Wilmington Strands 16 Baserunners
FAYETTEVILLE, NC June 11, 2014 – David Palenzuela crushed a fastball from Hunter Smith over the right field wall in the bottom of the 12th inning as the SwampDogs battled their way to a walk-off victory Tuesday night, 4-2 over the Wilmington Sharks.
SwampDogs starter Rayne Raven didn’t have his “A” game going, but was still able to pitch four solid innings, allowing just two runs – one in the second and one in the third – on six hits.
The ‘Dogs were able to chip away at the Sharks lead with a run in the third courtesy of a Jason Blum sacrifice fly, and one in the fourth on a Chase Edwards RBI single.
There was a scary moment in the third inning with Blum at the plate, when Blum squared around to bunt, then pulled back, and the ball glanced off the mitt of Sharks catcher Jake Kusz and struck the hand of home plate umpire Michael Rains.
Rains was taken to the locker room and would not return to the game, leaving Joe Schwartz a one-man umpiring crew.
After an eight minute delay, Blum got the sacrifice fly that put the SwampDogs on the board.
Once the game was tied at two, the SwampDogs bullpen took over. Hunter Barnett pitched three scoreless innings, as did Seth Laigast. Hasten Freeman pitched scoreless frames in the 11th and 12th innings. From the eighth inning on, the bullpen surrendered just one hit, and the pitching staff as a whole stranded 16 Sharks on base.
Norm Donkin made what would turn out to be a game-saving play in the sixth inning when with two outs, Steven Linkous singled and Alex Raburn rounded third and tried to score. Donkin delivered a strike to Jacob Whiting to nail Raburn by a wide margin, and keep the game tied at two.
The bottom of the 12th got underway when Kam Stewart worked out a leadoff walk, then Palenzuela stepped up and launched his first home run of the season out down the right field line to win it.
Freeman was the winning pitcher for the SwampDogs, improving to 1-0 on the year, Smith got the loss for the Sharks, falling to 1-2 on the season.
Wilmington will host the Edenton Steamers (9-2) Wednesday night at The Shark Tank.
About The Wilmington Sharks
Set in the picturesque Cape Fear region of North Carolina, the Wilmington Sharks are one of the charter members of the Coastal Plain League. Providing affordable family entertainment in a minor league atmosphere, the Sharks have been consistently in the top 25 in attendance in all of summer-collegiate baseball.
About The Coastal Plain League
The Coastal Plain League is the nation’s hottest summer collegiate baseball league. Celebrating its 18th season in 2014, the CPL features 14 teams playing in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. The CPL gives college players the chance to refine their skills with the use of wooden bats. Players are housed with local host families for the summer and past experiences have been very positive for both players and hosts. Furthermore, the CPL has had over 1,100 alumni drafted and 65 alums – including 2011 AL MVP and Cy Young award winner Justin Verlander – make their Major League debut thus far. For more information on the Coastal Plain League, please visit the league website at CoastalPlain.com.