HAMPTON, VA- For the third time this week, the Peninsula Pilots completed a late rally to steal a win, this time 3-2 from the Asheboro Copperheads on Thursday night at War Memorial Stadium.
Trailing 2-1 in the eighth inning, the Pilots scored two runs on a throwing error to steal the lead and hang on for a 3-2 victory over the Copperheads. The come from behind victory is the third this week as the Pilots stole wins from Petersburg on Monday night and Morehead City on Tuesday night. Peninsula has four wins this season trailing after seven innings, three of them coming this week.
Jason McMurray (Iowa Western CC) gave the Pilots life in the eighth inning with a double down the right field line. Garrett Brooks (East Carolina) reached on a fielder’s choice but McMurray was thrown out at third for the first out. Andres Nelo (Lee) followed with a walk to put two runners on with one out. After a fly out allowed Brooks to advance to third, Nelo stole second to put two runners in scoring position. Alex Close (Liberty) hit a slow roller to third that prompted a bad throw and allowed both runners to score and give the Pilots a 3-2 lead.
Asheboro threatened in the ninth but Brandon Stephens (Georgia) buckled down to notch his third save of the season with a scoreless inning. Stephens plunked the first batter he faced and advanced on a sacrifice bunt. With a runner on second and two outs, Stephens struck out the next two batters to close out the game. Matt Outman (Norfolk State) was credited with the win to move to 5-0 on the season with two scoreless innings.
Peninsula moved to 27-9 on the season, 6-2 in the second half while Asheboro falls to 14-20, 2-5 in the second half. The win allowed Pilots to sweep the season series (2-0) and improve their home record to 12-6 by winning their fifth consecutive game.
The Copperheads jumped on the Pilots with two runs in the second inning. After a fly out to start the inning, Connor Owings (Coastal Carolina) doubled down the right field line. Austin Bossart (Pennsylvania) brought him home with a triple to right-center for the game’s first run. GK Young (Coastal Carolina) brought in Bossart with a RBI groundout to give the Copperheads a 2-0 lead.
The Pilots answered in the bottom half with a sacrifice fly by Nick Lustrino (Temple). All-Star, Alex Close (Liberty), led off the inning with a double down the left field line. Will Shepherd (Liberty) advanced Close to third with a sacrifice bunt. Lustrino brought in Close with a fly ball that was deep enough to score Close to cut the Copperheads’ lead to 2-1.
Taylor Edens (VMI) made his third start of the season and tossed five innings of two-run ball. He scattered three hits and struck out three on the night. Blair Betts (UNC-Greensboro) followed with a scoreless sixth inning.
Trevor Richards (Drury) got the start for the Copperheads and gave Asheboro a chance to win by giving up a run on three hits in six innings. Garrett Lavorn (Clemson) and Kellen Urbon (Cornell) combined to get four outs. Jacob Wolfe (East Carolina) was charged with the loss for his first decision of the season.
The game started after an hour and half rain delay because of torrential downpours.
The Pilots will head to Edenton on Friday night for a rematch of Wednesday’s game that Peninsula defeated the Steamers 11-4. The two teams will battle again on Saturday night at War Memorial Stadium for a night sponsored by Water’s Edge Church! For more information regarding the season, please visit www.peninsulapilots.com. For up to the minute details on Pilots Baseball be sure to “Like” us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @PeninsulaPilots. Use the #PilotsNation to spread the word about the Pilots!
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. The CPL has had over 1,200 alumni drafted and 70 of those – including 2011 AL MVP and Cy Young winner Justin Verlander – make their Major League debut; while another notable alum - Russell Wilson - won Super Bowl XLVIII. For more information on the Coastal Plain League, please visit the league website at