Updated August 01 2017
The Florence RedWolves and Wilmington Sharks combined for 28 hits in an offensive affair Tuesday night at Sparrow Stadium. Unfortunately for the home team, Wilmington will swim back to the coast with a 9-5 victory after capitalizing with runners in scoring position as opposed to the RedWolves.
Wilmington (29-20, 16-5) jumped off to an early start over the Florence RedWolves (23-24, 9-11) plating four runs in the top of the first inning on five hits. Justin Dean lead the way with a base hit up the middle. After a strikeout, Luke Morgan doubled to right field driving in Dean taking a 1-0 lead. With two outs Brian Perreira singled to right to score Morgan and advanced to second on the play at home. A batter later in Daniel Wondrack, a third run was plated on a double down the left field line. Ward Coleman then checked a seeing-eye single to right to make it 4-0 in the early going.
The Sharks tacked on a fifth run in the top of the fourth inning on a Morgan RBI base hit. Thatcher Coleman led off with a single to left field and moved to second after a one-out walk was issued to Dean. Both runners advanced on a wild pitch. Michael Sandle hit into a fielder’s choice that erased Coleman at the plate on the play. A batter later in Morgan lashed a single back through the middle to put Wilmington’s lead to 5-0.
Florence’s offense was prevalent all night long, having recorded 14 hits on the evening, but couldn’t find the right formula to push more than two runs across in an inning.
The RedWolves did plate their first run of the game in the bottom of the fourth inning on a Logan McRae moon shot to left field. McRae’s fourth home run of the season landed well beyond the left field fence and was last seen skipping off the parking lot’s asphalt. The blast made the score 5-1.
Wilmington kept adding to their score consistently though, putting another run aboard in the sixth inning. The run that made it a 6-1 contest was a solo home run by Cam Locklear. The hit drew the RedWolves to go to the bullpen relieving starter TJ Clark (0-4). Clark threw five and a-third, relenting six runs on 11 hits, walked three and struck out four. Tristen Watts came in to close the final 3.2 innings for the RedWolves.
Florence scrapped two runs in the home half of the sixth. With two outs and the bases loaded Connor Howell dribbled a swinging bunt to third base. The ball rolled just slow enough for Ward Coleman to not have a play and make the score 5-2. Leadoff hitter Jim Wagner, who was 3-for-5 on the night, drove in his lone RBI of the game on a line drive single to left to put the RedWolves within two, 5-3.
Thatcher Coleman provided another solo home run for the Sharks in the seventh inning to extend the lead 6-3. In the eighth, Parreira along with Wondrack both drove in runs to push the Wilmington lead to 9-3.
Going into the bottom of the ninth Florence trailed by six runs. The Sharks went to the bullpen for Mitch Spence who gave up back-to-back singles to Cornell Nixon (2-for-5) and Zach Jacobs (2-for-5) and then two walks to McRae and Brandon Chapman to put the RedWolves in business and down 9-4. Trey Chapman drove in Jacobs on a sacrifice fly to centerfield making it 9-5 in the bottom of the final frame and that would be all the home team could salvage.
Noah Michael (5-1) picked up the win for the Sharks tossing 6.0 innings giving up three runs, all earned, on 11 hits, two walks and a strikeout.
Watts finished with 3.2 innings worked and gave up three runs on three hits, a walk and a strikeout.
With just six games remaining in the regular season, Florence sits in fifth place on the outside looking in for the 2017 playoffs.
The RedWolves will travel to take on the Martinsville Mustangs on Wednesday, August 2nd at 7:15 at Hooker Field. Florence will return home for a two-game home stand Thursday and Friday. Visit www.florenceredwolves.com for more information and tickets.
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