By Jordan Lank
The Fayetteville SwampDogs provided all the theatrics on Friday night after defeating the Peninsula Pilots 7-6 in walkoff fashion to remain undefeated in their 2019 campaign.
The SwampDogs' scoring began in the fifth, when they recorded zero hits but still plated three runners thanks to four walks, a hit batter and a fielder's choice. At that point, Fayetteville had mustered just one hit in the entire ballgame: a leadoff single by center fielder Cameron Phelts to start the fourth.
After Fayetteville carried a 4-3 lead through seven, Peninsula's Matt Burch drove a two-run home run to right-center field in the eighth to give the Pilots the lead. It wasn't until the bottom half of that inning when Fayetteville knocked their second hit of the game, when third baseman Austin Bost laced a double into the left-field corner. Bost would eventually be stranded there.
The Pilots turned a clutch double play in the bottom of the ninth with the bases full of SwampDogs to turn the rally aside, and scored two in the top of the tenth to put the pressure back on Fayetteville.
With runners on first and second due to international tiebreaker rules, Pearce Howard laced a leadoff two-run triple to the fence that tied the game at six and ignited the home crowd. Three batters later, first baseman KC Brown played the hero with a softly-hit grounder to Pilots shortstop Nick Gonzalez, who tried a glove flip to second that couldn't be handled by Burch, scoring Howard from third to win it.
Immediately following the game, the SwampDogs showcased their first Fireworks Extravaganza, and look forward to three more this season: June 14, July 3 and August 1.
The SwampDogs begin a two-game road trip on Saturday when they will meet both the Florence RedWolves and Morehead City Marlins for the first time this year. Fayetteville returns home on Tuesday for a Teacher Appreciation Night and Tattoosday presented by New Addiction Tattoo, with first pitch 7:05 PM.
The Fayetteville SwampDogs are members of the The Coastal Plain League and are in their 19th Summer of fun. The Coastal Plain League is the nation's premier summer collegiate baseball league. Heading into its 23rd season in 2019, the CPL features 16 franchises playing in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. To date, the CPL has had over 1,450 alumni drafted and 122 alums – including 2017 ALCS MVP, 2017 World Series champion, 2011 AL MVP and Cy Young award winner Justin Verlander, as well as 2017 NLCS MVP Chris Taylor – make their Major League debut. For more information on the Coastal Plain League, please visit the league website at www.coastalplain.com, and be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat @CPLBaseball.