PJ Higgins (Old Dominion) made history with his 11th inning walk-off single to complete an 8-0 deficit to defeat the visiting Petersburg Generals 10-9 in the regular season home finale on Saturday night at War Memorial Stadium.
The win gave the Pilots their 450th CPL victory in 14 seasons as well as the first time they have reached the 40-win plateau in team history. The Pilots moved to 40-14 this season, surpassing their team record of 39 wins that was accomplish last season.Two Pilots (Higgins and Nick Lustrino) played all nine positions during the game, while Wes McGuire (Lenoir-Rhyne) broke the Pilots’ single-season record in appearances. McGuire made his 26th appearance tonight to break the record.
Additionally, the win secured the East Division’s Second Half Championship for the Pilots, as well as give Peninsula the #1 seed in the East during the 2014 CPL Petitt Cup Playoffs.
With the game tied at nine in the 11th inning, Garrett Brooks (East Carolina) drew a leadoff walk. After advancing to third on two wild pitches, Higgins stroked a 2-0 pitch to left-center to end a long night. The duration was approaching six hours including the one hour delay time when the winning run scored.
The Generals jumped out to an 8-0 lead before the Pilots even recorded their first hit of the night. Petersburg used a six-run second inning and looked to run away with the game before the Pilots clawed back into the game.
Petersburg led off the second inning with two infield singles and a hit by pitch to load the bases. Two bases loaded walks brought in runs before David Martinez (Newberry) and Thomas Stallings (VMI) brought in two runs apiece to take a 6-0 lead.
The Generals added two more in the third with a two-run double by Nick Christopher (Virginia State) to take a 8-0 lead.
Taylor Edens (VMI) did a spectacular job keeping the Generals off the board as he pitched 3 2/3 innings of scoreless ball, allowing two hits and striking out four.
With Edens keeping the visitors off the board, the Pilots used a six-run fifth inning to get back into the game. Although they scored six runs, they did it with only one hit, Alex Close’s (Liberty) two-run single. Brandon Stephens (Georgia) started off the inning reaching on a wild pitch on a strikeout. Weather was a factor as the next two batters reached on sacrifice bunt errors, loading the bases with no outs. Kyle Kempf (Southern Indiana) drew a walk to bring in a run. Taylor Ostrich (Old Dominion) reached on a fielder’s choice to bring in the second run. Higgins followed with a walk and the Pilots found themselves down only five with no outs. Close delivered the only hit of the inning with a two run single up the middle to put Peninsula down three. Higgins would score later in the inning and the hosts were down two.
Edens kept the Generals off the board in the sixth and the Pilots scored to bring themselves within one. Ostrich hit an infield single to third allowing Garrett Brooks (East Carolina) to score.
Peninsula tied it up when Brooks drew a bases loaded walk in the seventh inning.
Nick Lustrino (Temple) gave the Pilots the lead in the eighth with a two-out RBI single, scoring Jason McMurray (Iowa Western CC). Petersburg tied it up in the ninth with a RBI single by Michael Byron (Albany State).
The Pilots will take Sunday off before ending their regular season with a doubleheader against Petersburg on Monday night in Petersburg. The Pilots will host at least one playoff game this season. They will host Game 2 and if necessary, Game 3 against an opponent to be named later. 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 72 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