WILSON, NC – Thursday night was the start of a crucial five-game stretch for the Marlins. It got off to a good start.

A five run sixth inning propelled Morehead City to an 8-6 win over the Tobs at Fleming Stadium.

“We’re hard to get out from top to bottom,” Marlins head coach Jesse Lancaster said. “We didn’t play well defensively tonight and that extended innings and kept them hanging around. If we’re going to truly get to a championship level, we need to stop giving away free bases and free outs both defensively and on the mound. But we’ve really settled in offensively, which has won us quite a few games recently.”

The first inning was a vibrant one, to say the least. The Marlins grabbed the game’s first two runs, thanks to an RBI single from Jack Harris (Newberry) and an RBI groundout from Zack Miler (Catawba). The Tobs would answer in the bottom half. Drew DeVine scored an RBI double, followed by an RBI infield single from Dusty Baker.

Wilson scored two more in the bottom of the third, earning its first and only lead on the night. A bouncing ball off Riley Jepson’s ankle went into the Wilson dugout after Jepson stole third, scoring both him and Baker, who was on second.

The Marlins responded in the fourth with a two-out RBI single from Dominick Bucko (Youngstown State). Bucko’s RBI made it a 4-3 ballgame after the inning was extended by his former collegiate teammate Jeff Wehler (Pittsburgh).

In the sixth, the tables turned.

Bucko forced a bases loaded walk, and Harris would follow in a big way. The right fielder hit a go ahead grand slam, giving Morehead City an 8-4 lead.

“Jack bailed us out again,” Lancaster said. “I think we’re going to use up all the times he can possibly do that in a season.”

Wilson grabbed two more in the bottom of the eighth, but it was not enough to take down the fish for the final time this season.

The Marlin bats were strong, once again. Harris went 2 for 5 with a whopping five RBIs and two runs scored. Sean Johnson (Belmont Abbey) went 2 for 3, one of those being a leadoff double on the first pitch of the game. Bucko went 1 for 2 in four plate appearances, driving in two runs and scoring another. Joe Mason (Mount Olive) had a great night as well, going 2 for 4 with one walk, a run scored and a stolen base.

Justin Kleinsorge (Regis) started, and did not get a whole lot of help from his defense. Kleinsorge gave up four runs in four innings, all of which were unearned. Jon Vore (Butler) got the win, pitching an inning and two thirds, allowing no runs and just one hit.

Ty Bothwell (Indiana) came in and got a huge strikeout with the bases loaded in the sixth, and pitched a scoreless seventh. Brendan Bean (Penn) pitched a scoreless ninth for his third save of the summer.

The Marlins head back home tomorrow night to take on the Holly Springs Salamanders. It’s the second and final fireworks show of the summer, and first pitch has been moved up to 6:50 PM. You can get your tickets here.