Morehead City had won its last five games entering play Saturday and Martinsville had lost 12 straight, but both streaks ended as the Marlins lost 9-4 to the last-place Mustangs.
The game was tied at four runs apiece after seven innings, but Martinsville struck for two runs in the eighth and tacked on three more in the ninth to roll to their first victory in the last 12 games.
An error, a base hit and an RBI groundout led to the two runs in the eighth off Jordan Knutson, who suffered his fifth loss of the season despite not allowing an earned run. Brett Valentine made his debut in the ninth, and gave up singles to two of the first three batters he faced. That brought up Matt Petrizzi, who was pinch-hitting for Martinsville, and he broke the game open with a two-run triple to center before scoring himself on a single from Kyle Nowlin.
“Most of the game we left plays on the field, defensively and offensively,” said head coach Sam Carel. “There may not have been many errors, but we left too many plays there on the field. We were just not ourselves.”
Morehead City was able to claw back to tie the game at four after going down 4-0 early on, much to the credit of Alex Torres. Torres knocked an RBI single to make it a 4-2 game in the fifth, then with two outs and a man on in the seventh crushed a two-run home run to center to tie the game. It was Torres’ first home run of the season.
In his four games with Morehead City, Torres has five extra-base hits (four doubles and a home run) and has driven in seven runs. He finished Saturday’s game 2-for-4 with the homer, three RBI and a run scored.
“He really squares up the fastball extremely well,” Carel said.
Dalton Britt also had two hits in the game in three at bats, while Jacob Bruce was 2-for-4 with a stolen base.
The game-tying run in the seventh inning let Kurt Lipscomb off the hook, as he was in line for the loss for Morehead City despite pitching a decent game. He struggled in the first two innings, and was burned on a mistake pitch to the number nine hitter Sam Tolleson that he crushed for a three-run home run and to make it it a 4-0 game. After that, Lipscomb settled down considerably.
He worked 1-2-3 innings in the fourth and sixth, and allowed just one base runner in the middle innings—a hit by pitch to lead off the fifth. He finished with a six-inning performance plus two batters in the seventh, and allowed the four runs while striking out a season-high eight batters. It was the third straight start that Lipscomb has worked at least six innings.
“The first two innings were bad,” Lipscomb said. “I couldn’t get anything location-wise, but after I got my curveball working all was good.”
Lipscomb’s counterpart Max Beermann also put forth a sound outing, keeping the Marlins hitters off-balance and holding them to two runs through his first six-innings pitched. His only real hiccup was the Torres’ home run in the seventh.
“His two-seamer was really good and he had electric stuff,” Carel said. “When you are able to get strikeouts and pop ups like he did, that is a pretty successful night.”
The Marlins still sit in first place in the CPL East, one game up on the Peninsula Pilots. Morehead City will return home again Sunday to take on the Columbia Blowfish, with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m.
“We talked about that afterwards, we are a first place team we are not going to dwell on this loss,” Carel said. “We are going to come back tomorrow and get after it and have a successful day.”
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 71 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