Wilmington, NC – The Morehead City Marlins opened the second half with a bang in an 8-1 win over the Wilmington Sharks on Sunday night. The win evened the season series at 4-4 for both teams. The bats got it started in the first inning as Nate Anderson (Gardner-Webb) walked with two outs. He stole second with Braylin Marine (Newberry College) in the box, and Marine hit a ball to short that Ethan Wilder couldn’t scoop. Anderson came flying around third and touched the plate for the first run of the night and end the top of the first with a 1-0 score.
Noah Covington (Maryland Eastern-Shore) got the start for the Marlins, and was brilliant, going four innings and giving up six hits and a run. Covington mowed down the Sharks in the top of the first. Covington struck out Connor Powell before allowing a single to Luke Nowak. Owen Petrich grounded a ball to Braylin Marine who took it to the bag himself for the second out and fired to first for a 6-3 double play to end the inning.
The second kept the ball rolling for the offense, as Mike Kenney (Mount Olive) reached on an error before Joseph Mershon (College of Charleston) ripped a double to left field to score Kenney to push the score to 2-0. Phillip Bernstein (Richmond) followed with a RBI single of his own to score Mershon. This would propel the Sharks to a 3-0 lead heading to the bottom of the second.
In the bottom of the second, Carson Villalta singled to left field to start the inning, advanced to second on a wild pitch, and then advanced to third after tagging up on a fly ball by Kyle Smith. Cam Hassert singled to center to score Villalta, which would turn out to be the only run that the Sharks would score all night to push the score to 3-1.
The Marlins bats exploded in the bottom of the fourth. Bernstein walked with the bases loaded to score Kenney and plate the fourth Marlins run of the night. With the bases still loaded, Anderson tagged a ball out to center field to bring in McGwire Tuffy (Quinnipiac) and push the score to 5-1 with one out in the inning. Marine singled to load the bases again before Wilmington starter Josh Harlow was pulled for Austin Skipper. Dan Tauken (Albany) hit into a 4-6 fielder’s choice to score Mershon to push the score to 6-1, before Will Walsh singled to left to drive in the fourth run of the four-run fourth inning and push the score to 7-1 headed to the bottom of the fourth.
Following the four-run outburst, Covington hurled a 1-2-3 inning to complete his four-inning appearance. Sam Nomura came in from the pen for the Sharks and pitched two 1-2-3 innings with four strikeouts.
With a 7-1 lead heading into the seventh, the Marlins offense got cooking again as Will Walsh singled to short to get the rally started against Sharks hurler David White. Dylan Rodgers (Appalachian State) was hit by a pitch to put two on for Kenney, who singled to right field to score Walsh and push the score to 8-1.
The Sharks threatened in the eighth inning against Kaden Segel (Portland), who had runners at second and third with no outs before striking out two Sharks. Segel then walked Cam Hassert to load the bases. Segel escaped the jam by getting Alec Gonzalez to fly out for the third out of the frame.
The Sharks attempted to rally in the bottom of the ninth against Ryan Devanney (Sacred Heart), who foiled their plans, and slammed the door shut with a 1-2-3 inning with a strikeout.
With the win, the Marlins move to 1-0 in the second half and 17-8 overall. They end a stretch of nine games in eight days on Monday with a home contest against the Peninsula Pilots. First pitch is scheduled for 6PM from Big Rock Stadium.