Late game magic propels Pilots

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HAMPTON, VA- For the second game, the Peninsula Pilots used their late game magic to come from behind to snatch a victory, this time from the Morehead City Marlins with an 8-7 victory on Tuesday night at War Memorial Stadium.

Trailing 7-3 in the eighth inning, the Pilots offense scored five runs to take an 8-7 lead. Andy Lennington (Southeast Missouri State) led off the inning with a single before Andres Nelo (Lee) drew a walk and Garrett Brooks (East Carolina) was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Kyle Kempf (Southern Indiana) beat out a possible double play to score Lennington. Taylor Ostrich (Old Dominion) reached on an error to score another run for the Pilots. PJ Higgins (Old Dominion) brought Peninsula within one with a single to left center. Alex Close (Liberty) gave the Pilots their first lead of the night with a two run double to left field.

With an 8-7 lead into the ninth, Brandon Stephens (Georgia) worked around an error to close out the victory for his second save of the season. Jordan Brooks (Georgia College & State) earned his first victory (1-2) with a scoreless eighth inning before the Pilots took the lead.

The Marlins jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning with the help of a couple Pilots miscues. Johnny Caputo (Stony Brook) hit a two-run double and Dalton Britt (Liberty) singled up the middle to give Morehead City a 3-0 lead.

The Pilots clawed back with single runs in the first and second innings. Higgins brought in Brooks with an infield single in the first inning. In the second inning, Nelo successfully laid down a safety squeeze to cut the Marlins’ lead to 3-2.

The Marlins were leading 4-3 in the sixth inning before they scored three runs to break the game open. Eduardo Castro (Odessa) belted a two run home run and Nick Lombardi (Dartmouth) added a sacrifice fly to give the Marlins a 7-3 lead.

The late rally spoiled Cal Quantrill’s (Stanford) solid start with 5 2/3 innings, giving up three runs and striking out seven. Quantrill will be the East Division’s starting pitcher in this weekend’s All-Star Game in Morehead City. Casey Eskew (Florida Southern) took the loss (0-1), giving up two runs in an inning of work.

Austin Heenan (VMI) battled through four innings for the Pilots, giving up four runs and striking out two. Cole Cromer (Newberry) followed with two innings of work, giving up three runs. Blair Betts (UNC-Greensboro) added a scoreless inning with two strikeouts before giving way to Brooks and Stephens to close out the game.

The victory gave the Pilots their 25th win of the season to move to 25-9 overall and 4-2 in the second half. They moved to 11-6 at home while Morehead City fell to 9-23 (4-1) and 2-15 on the road.

Higgins led the Pilots with a 4-for-5 night adding two RBIs while Close added two RBIs. The Marlins had four players with multi-hit games in Castro, Caputo, Tyler Campbell (Vanderbilt) and Trent Leimkuehler (St. Louis).

The Pilots will head to Edenton on Wednesday night before returning home on Thursday night to host Asheboro for Mismatch Night! For more information regarding the season, please visit 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 69 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
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