WILMINGTON, NC-- After a fast start, the Wilmington Sharks (1-1) surrendered the lead in the sixth inning as the Fayetteville Swampdogs (1-1) scored five runs, which were enough to take the lead and eventually win the game 9-7.
Wilmington started the game with two runs in each of the first two innings. Ward Coleman (Davidson) drove in two runs with a single in the first, and Brett Smith (Bucknell) drove another home in the second with a groundout. The Sharks held a comfortable 4-0 lead after another run scored on an error.
The Swampdogs chipped away at the Sharks’ lead, scoring a run in the second, third and the fifth innings, before the big sixth. Trailing 6-3, Fayetteville had two runners on when Patrick Donnelly (Lehigh) drove home two runs on a single. Donnelly later scored on an error to tie the game at 6. The Swampdogs would load the bases again, and Tyler Tharp (Virginia Military Institute) came up to pinch hit. His single drove home two more runs, giving Fayetteville a 8-6 advantage.
The Sharks had their chances, putting runners on base in each of the last three innings, but could only muster one run. Chase Illig (West Virginia) hit a RBI triple in the ninth, but was stranded there to end the game.
Mike Austin (1-0) got the win for Fayetteville, pitching three and a third innings and allowing one unearned run on four hits, a walk and three strikeouts. The loss went to Joseph Bialkowski (0-1). He pitched one inning in which he allowed five runs, two of them earned, with four hits and two strikeouts.