HAMPTON, Va. – The Peninsula Pilots squandered an eight-run lead as they dropped an 11-10 contest to the Fayetteville SwampDogs on Sunday night at War Memorial Stadium.
The Pilots (25-18, 9-6) led 8-0 after two innings, only to see the SwampDogs (28-16, 10-6) battle back and hold off the Pilots. Fayetteville extended their lead to 2.5 games over the Pilots as both teams make their playoff push.
Peninsula jumped out to an early lead with two runs in their first at-bats. Nathan Eaton (VMI) hit a one-out single before swiping second. Logan Augustine (Lincoln Memorial) followed with a single up the middle to score Eaton for an early 1-0 lead. Drake McNamara (Southern Indiana) was plunked by a pitch and a wild pitch moved both runners into scoring position. The heads up base running proved crucial as Drew Delsignore (Mercyhurst) brought in the second run with a sacrifice fly.
The Pilots batted around in the second inning to jump out to an 8-0 lead. Sam Griggs (Southern Indiana) drew a walk to lead off the inning. After two quick outs, the Pilots mounted their rally to break the game open. Griggs stole second and moved to third on an error. After a walk to Dubrule, Eaton hit a double to left field to score Griggs. Augustine continued his hot streak with a two-run single up the middle and advanced to second on an error. McNamara made the ‘Dogs pay with a single up the middle to score Augustine before Delsignore capped the scoring with a monster two-run home run and CPL leading 12th blast for an 8-0 lead.
Fayetteville wasted no time as they quickly plated six runs in the top of the third inning to close the gap. A lead off walk and error set up the first run on a RBI single by Jose Rojas (Miami Dade). After a fielder’s choice scored another run, Jayson Hewman (Cal St. Northridge) hit a double to deep center field to score two runs. Jonathan Allen (San Francisco) capped the scoring with a two-run home run to right field to bring the SwampDogs within two.
Trent Franson (TCU) brought the SwampDogs within one with a solo shot down the left-field foul pole.
Peninsula responded with a run in the bottom of the inning to provide some cushion. McNamara led off the inning with a single followed by a walk to Delsignore. Matt Schneider (Mercyhurst) delivered a RBI single up the middle to put the Pilots ahead 9-7. Delsignore and Schneider pulled off a successful double steal and Griggs loaded the bases with a walk but the Pilots were unable to push across anymore runs.
Newman tied the game with a two-run home run in the seventh inning. A few batters later, Jay Robinson (New Orleans) gave the SwampDogs the first lead of the game with a pinch hit two-run single.
The Pilots climbed within one when Griggs doubled to left-center to score Delsignore, who singled and stole second.
Peninsula had a chance to push the tying run across but stranded two runners on the bases when the final out was made.
Brett Brooks (LSU-Alexandria) picked up the win while Paul Hall Jr. (Virginia Tech) fell to 1-3 on the season with the loss. Zach Neff (Austin Peay) picked up his second save of the season.
The Pilots and SwampDogs will tangle again on Monday night at War Memorial Stadium.
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The Coastal Plain League is the nation’s premier summer collegiate baseball league. Celebrating its 21st season in 2017, the CPL features 15 teams playing in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. The CPL has had nearly 1,300 alumni drafted and 97 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 www.coastalplain.com and follow us via Twitter @CPLBaseball.