by Jordan Lank
An early offensive output was all the Wilmington Sharks needed to top the Fayetteville SwampDogs on Saturday night, 5-2.
The Sharks jumped out to an early lead with three runs in the first and two in the second. Those five runs would be all Wilmington required.
The SwampDogs mustered nine hits, but scored only two runs and left nine runners aboard.
Cameron Phelts started the 'Dogs scoring in the seventh with an RBI groundout to eliminate Wilmington's shut-out hopes. Pearce Howard then fought off a tough pitch in the eighth for an RBI bloop single to extend his hit total to 21 and bumped his average back up to .300.
Justin Ruble struggled through the first two innings, but settled down to throw four frames.
Jake Ridgway relieved Ruble and had a spectacular outing, throwing three innings of shut-out ball and striking out four Sharks.
Nathan Mirochnick and Brandon Talley each threw scoreless frames in relief as well. Talley, who started the night as the designated hitter, collected two strikeouts in his pitching appearance as well.
The SwampDogs will enjoy an off day Sunday before traveling to Morehead City and Wilmington for back-to-back away games. Fayetteville returns home on Wednesday for its annual Tribute to America Game, which will include an extravagant fireworks display following the game against the High-Point Thomasville HiToms. Gates open at 5 PM and first pitch is scheduled for 7:05.
The SwampDogs return home on Saturday for Margaritaville Night at "The Swamp." Wear your floral shirts and find your lost shaker of salt and get to the ballpark for all the good vibes and fun. Gates open at 6 PM and first pitch is scheduled for 7:05.
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.