McDowell's homerun keeps Sharks season alive

McDowell's homerun keeps Sharks season alive

News release from the Wilmington Sharks:

Wilmington, NC-- The Wilmington Sharks (30-25) trailed 4-0 after the first half inning, but fought back to defeat the Peninsula Pilots (29-26) by a score of 7-6 on Thursday night at the Shark Tank in Wilmington. Kennard McDowell's solo homerun in the bottom of the eighth inning served as the eventual game winning run as the Sharks tied the series 1-1.

With the rain coming down by the bucket load, the Pilots hung four runs on the Sharks in the first as they sent nine batters to the plate. The crooked number was the product of two errors and three hits, including a two run blast by Peninsula left-fielder Jimmy Kerrigan.

As they did in Game 1 of the series, Wilmington would not allow themselves to be on the ropes for long. Andy Austin and Kennard McDowell were walked and hit by the pitch respectively, and were both driven in after Nick Rotola laced a triple down the right field line.

Alex Destino knocked his seventh homer of the year in the form of a solo shot to lead off the third inning. The score would be tied 4-4 after Kyle Nowlin's single and an RBI single by Jose Hernandez.

As the rain settled down, so did Sharks starter Reed Scott after a shaky first inning, going on to retire nine of eleven Pilots through the next three innings. The Sharks took the lead in the fourth inning, kick started by McDowell's leadoff walk. He would steal second base, and be knocked home by Brett Smith's single through the middle.

Their lead would not last long, however, as Peninsula brought in two runs on two bunt singles, a throwing error, and a backside RBI groundout. Scott worked his way through the sixth inning, striking out the side to bring his total to eight strikeouts on the night.

Trailing 6-5, Kyle Nowlin was handed a one-out walk in the seventh inning. Jose Hernandez stayed hot and mashed his second hit of the night to collect his second RBI to tie the ballgame at 6-6.

Andrew Locklear and Evan Brabrand kept the Pilots in the hangar and off the scoreboard, allowing just a single hit through the final three innings of the pivotal Game 2. Brabrand earned the victory Thursday night, as he was on the mound when the eventual game winning run crossed the plate in dramatic fashion.

Pilots reliever Devin Hemmerich dealt his third strikeout of the ballgame for the first out in the eighth inning as Kennard McDowell made his way to the box, already having scored two runs. McDowell pulled a fastball and deposited it over the fence in left-centerfield for his second homerun of the summer - this one put the Sharks on top 7-6.