Updated June 14 2016
Ryan Colombo (Drury) delivered in the clutch Tuesday night, drilling a single to right in the last of the ninth to chase home Vito Friscia (Hofstra) from second and give the Asheboro Copperheads a walk-off 5-4 win over the Lexington County Blowfish in a battle for first place in the CPL West Division.
The Copperheads had led 4-1 going to the eighth and seemed to be in total command, but the Blowfish rallied and tied it in the top of the ninth when Jason Costa (Furman) smacked a two-run homer off Asheboro closer Bryan Blanton (Catawba), who was trying for his fourth save in as many games.
But in the last of the ninth, Friscia drew a leadoff walk and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by Derek Perry (Pfeiffer). Kyle Smith (Catawba) was hit by a pitch to put runners at first and second, setting the stage for Colombo, an all-CPL player for the Copperheads last summer who had struggled at the plate through the team’s first nine games this season. But Colombo capped off his best night of the season, lining a pitch toward the right field corner that sent Friscia home from second with the game-winning run. Earlier in the game, Colombo had tripled and also reached on a bunt single and Friscia also had two earlier hits.
Although Blanton blew his first save opportunity this season, he wound up getting his first win. The late rally by the Blowfish to tie the game cost Asheboro starter Wil Sellers (Gardner-Webb) a win. He left after seven strong innings leading 4-1, but wasn’t rewarded after the Blowfish got one in the eighth off reliever Jacob Craver (Charlotte) and then two in the ninth off Blanton. Sellers gave up seven hits, struck out seven and walked one.
The Copperheads played long ball to help built their 4-1 lead. T.J. Nichting (Charlotte) homered to lead off the fourth and and Kyle Smith belted a one-out homer in the seventh. Nichting’s homer was his second of the season.
Hayden Deal (Presbyterian), the fourth Lexington County pitcher of the ninth, was tagged with the loss.
The win improved Asheboro’s league-best record to 8-2 and was the fourth straight for the Copperheads. They are now 6-1 in the friendly confines of McCrary Park. The Blowfish lost for the second straight night and are now 8-4.
Asheboro travels to Martinsville for a doubleheader Wednesday. The teams will play two seven-inning games, with the first one starting at 6 p.m.The Coastal Plain League is the nation’s premier summer collegiate baseball league. Celebrating its 20th season in 2016, the CPL features 16 teams playing in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia. The CPL has had nearly 1,300 alumni drafted and 94 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.Contact: