Updated July 22 2017
The ZOOperstars were in Holly Springs Friday night, but their presence wasn’t enough to help the Holly Springs Salamanders reel in the Sharks, as the Salamanders fell 6-5 at Ting Stadium.
John Grigg (Freshman, Lenoir Rhyne) started on the mound for the Salamanders and surrendered a lead off home run to Wilmington’s Justin Dean (Sophomore, Lenoir Rhyne), one of his 4 earned runs on the night. Grigg struck out 5 batters in 4 innings of work.
Kent Klyman (Freshman, N.C. State) worked 3 scoreless innings in relief which allowed the Salamanders to even the score at 4-all in the bottom of the seventh inning. Tripp Shelton (Junior, UNCG) singled in the sixth, stole second and advanced to third on the errant throw. He scored two batters later when Peyton Isaacson (Sophomore, Costal Carolina) singled to right to push the first run across for the Salamanders. In the bottom of the seventh, Jack Conley (Sophomore, N.C. State) singled, Austin LaFollette (Freshman, UNCW) doubled, and Shelton singled, scoring both Conley and LaFollette. Shelton advanced to second on the throw home. One batter later, Adam Sisk (Junior, James Madison) singled up the middle to bring Shelton around for the second time on the night.
With the score tied, the Salamanders brought in one of their top relievers in Ryan Lefner (Sophomore, Saint Louis). The Sharks led off the inning with a single and followed it up with a two-run home run to center field, making the score 6-4 Wilmington. Lefner settled in from there and recorded the next three batters in order.
In the ninth, the Salamanders turned to Matt Cronin (Freshman, Arkansas) to keep the game within reach. He looked to be in trouble before a bizarre double play ended the threatening Sharks. With the infield drawn in, Shelton made a spectacular diving play to his right to stop the ball in the infield. The runner at third broke for home but was forced back to the base by Shelton’s throw home. Isaacson ran the runner back to third, but both base runners wound up on third base at the same time, and Isaacson tagged both runners while they were on base. The trailing runner was declared out by plate umpire Bryant Hodge, but the lead runner stepped off third base and started heading back to the dugout at the same time. So Isaacson tagged the lead runner a second time and was able to record a double play right out of “Little Big League” to end the Sharks’ threat.
The Salamanders sent five batters to the plate in the bottom of the ninth. Josh Hollander (Sophomore, Kent State) walked with one out and took second after the pitcher made an errant pickoff throw to first. Hollander advanced on Shelton’s infield ground out and later scored on Sisk’s rocket through the middle of the diamond. That is where the rally ended. Isaacson (Sophomore, Costal Carolina) was jammed and broke his bat for the final ground out of the night.
The Salamanders play in Wilmington tomorrow night before returning home on Sunday evening to face the Asheboro Copperheads at Ting Stadium. First pitch on Sunday is scheduled for 5:40 p.m.