Fayetteville, N.C. – – – The Fayetteville SwampDogs offense came to life with 14 total hits; however, the ‘Dogs fell short in a 9-8 defeat to the visiting Holly Springs Salamanders in the 2017 season opener from The Swamp Tuesday evening. Fayetteville falls to 0-1, while Holly Springs improves to 1-0 in the first contest of the summer for both squads.
The ‘Dogs return to action at home Thursday night when they host the Morehead City Marlins. It will be Baseball History Night at the ballpark, so come learn more about America’s National Pastime! You never know what you might find out about your favorite sport. First pitch is slated for a 7:05 p.m. start with gates opening at 6 p.m.
SwampDogs center fielder Austin Edgette (Bloomsburg) led the offensive efforts, finishing 3-for-4 with two singles, an RBI double and two walks. Designated hitter Mike Spooner (Stetson) was 4-for-6 with an RBI. Fayetteville right fielder Marquise Lanier (Chowan) and second baseman Alex Hull (Cal State Northridge) each finished 2-for-4 with two runs scored.
For Holly Springs, designated hitter Brett Brubaker (Mars Hill) topped the Salamanders offensive charts going 3-for-4 with a game-high five RBIs and two runs scored. Left fielder Cade Marlowe (West Georgia) also placed a 3-for-4 mark with the game-winning RBI in the top of the ninth inning.
“There were definitely some positives tonight,” said SwampDogs head coach Matt Hollod. “The top five hitters in the line-up put together really good at-bats and that was a big positive to take away from tonight.”
“Tonight was a typical early season summer game,” said Hollod. “The tempo was not very good and the relationship betweens our pitchers and catchers will get better over time. It is important for our pitchers to keep up the temp, so the guys behind them don’t lose patience. The best outing out the bullpen tonight for us was Shane Bishop (North Greenville).”
The Fayetteville offensive started cooking early with an RBI single from SwampDogs catcher Nic Perkins (Drury) to give the ‘Dogs an early 1-0 advantage in the bottom of the first inning. Holly Springs soon responded in the top of the third with an RBI single from second baseman Nick Spangler (Shippensburg) and a grand slam from Brubaker to jump out to a 5-1 lead.
Two runs driven in from Spooner and Perkins in the home half cut the deficit down to 5-3 before Holly Springs answered with two more insurance runs to extend the margin out to 7-3 in the top frame of the fourth. The ‘Dogs offense continued to show life with an RBI double from Edgette along with consecutive RBI singles from Hull and first baseman Jayson Newman (Cal State Northridge) to make it a 7-6 game (B4).
A solo shot from Lanier knotted the score up at 7-7 in the bottom of the fifth before the SwampDogs grabbed their second lead of the contest at 8-7 when Edgette scored on a wild pitch (B7). Holly Springs scored two unanswered runs in the top frames of the eighth and ninth to seal the comeback victory.
Holly Springs right-handed pitcher Kameron Winburn (North Carolina Central) got the win, improving to 1-0. SwampDogs left-handed pitcher Justice Sampson (North Carolina Central) took the loss, falling to 0-1. Salamanders righty Michael Hope (Shippensburg) earned the save.
“We will need to come out with a good practice tomorrow in preparation for our game against Morehead City,” said Hollod. “We will need to improve defensively and limit our mistakes. The key is to establish better relationships with our battery of the infield.”
About the SwampDogs: The Fayetteville SwampDogs enter their 17th season playing in the Coastal Plain League in 2017. The SwampDogs are one of the most successful franchises in the league’s history, making the Petitt Cup Playoffs eight times in the past 11 seasons, reaching the championship round three times. The SwampDogs boast over 100 alumni taken in the draft and have produced seven players who have gone on to play in Major League Baseball including slugger Mark Reynolds and David Aardsma. For more information on the Fayetteville SwampDogs, visit the team website at www.goswampdogs.com and follow us on Twitter and Instagram @GoSwampDogs. Be sure to also like us on Facebook at Fayetteville SwampDogs Baseball. Where baseball is fun!
About the Coastal Plain League: The Coastal Plain League is the nation’s hottest summer collegiate baseball league. Celebrating its 21st season in 2017, the CPL features 15 teams playing in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. The CPL has had nearly 1,300 alumni drafted and 81 of those – including 2011 AL MVP and Cy Young winner Justin Verlander – make their Major League debut; while another notable alum – Russell Wilson – won Super Bowl XLVIII. For more information on the Coastal Plain League, please visit the league website at www.coastalplain.com and follow us via Twitter @CPLBaseball.