Morehead City managed only three hits against Tobs pitching on Saturday, as they fell 6-1 in a rain-shortened, seven inning game at Big Rock Stadium.
The Marlins had three singles in the first two innings, including an RBI base hit from Eduardo Castro in the second, but were then held hitless over the next five frames by starter John Valek and reliever Braden Bristo.
Valek tossed a strong six innings and was touched for just the one run. He retired the last eight batters he faced in the game before being lifted in favor of Bristo in the seventh. Bristo walked the bases loaded in the seventh, but was able to get Nick Lombardi on a groundball to first to end the inning, and the game.
“It does make a difference when the lead of guy in each inning gets on,” said head coach Sam Carel. “That helps us generate some offense. We didn’t do a good job tonight of getting the leadoff guy on.”
The ballgame was started 45 minutes late due to rainy conditions in Morehead City, and the rain did not subside for the duration of the game. But the moist conditions did not hinder either starting pitcher’s ability to work effectively.
Right-hander Davis Kirkpatrick threw six innings for the Marlins, putting together his longest outing of the season and his most effective. He allowed a first inning, two-run home run to Seth LaRue, but after that held the Tobs scoreless and struck out seven while walking just two. It was the lowest walk total of any of Kirkpatrick’s four starts, and it was just the fourth quality start by Marlins’ pitching this season.
“He struggled early in the game but he got out of the inning, minimized the damage and went back out there and established his fastball,” Carel said. “He competed really well. It’s huge for any staff when a guy can get in there and be able to get outs.”
Wilson’s insurance inning came in the top of the seventh, when they extended their lead to 6-1. Jordan Knutson started the inning with a groundout, and had two outs with a runner on second, but then gave up a double, walk and another double before being lifted in favor of Logan Hershenow. With the four runs allowed tonight, Knutson has now allowed eight runs in his last 5.2 innings.
Eduardo Castro, despite a .143 average entering play, has been making contact when it is needed, as he now has a run driven in in his first three games. His RBI single accounted for the lone Marlins’ tally.
Nick Lombardi was 1-for-3 with a walk, while Kyle Carroll walked twice in the game and has now been on base in 21 of his last 28 plate appearances (.750 on-base percentage).
The win in the game went to Valek, who improves to 3-0, while Kirkpatrick is now 0-3 after suffering the loss. The game took two hours and 21 minutes to play in front of 691 fans.
Morehead City will remain home after Sunday’s off day to play the Wilmington Sharks for the fifth time this season. First pitch is at 7:05 p.m.
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