by Jordan Lank
The Fayetteville SwampDogs were defeated 6-5 by the Wilson Tobs on Saturday night at J.P. Riddle Stadium after their ninth-inning rally came up short.
Wilson opened a two-run lead in the first after three straight singles opened the ballgame. The Tobs successfully executed a double steal of second and home for the first of their two runs in the inning.
The 'Dogs answered quickly, though, smashing a trio of singles themselves to begin their half of the first. Alex Kachler legged out an infield single to drive in Fayetteville's first run of the night. Then, Carson Bartels clobbered his fifth homer of the season — a three-run blast — over the secondary signage in deep left to give the SwampDogs a two-run cushion.
It took Wilson two innings to counter, evening the score with back-to-back RBI doubles in the third. The score would remain tied at four through six innings. In the seventh, Wilson notched a pair of RBI singles to reclaim a two-run lead.
Fayetteville answered when Kachler plated a run in the eighth with an RBI groundout. The SwampDogs opened the ninth with a leadoff single by Brandon Talley. Ben Norman replaced Talley as a pinch runner, and was called out at second base after what appeared to be batter's interference on an attempted steal of second. Konner Piotto picked up a two-out single, but the 'Dogs fell after a strikeout to end the game.
Justin Ruble performed well, just one outing removed from being utilized out of the bullpen. Ruble matched his season high in innings pitched with five, allowing three earned runs and recording three strikeouts.
As a part of 90s Night at "The Swamp," Tom Guiry of the never-aging 90s film, "The Sandlot" appeared at the game. Guiry signed autographs and took pictures with fans before and throughout the game, participating in a myriad of activities around the ballpark including on-field games and sitting in on the SwampDogs' live broadcast. The first 500 fans were given commemorative SwampDogs fanny packs as they entered J.P. Riddle Stadium, and one won the chance to play catch with "Smalls" on the field with a SwampDogs player on hand.
The 'Dogs will enjoy an off day on Sunday before they travel to Wilmington for another matchup with the Sharks on Monday. Then, they will take Tuesday off before returning to "The Swamp" for Wednesday night's matchup with the Florence RedWolves on Disney Night. Gates will 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.