Fayetteville is used to winning, but the Morehead City Marlins had other plans as the team took a quick lead and they would coast to a 9-1 victory.
The SwampDogs have a knack for striking early as they took an early 1-0 lead on a lead-off walk to Chase Rader. They used small ball to get him over to third and Mitchell Kranson had an RBI groundout to the middle infield.
In the bottom half of the inning, the Marlins would strike back with three singles and driving in a run to even the game in wet conditions over in Morehead City. Ryan Cranmer smacked his team-leading eight RBIs through the right side to make it a 1-1 game after the first fifteen minutes.
The SwampDogs try an aggressive approach in the third and fourth inning. Kranson drove a single up the chute but John Rooney was gunned out at home as the ball was hit too hard to center. The Dogs will leave runners stranded on second and third with one out in the fourth but they got runners on.
The fourth inning was a big one for the Marlins as they took advantage of four walks and scored five runs on Striz to give them a 6-1 lead. The Ave Maria University pitcher was confident with his curveball in the inning but he was missing the zone by inches.
Claudio Valencia and Bill Little each had an RBI knock in the fifth to drive Striz out of the game with an 8-1 Marlins lead. Cody Dix came in relief and the Marlins scored their ninth run on aggressive base running on an infield single as Bill Little scored from second.
Despite being down, left fielder Brian Celsi had some fantastic defensive plays as he gunned out a runner trying to score and made a diving play down the left field foul line to end the previous inning.
Bill Bereszniewicz recorded his first RBI of the season in the ninth inning to give Fayetteville some momentum for the weekend.
The positive not is that the bullpen did its job with Dix and Geoff Soja. They got eleven outs in twelve batters and struck out four without allowing a run.
The SwampDogs have back-to-back games against the Wilson Tobs in a race for first place to start the weekend.
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 62 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.