MOREHEAD CITY, NC – It was a day later than they hoped for, but the job is done.
The Morehead City Marlins have secured their spot in the 2021 Petitt Cup Playoffs with a 5-3 win over the Wilmington Sharks on the final Taco Tuesday of the season at The Rock.
“This is a big weight off our shoulders and feels a lot better than yesterday,” Marlins head coach Jesse Lancaster said. “We had several guys step up tonight that were put in roles that they weren’t used to being in, and they came through for us. We got our mojo back with the power hitting and holding it down in the late innings. Still work to do chasing Peninsula for home field, because we want to be here.”
It was a home run party on Taco Tuesday for the Fish. After Wilmington scored a run in the top of the first inning, Jack Harris (Newberry) answered back with a solo blast of his own. It was Harris’s 13th big fly of the year to take sole possession of first place in the home run category in the CPL.
Zack Miller (Catawba) followed Harris up in the fourth inning with an opposite-field solo shot of his own to give MHC its first lead of the game at 2-1.
The Fish Tacos added two more bombs in the fifth inning, the first off the bat of Sean Johnson (Belmont Abbey) to straightaway centerfield. Johnson’s solo home run traveled 420 feet from home plate. After Hunter Shepherd (Catawba) singled, Conner VanCleave (Pitt State) unloaded on a hanging breaking ball to right field to widen the lead to 5-1.
Wilmington added two runs in the seventh and had several men on base in the late innings, but Jordan Morales (Penn State) and Jon Vore (Butler) pitched around the trouble to seal the deal for the Marlins.
In his first appearance for the Marlins, Jared Miller (Louisberg) got the start, pitching four solid innings only allowing one run. Miller is the younger brother of Zack Miller, who caught him tonight.
“Really impressive for a young guy like Miller to come in and do what he did on short notice,” Lancaster said. “He gave us a real boost tonight.”
Morales got the win, pitching 2 and 1/3 innings of relief, allowing two runs with three strikeouts. Vore got the save, pitching the final 2 and 2/3 innings without allowing a run.
The Marlins still have a lot to play for, as they trail the Peninsula Pilots by a game and a half for the best overall record in the CPL East, which dictates home field advantage in the first playoff series. The Fish are off tomorrow and hit the road to Ting Stadium in Holly Springs on Thursday for the first leg of a back-to-back with the Salamanders.