In their first road test of the 2015 season, the Wilmington Sharks (1-2) were able to overcome four errors and survive a late rally by the Morehead City Marlins (3-1) to pick up their first win of the season by a score of 6-5. Their evening was supported by seven hits and a strong output on the mound by the left-handed John Parke, who is credited with the win.
After relenting a pair of runs in the top of the first, Parke's teammates would not wait long to retaliate with some offense of their own. In the top of the third inning, Sam Foy and Ben Conner would knock back-to-back singles and would be moved into scoring position by a well placed SAC bunt by Hayes Nelson. Brett Smith would take one for the team to load the bases for Nick Rotola. His patience at the plate would be rewarded with an RBI walk to score Sam Foy. A wild pitch would allow Ben Conner to waltz in safely from third and put runners on second and third for Alex Destino, who would sit on a fastball to clear the bases.
Before the game, John Parke said he worked all spring on his consistency, and aside from a few miscues in the first, his stability seemed to be in place. Parke would go six strong innings, producing seven soft-contact fly outs while striking out seven Marlins in the process.
Marlins relief pitcher Ben Harrison ran out of steam in the fifth, walking four consecutive Sharks batters - the last of which was an RBI for Ben Conner. Harrison would promptly be replaced by Harper Grier, who was welcomed to the ballgame in the form of a Hayes Nelson squib single down the third base line to bring in Corey Herndon to give the Sharks two runs in the frame - both coming with two outs.
Joe Bialkowski, in his debut game for the Wilmington, hit the first three-bagger of the year for the Sharks by tagging a ball to deep left-center field in the eighth inning. Inspired by Bialkowski's stand triple, Morehead City third-baseman Stephen Wallace would instigate a Marlins rally in the bottom of the same inning.
With Michael Castellani on the mound, Dominick Commarta would reach base on an error by shortstop Nick Rotola, allowing Wallace to score easily. Now trailing 6-4, Marlins right-fielder Keshawn D'Orso singled to center and a SAC bunt for would put two runners in scoring position, and the game was within reach.
An RBI single by Sherrill would bring Morehead City within one run, and Coach Parker Bangs would go to his bullpen and roll out Tyler Jones - an arm that the Marlins saw the night before in their 3-2 victory over the Sharks in Wilmington.
In Thursday's matchup, Jones faced three batters in the ninth and struck out two of them. Friday's appearance was much of the same - facing five batters between the eighth and ninth, striking out three of them to end the game to pick up the save.
The Wilmington Sharks are back at home Saturday to host the Petersburg Generals (1-2). The Sharks will be delegating the starting honors LHP Cody Tyler of Wichita State.