Tobs Can't Hold Late Lead Against Morehead City

08/03/2017 7:57 PM -

The Tobs dropped a heartbreaker Thursday at Historic Fleming Stadium, as the Morehead City Marlins snatched victory from the jaws of defeat, winning 6-5 in front of a large Thirsty Thursday crowd. 

Morehead City opened the scoring in the top of the second inning, when Nolan Clenny (NC State) grounded into a 6-4 fielders choice, scoring Will Matthiessen (Stanford) from third. Relatively speaking, the Tobs got out of the inning unscathed, as Tobs starter Sam Luchansky (Belmont Abbey) was able to wriggle out of a bases-loaded, nobody-out jam with just one run allowed. 

In the bottom half of the inning, the Tobs would take their first lead. With Dawnoven Smith (NC A&T) on third and Conner Leonard (Appalachian State) on first base, Carson McCurdy (Mount Olive) singled into right field over the head of second baseman Tyler Jones (Chowan) to bring in both runners and give the Tobs a 2-1 lead. 

The back-and-forth effort would continue, as Morehead City plated two more in the top of the fourth. With Alec Wilson (Stanford) on second after he doubled to right-center, he was driven in by a Sammy Miller (Longwood) single to right field to tie the game at 2-2. The next man up Nick Podkul (Notre Dame) wrapped a double down the left-field line, scoring Miller to give the Marlins the lead at 3-2. 

The Tobs would respond with two runs of their own in the bottom of the sixth inning. With one out, Conner Leonard reached second after a Nick Podkul throwing error. The next batter Carson McCurdy doubled to the left-center field wall, tying the game at 3 as the unearned run crossed the plate. The double was McCurdy's second of the game and third hit overall for the game. Two batters later, Hunter Gore (Liberty) drove in McCurdy with a double of his own, a one-hopper off the right center field wall, giving the Tobs a 4-3 lead. 

In the top of the seventh inning, Morehead City tied the game once more when Nick Podkul launched a no-doubt home run to left center field, his seventh of the year, making it a 4-4 game. 

In the bottom of the inning, the Tobs took the lead right back. With two outs in the inning, Jake Holtzapple (UNC) doubled to right field, setting up Dawnoven Smith. Smith dropped a bloop single into shallow right-center, scoring Holtzapple, giving the Tobs a 5-4 lead and chasing Morehead City starter Quinton Driggers (Newberry) from the game. 

The game wouldn't see any more scoring until the top of the ninth inning. Jeff Thompson (Belmont Abbey) was gunning for the save for the Tobs in relief of Sam Luchansky. Thompson had struck out three straight batters in the eighth, but the ninth saw a slip in command for the lefty. He walked the first man he faced, but then got Nick Podkul to ground into a 6-4-3 double play to leave the Tobs one out away from victory. 

The next batter, Will Matthiessen, started a streak of five straight Marlins reaching base by walking. Jackson Ware (Mercer) walked after Matthiessen. Mark Castelucci lined a 1-2 pitch into right field to set Morehead City up with the bases loaded, and the Tobs still just needing one more out. Designated hitter Nolan Clenny, a starting pitcher that manager Jesse Lancaster had inserted into the lineup Thursday, was then hit by a 2-2 Jeff Thompson fastball to force in the tying run, as Matthiessen came to the plate. The next batter, Charlie King (Davidson), another pitcher inserted into Thursday's lineup to play third base, knocked an infield single off the glove of new pitcher Jakob Ryan (George Mason) to score the go-ahead run, giving the Marlins a 6-5 lead as Jackson Ware came to the plate. Ryan then struck out Freddie Beamon (USC-Aiken) to end the inning and send the Tobs up in the bottom of the ninth, looking to pull the heroics. 

Will Matthiessen moved from first base to the mound to close it out for the Marlins, and the Stanford product calmly retired the Tobs 1-2-3 in the ninth to lock down his third save of the year.

The winning pitcher was Kip DeShields (Youngstown State) for the Marlins, who went 1.1 innings Thursday, going to 2-1 on the season. Jeff Thompson was the losing pitcher for the Tobs, falling to 0-1. 

With the loss, the Tobs fell to 8-17 in the second half and 17-36 overall. The Tobs are back in action Friday night for a road matchup with the Edenton Steamers from Historic Hicks Field. 

The Wilson Tobs enter their 21st season as an original member within the Coastal Plain League for the 2017 summer. The upcoming season for the Tobs will see an expanded community outreach effort, increased participation in helping the less fortunate and more exciting entertainment for the Wilson Community. We would like to dedicate each successful season to the Wilson Community, Coastal Plain League Organization, Host Families, Sponsors Partners and the Dedicated Fans throughout the city of Wilson. The Wilson Tobs have played host to over 100 alumni taken in the draft and have produced a dozen players who have gone on to play in the MLB, including Cy Young & MVP winner Justin Verlander. For more information on the Wilson Tobs, visit our website www.wilsontobs.com.

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