by Jordan Lank
The Fayetteville SwampDogs were defeated by the Holly Springs Salamanders in one of the most bizarre games of Fayetteville's season Thursday night, 11-7.
The Salamanders jumped out to a lead they would never relinquish, scoring four runs in the second inning on an RBI groundout, followed by a sacrifice fly and a two-run double. Holly Springs tacked on one more in the third on a wild pitch before the 'Dogs countered with a run in each of the third and fourth innings. The 'Manders scored three in the fifth, one in the sixth and two in the eighth to round out their 11 runs on the night.
Fayetteville made it close in the bottom of the ninth when Holly Springs elected to throw position player Tyler Smith to finish the game. Smith allowed two runs and left with the bases loaded before closer Kyle Davis shut the door on one pitch to end it.
The SwampDogs were anchored by the middle of their lineup Thursday night. Konner Piotto, hitting second for the first time this season, collected four hits and an RBI to continue his impressive offensive breakout.
Pearce Howard was a triple shy of the cycle, driving in runs with a single, double and a solo home run in the ballgame. Howard has now reached base safely in 18 consecutive appearances.
Brandon Talley broke out for the 'Dogs as well, collecting a pair of singles and a pair of doubles. Talley reached five of the six times he came to the plate, only going down on a strikeout in the eighth.
The 'Dogs collected 19 hits in the ballgame — 11 more than Holly Springs — but suffered mightily by strainding 18 runners on base. Fayetteville left the bases loaded three times.
Starting pitcher John Barr made his SwampDogs debut, allowing five runs in three innings of work. Barr walked three and struck out three as well.
The SwampDogs travel to Morehead City on Friday night for the first of two in a row against the Marlins. Then, the 'Dogs will return to "The Swamp" for First Responder's Night on Saturday. The SwampDogs will wear special commemorative uniforms that are being auctioned off online and will continue to be auctioned off during the game. If you would like to place a bid, visit goswampdogs.com or call 910-426-5900 during Saturday's game.
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.