- Published on Sunday, 22 July 2012 23:31
- Written by Super User
• 7/15 -Wilmington Sharks 5 Morehead City Marlins 2 - To understand the historical significance of Sunday night’s win, one must look beyond the simple record of the Wilmington Sharks (7-3, 23-14) after their seemingly pedestrian 5-2 decision over the Morehead City Marlins (3-10, 13-27). The win marked the fifth in a row for Wilmington, the club’s longest streak of victory since an eight game stretch in 2005. It was also the sixth straight home win, matching the longest streak at Buck Hardee Field since records became available in 2001. The only other time the Sharks won six straight at home in a single year was the final six games of the 2007 season. Following Saturday night’s unexpected show of power, the Sharks again clubbed five extra base hits en route to their win. One of those was a three-run home run off the bat of Grayson Atwood that hit the scoreboard in left field in the fifth inning. That was the frame in which most of the damage was done, as Zach Stephens had already doubled then scored on a wild pitch before the home run.
Stephens also doubled in the sixth inning and scored on a two-bagger by Alex Freedman. Atwood was also responsible for the other double, though he was thrown out trying to stretch the hit to a triple in the third.
Each of the two runs scored by the Marlins were by runners who reached on walks issued by Sharks starter Blaze Tart. One was in the fourth and the other in the fifth, the only frames in which the visitors truly showed an offensive threat. Tart finished his seventh start of the summer with a no-decision, lasting four innings plus two batters in the fifth. One of the runners inherited by Stephen Vaughan would score and be charged to Tart, who also allowed two hits and five total walks with five strikeouts. Vaughan was credited with the win, while Brockett picked up the save.
• 7/14 - Wilmington Sharks 5 Forest City Owls 2 - After the first two hits by Wilmington Sharks (6-3, 22-14) batters both left the park on Saturday night, the home team could have called it a night. Instead, they stuck around to knock another one to add to what would end as a 5-2 victory over the Forest City Owls (4-8, 24-15). All five Sharks runs came via the long ball, as the team clubbed three total dingers for their most in a home game this season. It was also the most allowed in a single tilt by Owls pitching.
Lloyd Enzor sent the first pitch he saw in the first inning into the netting above the left field wall to start the scoring, then after Connor Mitchell and Alex Freedman took walks in the second it was Zach Stephens who lost the sphere beyond the fence. That was the first of two extra base hits for Stephens, who also knocked a double in the fourth frame.
With a single run scored by Forest City in the top of the fourth, Andrew Valencia joined in the action with a solo shot in the bottom half to push the lead out to 5-1. Starter Ross Whitley turned in his third quality start of the year, lasting six innings while surrendering just one run on three hits and two walks. He struck out six in the win.
Forest City plated one more in the seventh, but was unable to find any offense beyond a single hit in the eighth after that run. Andrew Brockett struck out the side in the ninth for his seventh save of the summer. Saturday night was also Save 2nd Base Night, presented by the Wilmington Sharks and Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage, as the Sharks players wore specially made pink jersey tops. Those tops were auctioned off with a silent auction during the course of the game, and raised $730 to benefit the Pretty in Pink Foundation. That total will be added to other raffles and sales by the foundation during the contest.
• 7/12 - Wilmington Sharks 7 Morehead City Marlins 6 - For the first time this season, the Wilmington Sharks (5-3, 21-14) completed a ninth inning comeback. It came at the hands of the Morehead City Marlins (2-8, 12-25), as the hosts scored five times in the ninth inning to walk off with a 7-6 victory. Though the excitement started early, it was the final frame that was the clear highlight. Six hits, a fielder’s choice and a defensive error by the Marlins allowed Wilmington to put five runners across the plate. Two singles and a double by Zach Stephens, Connor Mitchell and Jeff May to start the inning gave the Sharks a breath of hope with one run home plus runners on second and third with nobody out in a 6-3 game. An error allowing Alex Freedman to reach scored the second run and put runners on the corners.
Grayson Atwood hit a ground ball that had potential for a double play but was called a single when the third baseman hesitated on his throw to second. That loaded the bases for a Cole McInturff single that brought in two more runs to tie the game.
By the time Lloyd Enzor came up with two outs, McInturff represented the winning run on second base and was brought home with a single to left field. Wilmington had gotten on the board first in the opening frame, as Casey Goss walked and scored. He also singled, advanced to third on a pair of wild pitches, then scored in the third to tie the game at two after the Marlins took a 2-1 lead in the top of that inning.
A four run sixth inning gave the visitors a 6-2 lead. Two of those runs were charged to Nick Price, who allowed his only two batters faced in the frame to reach. The second came on a play that was argued by both Price and head coach Ryan McCleney. After a brief argument, a conference on the mound resulted in the end of Price’s night. On his way off the field, he was sent to the showers rather than the dugout by home plate umpire Reid Joyner. Price’s final line shows that he allowed four runs, three earned, on six hits and six walks with five strikeouts before giving way to Aaron Hoover. The James Madison lefty finished the game and was credited with the win after surrendering two runs of his own on three hits with four strikeouts. In all seven of Price’s starts this season, the Sharks have come out victorious despite the hurler only being credited with one decision.
Stephens was the only Shark to record multiple hits during the contest, going 3-for-4 with a run and a run batted in. Other highlights include the two RBIs on Cole McInturff’s hit in the ninth and the two runs scored by Goss.
In the final bit of excitement at Buck Hardee Field, Morehead City reliever Evan Zerff warmed up prior to the bottom of the seventh but had not been listed on the official lineup card and was therefore ineligible to play. In an argument over the matter, Marlins head coach Brian McRae was thrown out of the game.
• 7/11 - Wilmington Sharks 6 Morehead City Marlins 3 - Monday night’s game between the Morehead City Marlins (12-23) and the Wilmington Sharks (20-14) started as a pitching duel but Casey Goss smacked two doubles for four runs batted in to help the visitors take home a 6-3 victory.
Mike Frank, who tossed a complete game the last time the Sharks played at Big Rock Stadium, got into some trouble right away in the opening frame. He surrendered a leadoff single then stole second on a disputed call, advancing then scoring on a single and a sacrifice fly. In the fourth, Sal Annunziata continued his power streak for the Marlins and belted a line drive over the left field wall to give the hosts a 2-1 lead. Through five innings plus two outs in the sixth, Morehead City hurler Steve Landell had not yielded a base hit. The no-hit bid ended on an Aaron Preston single, but the Sharks couldn’t take advantage. A shutout was broken up after Scott Coleman stroked a hard fly ball to the center field wall for a triple on the first pitch of the seventh inning. Connor Mitchell grounded out two batters later, but it was enough to bring home the run to make it a 2-1 ballgame.
Thanks to Frank settling down to keep the game close, an RBI double by Casey Goss brought Alex Freedman home to knot the score at two. The hit served two other purposes, extending Goss’ hit streak to ten games and sending Landell to the dugout. The lefty’s final line showed three hits and two walks, allowing two runs to score with eight strikeouts through 7.1 innings.
Frank did not return to start the eighth, ending his outing with two runs allowed on seven hits and a walk with eight strikeouts in seven innings before Wes Hatley came on to earn the winning decision.
Reliever Evan Zerff had no issues retiring the bottom of the eighth, but things didn’t go so smoothly in the ninth as he walked Coleman, allowed a single to Zach Stephens, walked Mitchell, then threw a wild pitch that allowed the Sharks to take a 3-2 lead with runners on second and third with one out.
A Freedman walk juiced the bags again before Goss poked a line drive past everyone all the way to the center field wall for a bases-clearing double.
Morehead City didn’t go down easy, with Annunziata singling to open the bottom of the ninth. He scored on a Reed Gordy double, bringing the contest to its 6-3 final score.