FLORENCE, S.C. – The Fayetteville SwampDogs dropped a hotly-contested game to their Coastal Plain League West rivals the Florence RedWolves, 5-3 at Sparrow Stadium Wednesday night.
The SwampDogs offense got off to a fast start in the top of the first inning when Mitch Roman (Jr./Wright State) led off with a walk then stole second and third base in quick succession. Third baseman Ki-Jana Madden (Fr./Spartanburg Methodist) brought Roman home with the game’s first run with an infield single two batters later.
The walk by Roman pushed his season-long on-base streak to 17 games, and his two steals contributed to the five bags swiped by the ‘Dogs on the game.
From there, the night would belong to Joey Lucchesi (Jr./Southeast Missouri), who gave the SwampDogs their second straight quality start. Lucchesi pitched splendidly, allowing only three hits in six shutout innings, striking out nine and walking only two.
The SwampDogs added an insurance run in the fifth inning when Sky Overton (Soph./Furman) connected on his 10th double of the season, then scored two batters later on Jimmy Faul (Jr./Louisville) single. It was Faul’s 13th RBI on the season, the third-best mark on the team.
There were some fireworks in the top of the sixth inning, when RedWolves head coach Blake Maxwell was ejected from the game by home plate umpire Scott Molloy, and proceeded to toss a batting donut, an entire bag of baseballs, a half-dozen bats and two batting helmets onto the field.
With Lucchesi’s night done by the seventh, the RedWolves touched up Kent Williams (Soph./Indiana) for three runs when he allowed three hits to begin the inning.
Alex Siddle (Jr./Southeast Missouri) came in to relieve Williams, but allowed two inherited runners to score, and an unearned run when Roman committed a costly throwing error with two outs.
In the top of the eighth inning, the SwampDogs made a comeback, getting back-to-back two-out doubles from Austin Upshaw (Fr./Kennesaw State) and C.J. Needam (Jr./Mount Olive) to cut the deficit to one.
Siddle allowed a run in the ninth inning when Ray Lanners brought home Chaz Pal with a two-out single, eventually working out of a bases-loaded jam.
The SwampDogs (15-24) return home on Thursday to host the Asheboro Copperheads at 7:05 pm on the Salute to Military Families presented by USAA. For tickets call 910-426-5900.
The Fayetteville SwampDogs are in their 15th season playing in the Coastal Plain League. The SwampDogs are one of the most successful franchises in the league’s history, making the Petitt Cup Playoffs eight times in the past 10 seasons, reaching the championship round three times. The SwampDogs boast 90 alumni taken in the draft and have produced six 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 their team website at www.goswampdogs.com and follow us on Twitter @GoSwampDogs and like us on Facebook at Fayetteville SwampDogs Baseball. Where baseball is fun!
The Coastal Plain League is the nation’s hottest summer collegiate baseball league. Celebrating its 19th season in 2015, the CPL features 15 teams playing in 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. The CPL has had over 1,200 alumni drafted and 79 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.