HAMPTON, VA- Four Pilots had multi-hit games to lead the Peninsula Pilots to a 7-3 victory over the winless Petersburg Generals on Monday night at War Memorial Stadium.
Coming into the game last in the league in team batting average, the Pilots took advantage of an off day to refocus and broke out for ten hits accumulating seven runs en route their fourth win of the season.
The Pilots struck first with a two-run first inning on three consecutive base hits. Zach Lopes (Delaware), playing in his first game of the summer with the Pilots, drew a one-out walk and advanced to second on a wild pitch. After a strikeout, the Pilots put together a string of hits to jump ahead on the Generals. Kyle Johnson (Purdue) knocked one of his two hits with a single up the middle to score Lopes. Brandon Stephens (Georgia) followed with a double down the right field line to plate Johnson to put the Pilots up 2-0. The Pilots had a chance to score another run when Sam Tidaback (Ball State) singled through the right side but a strong throw from the Generals’ right fielder, Randy Wolf (Trinity), gunned Stephens at the plate.
Right-hander Cole Cromer (Newberry) made his second start of the season and kept the Generals off the board with a strong performance. Cromer only allowed two hits and struck out three in 5 2/3 innings en route his first win of the summer.
With the Pilots riding behind a strong performance from Cromer, they added a run in the sixth inning when Johnson walked to start a two-out rally. Stephens followed with a single back up the middle putting runners on the corners. Tidaback brought in Johnson with a single up the middle to extend the Pilots’ lead to 3-0.
The floodgates opened for the Pilots in the seventh inning with a four-run inning capped by Johnson’s two-run blast over the left field wall. Back to back one-out walks prompted the Generals to go to their bullpen. After a fly out, the Pilots succeeded on a double steal and advanced on a throwing error. Newcomer Andy Lennington (Southeast Missouri St) reached on an infield single plating another run. Johnson followed with a two-run blast to left field to put the Pilots ahead 7-0.
Although the Pilots had a seven run lead, the Generals would not go away quietly as they threatened in the eighth inning. After a walk to lead off the inning, Wes McGuire (Lenoir-Rhyne) retired the next two batters. A double by Greg Turlik (Maryland-Eastern Shore) and a walk loaded the bases for the Generals. Spencer Wilmes (Drury) singled on a line drive that Stephens was able to knock down but the Generals were able to score two runs and force Coach Hank Morgan to go to his bullpen. Taylor Edens (VMI) answered the call by getting out of the jam only after Wolf singled to bring in the third run of the inning. Edens allowed a lead-off double to start the ninth but retired the side en route to the Pilots’ first home victory of the season.
Four Pilots had multiple hits as the Pilots exceeded ten hits for the first time this season. Tidaback and Stephens had three hits apiece while Johnson and CJ Roth (Longwood) added two hits. Lennington added the other hit for the Pilots. Blair Betts (UNC-Greensboro) faced four batters and retired all but one by strikeouts.
The Generals were led by Steven Cooper (Anderson) who had a 2-for-3 night. Logan Sendelbach (Tiffin) was charged with his second loss of the season giving up five runs on eight hits and striking out seven in 6 1/3 innings on the night. Jamar Hinton (NC Central) pitched the remainder of the game, giving up two runs on three hits.
The Pilots will have another off day on Tuesday before heading to Petersburg on Wednesday night for a 7pm first pitch. The Pilots will be back at home on Thursday night against Petersburg for a 7:05pm for College Night! Be sure to represent your school! For more information regarding the season, please visit www.peninsulapilots.com. For up to the minute details on Pilots Baseball be sure to “Like” us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @PeninsulaPilots. Use the #PilotsNation to spread the word about the Pilots!
About the Coastal Plain League
The Coastal Plain League is the nation’s hottest summer collegiate baseball league. Celebrating its 18th season in 2014, the CPL features 14 teams playing in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia. The CPL gives college players the chance to refine their skills with the use of wooden bats. Players are housed with local host families for the summer and past experiences have been very positive for both players and hosts. Furthermore, the CPL has had nearly 1,200 alumni drafted and 68 alums – including 2011 AL MVP and Cy Young winner Justin Verlander – make their Major League debut thus far; while another notable alum – Russell Wilson – won Super Bowl XLVIII. For more information on the Coastal Plain League, please visit the league website at coastalplain.com and be sure to friend us on Facebook (at www.facebook.com/coastalplainleague) and follow us via Twitter (@CPLBaseball).