, when they got a couple runners on against Bothwell, and John Behrends hit a two-run double to make it 3-2. Brendan Bean (Penn) came in with 2 runners in scoring position and the tying run just 90 feet away, but he induced an inning-ending fielders choice groundout to get out of the jam.
Tyler Cochran (Nevada) pitched a perfect 7th inning to pick up his second save of the week.
“We have a lot of guys we can rely on in the back end of that pen that have gotten the last out of games before,” Lancaster said. “It’s a good problem to have. We have all the faith in the world in a lot of different guys.”
By sweeping the doubleheader, the Marlins have retaken the lead in the first-ever Golden Chumbucket series, 4-3 over the Sharks. The two teams meet again in another doubleheader at The Rock on Sunday, June 27, for their last two meetings of the first half of the season.
The Marlins try to continue the momentum tomorrow night at home, as the Wilson Tobs come back to The Rock for the second consecutive Friday. First pitch is scheduled for 6:55, 10 minutes earlier than normal due to the first-ever firework show that’s taking place at Big Rock Stadium immediately after the game.
It’s expected to be a full house, so don’t wait to buy your tickets.