MOREHEAD CITY, NC June 12, 2014 – The Marlins were unable to mount a ninth inning comeback against Petersburg on Thursday, falling to the sixth place Generals by a final score of 7-6 at Big Rock Stadium.
The Generals spoiled the Marlins’ homecoming after six straight road games, scoring twice in the seventh inning to turn a 6-5 Marlins’ lead into a 7-6 advantage for Petersburg. It was the fourth straight game in which the Marlins had blown a lead and went on to lose the game.
Jordan Knutson began that seventh inning on the hill for Morehead City, and allowed a leadoff walk to Dylan Yankle. Knutson then got a groundball to shortstop, but Kirk Morgan was unable to make the play as he backed up on it, double-clutched and threw wide of first.
That error came back to bite Morehead City right away, as a sacrifice bunt from Geremy Walton put two runners in scoring position for Thomas Stallings. The Marlins opted to go with Casey Eskew, and on the first pitch he threw, Eskew allowed a two-run double to give Petersburg the lead after the Marlins had climbed back from a deficit early on.
The Marlins went down early in the ballgame after Kyle Driscoll lasted just one inning and allowed four runs, but the Morehead City bullpen put up a yeoman’s effort to keep Petersburg off the board until that seventh. Logan Hershenow tossed a season-high four innings, while Eskew worked a season-high 2.2 frames out of the bullpen. Knutson tossed the other 1.1 innings in relief.
“It was a good job by the bullpen and a good job by the players,” head coach Sam Carel said. “They need to keep playing hard and stay positive. We are really proud of these guys. I need to do a better job [coaching].
The Marlins’ big inning came in the second, when they knocked starter Ryan Gray out of the game. Two walks and a hit-by-pitch loaded the bases for Trent Leimkuehler, who came into the game hitting .121 with just two-RBI. Leimkuehler smashed a triple to right-center field, scoring all three base runners.
That is Leimkuehler’s m.o.,” Carel said. “He may start the season kind of slow, but then he will start to take off. What you saw tonight is pretty typical of Leimkuehler.”
Two batters later, Blake Graham hit an RBI triple of his own and later scored on a Quincy Nieporte sacrifice fly. Nieporte went 2-for-3 with two RBI in the game.
The winning pitcher in the game was Colin Bigelow, whose 5.1 innings in relief were more than all of his previous outings combined, and he allowed just a run on three hits. Knutson was the losing pitcher as the base runners that scored on the two-run double in the seventh were his responsibility. Devine Repine got the save, his first of the season.
The Marlins will hit the road on Friday to take on the Wilmington Sharks, before travelling to Edenton to play the Steamers Saturday. Both games are at 7:05.
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 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 winner Justin Verlander – make their Major League debut thus far. For more information on the Coastal Plain League, please visit the league website at www.coastalplain.com, and be sure to friend us on Facebook (at www.facebook.com/coastalplainleague) and follow us via Twitter (@CPLBaseball).