FLORENCE, SC- In a quest to win back to back CPL titles, the first game of the series did not go so well for the Peninsula Pilots as they dropped a 4-1 decision to the West Champion, Florence RedWolves, at Sparrow Stadium on Thursday evening.
The RedWolves jumped out early and kept the Pilots at bay for the first win of the series, putting them one win away from winning the 2014 Petitt Cup Championship.
Florence hit the Pilots’ starter, Ryan Lenaburg (Southeast Missouri State), hard and often but only was able to score three runs in the first two innings. Lenaburg did a good job of minimizing the RedWolves’ offensively to keep his team in the game but the Pilots only mustered five hits and could not get anything going offensively in the game.
The West Division Champions hit back to back one-out singles in the first inning to get things started. Andrew Cox (Clemson) plated Joseph Bialkowski (Georgetown) and Brandon Rawe (Morehead State) with a double to right-center. Lenaburg retired the next two batters to minimize the damage to two runs.
Florence added another run in the second inning on a RBI single by Jordan Gore (South Carolina) that scored Conor Sullivan (Ave Maria).
The Pilots threatened in the third inning but only got one run to show for it. Back to back base hits by PJ Higgins (Old Dominion) and Andres Nelo (Lee) put runners on the corners with no outs for the visitors. The threat was diminished immediately as Connor Myers (Old Dominion) hit into a double play to score Higgins.
Peninsula never really threatened after that against the RedWolves’ pitching staff. Jacob Condra-Bogan (Wofford) got the start for Florence. He pitched six solid innings, giving up a run on four hits and striking out five. Ryan Griffith (Furman) pitched two scoreless innings and Michael Morrison (Coastal Carolina) pitched the ninth for his third save of the season.
Florence added another run in the sixth inning with a RBI single by Rawe that scored Gore to give the RedWolves a 4-1 lead.
Lenaburg was charged with the loss, evening his record to 1-1 on the postseason. He pitched five innings, giving up three runs on ten hits and adding four strikeouts. Blair Betts (UNC-Greensboro) struck out one in an inning of work. Wes McGuire (Lenoir-Rhyne) retired all four batters he faced and Derek Justice (Mount Olive) recorded two outs to keep the RedWolves scoreless.
The two teams will move the series back to Hampton for Games 2 and 3. The Pilots look to avenge the Game 1 loss on Friday night for Game 2 at 7:05pm. If necessary, Game 3 will be played Saturday night at War Memorial Stadium. 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