The last time Peninsula finished a home game, as Friday’s contest was suspended due to rain, they walked it off on a balk from Tri-City left-handed pitcher Elijah Parks.
This time around they did it again.
Peninsula (7-1) bested Morehead City (5-4) 2-1 Saturday after second baseman Ethan Hunter smacked a game-winning RBI single down the right field line to score redshirt sophomore Trevon Dabney from second.
“We’ve come a lot closer in the last two weeks,” Hunter said. “To get that gratification feels good.”
Marlins redshirt junior right-hander Brendan Bean retired the first two batters in the top of the ninth with ease, but Dabney reached base on third baseman Jordan Johnson’s first error of the season.
Dabney stole his fourth base of the year on the first pitch of Hunter’s at-bat. On the next one, the Southern Indiana junior ended the ballgame.
“First pitch, threw a fastball and I took it because Tre stole, so then I knew that I basically needed to get a hit,” Hunter said. “He had been throwing a lot of changeups so I sat changeup, he left one over the plate and the rest is history.”
It took six innings for the Pilots to break through against the Marlins’ pitching staff, but when they did, Mason Dunaway — who usually comes through in clutch situations — collected a base knock yet again, singling home redshirt freshman Alden Mathes.
The James Madison infielder now has five RBIs in eight games this season.
That was all early pitching phenom Chris Ludman needed en route to his second seven-inning start of the season.
The righty dealt seven scoreless ball, surrendering just three hits on the night — adding to his impressive 2021 mark of only giving up four hits in 17 innings.
In the seventh with the Pilots clinging to a one-run lead, the first two Morehead City hitters — Phillip Glasser and Jack Harris, respectively — singled before Youngstown State redshirt junior laid down a sacrifice bunt, moving the runners to second and third with one out.
With the infield drawn in, Marlins catcher Zack Miller beat a ball into the ground that Virginia Military Institute shortstop Zac Morris smartly looked Glasser back to third before firing to first for the second out.
Ludman — a junior from the University of Delaware — capped off his night with a strikeout and a fist pump as he walked off the mound.
“When the sun came up today and you knew Ludman was going to get the baseball to start, you knew you were going to have a chance,” head coach Hank Morgan said. “They’ve got some good players and very aggressive at the top of their lineup especially. So, I thought it was really important tonight that we had Ludman there because he has a lot of late movement.”
Ludman turned the ball over to Mathes — who finished 4-for-4 at the plate — with a 1-0 lead that was lost in the eighth on Joe Mason’s RBI single to center. The Richmond lefty pitched a scoreless ninth and earned the win Saturday.
The Pilots are back on the road Sunday for their third matchup with the Tri-City Chili Peppers. The second matchup between these two was scheduled for Thursday, but was postponed because of weather with Friday’s game getting suspended due to rain in the bottom of the fourth inning — the final 5 1/2 innings will be finished Monday at 6 p.m.
After a 30-minute intermission, the two will square off once again in a seven-inning ballgame on Dollar Dog Night, as the Pilots will also celebrate the 246th birthday of the United States Army.