MOREHEAD CITY, N.C. – The Morehead City Marlins (35-14) extended their historic season with a 4-2 win over the Wilson Tobs (23-24) and will move onto the Petitt Cup Finals for the first time in franchise history.
Senior Octavio Mirabal (King University) made his 10th start of the season for the Marlins and held the Tobs scoreless through 6.1 innings. The left-hander notched seven strike outs and held Wilson to just two hits. Mirabal improves his record to 6-0 on the summer.
The Marlins struck first in the bottom of the second inning after Hunter Shepherd (Catawba College) grounded a ball up the middle and Wilson's shortstop mishandled it to give Morehead City their base runner of the game. Colin Allman (Newberry College) and Brendan Dougherty (Bradley University) each drew a walk in the following two at bats. Alex Pimentel (Southwestern Oklahoma) took a pitch through the left side of the infield that scored the first two runs of the night.
In the bottom of the third inning, with two outs, Joe Mason (Pitt CC) blasted his fifth home run of the season to push the Marlins out in front 3-0 after the three.
With two outs in the sixth inning the Marlins offense picked back up when Allman laced a single to left field, stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Dougherty then worked his team-most 39th walk of the season to put runners on the corners. Dougherty attempted a delayed steal, drawing a throw to second from the Tobs catcher that allowed Allman to score before the third out was recorded. The run gave the Marlins a 4-0 advantage.
Marlins reliever Ashton Raines (Bloomsburg University) took over on the mound with one out and the bases loaded in the top of the seventh inning. The junior recorded back-to-back strikeouts to end the frame and leave all three runners stranded. Raines continued his work in the eighth when he struck out the side.
With the Tobs threatening in the ninth, trailing 4-0, they had worked the bases loaded. Brandon Marklund (Bryan College) entered to make his team-most 24th appearance. The Tobs posted two runs in the frame, but a lineout double-play from Allman to Pimentel in the middle infield posted the first two outs of the frame. Marklund then slammed the door shut and secured a trip to the Petitt Cup Finals with a game-ending strike out for his fifth save of the summer.
Morehead City will face High Point-Thomasville in the best of three series that will begin Thursday at High Point-Thomasville, before returning to Big Rock Stadium on Friday at 7:05 p.m. and Saturday night, if necessary.
Team Records: Morehead City (36-15), Wilson (23-24)
News & Notes:
- The Marlins will make their first-ever trip to the championship round, having not been past the first round prior to this summer.
- Morehead City moves to 36-14 overall and 18-5 record at home.
- The club improved to 32-1 when leading after the sixth inning.
- Octavio Mirabal jumped to 6-0 on the season, while Brandon Marklund earned his sixth save.
- Joe Mason blasted his fifth home run of the season to tie Shepherd for the team-most.
- When scoring 3+ runs the Marlins are now 33-3.
- Morehead City improved to 3-1 against Wilson this season.
The Marlins will head to High Point-Thomasville on Thursday night for Game 1 of the best of three series. Morehead City will return to Big Rock Stadium on Friday night at 7:05 p.m. for Game 2. If necessary, Game 3 would be on Saturday at Big Rock Stadium.