Despite warm feelings of holiday cheer during Christmas in July at the Swamp, the SwampDogs did not walk off the field with the gift of a victory.
Fayetteville held a lead early in the game and hung with Morehead City right until the end Tuesday night, but the SwampDogs could not quite seal the deal and fell to the Marlins 5-3.
"It was a good ballgame all day long," said reliever Kyle Klotz. "You can't hang your head about that. We played fairly good baseball."
Klotz (Belmont), who struck out three in a perfect ninth inning, was part of a SwampDogs pitching staff that only allowed two earned runs to score Tuesday. As has been the case for just about every team in the league against Morehead City, though, the SwampDogs could not quite produce enough offensively.
The offense certainly gave their all, as eight Fayetteville starters each recorded a hit in the game. The SwampDogs got extra-base hits from Zach Jacobs (Charleston Southern) and Tanner Piechnick (Ohio), with Piechnick's a monstrous two-run home run to left field.
"I was just looking for a fastball, and he threw it," Piechnick said after the game. "I was able to put a good swing on it and make good contact with it."
The SwampDogs are just 2.5 games out of first place as they enter the home stretch. Fayetteville will play 12 games in the next 11 days to close out the season, beginning with a visit to Asheboro Wednesday and a doubleheader in Wilmington Thursday. The SwampDogs return home Friday for Summertime St. Patty's Night at The Swamp.
"We've got 12 more games coming up here soon, so our eyes are ahead for sure," Klotz said. "If we just go out there, relax and play good baseball, I think we'll be all right and I think we'll make a run."