The Fayetteville SwampDogs battled hard and forced extra inning baseball in Peninsula, but the Pilots edged the Dogs 3-2 in 15 innings.
The SwampDogs got a tremendous start by Shawn Talkington who threw seven innings with seven strikeouts and just two runs, one of which was earned. Mitchell Kranson also drove in his team-leading 17th RBI of the season in the third inning.
Fayetteville was down 2-1 heading into the top of the ninth, but they forced the Pilots to make some defensive plays. Ransom LaLonde walked to lead the inning off and Derek Gibson laid down a sacrifice bunt and reached first base on a throwing error from the Pilot’s first baseman Taylor Ostrich.
With no outs, the SwampDogs executed a perfect safety squeeze on a bunt by Michael Timm to score LaLonde and tie the ballgame. Fayetteville had a chance to take the lead because they left runners on second and third.
The SwampDogs pitching staff threw a strong game overall. Matt Hollenbeck tossed two innings with three strikeouts, Jack Van Horn threw an inning scoreless, and Travis Hissong pitched innings 11 through 14 without allowing a hit and striking out five batters.
The Pilots said fifteen innings was enough baseball and they strung together a two-out rally. Parker McDaniel entered the game and struck out the first two batters, but Patrick Grady and Jordan Negrini reached base in consecutive at-bats.
First baseman Taylor Ostrich hit the game-winning RBI to left field to steal the victory from Fayetteville. Ostrich was the only batter in the Pilots lineup to have two hits on the evening.
Fayetteville will take on the Petersburg Generals tonight at 7:05 p.m. before coming back to “The Swamp” on Saturday night.
The Coastal Plain League is the nation’s hottest summer collegiate baseball league. Celebrating its 17th season in 2013, the CPL features 14 teams playing North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. The CPL gives college players the chance to refine their skills with the use of wooden bats. Players are housed with local host families for the summer and past experiences have been very positive for both players and hosts. Furthermore, the CPL has had over 1,000 alumni drafted and 63 alums – including 2011 AL MVP and Cy Young winner Justin Verlander – make their Major League debut thus far. For more information on the Coastal Plain League, please visit the league website at www.coastalplain.com and follow us via Twitter @CPLBaseball.