EDENTON, NC – Taylor Ostrich hit a two-run home run and strong pitching by the Pilots handed the Edenton Steamers their first loss of the season by the score of 3-2 on Friday night at Historic Hicks Field.
Taylor Ostrich (Old Dominion) broke a 1-1 tie with a two-run home run over the right field wall to give the Pilots (5-4) the first lead of the game and put the Steamers (8-1) in jeopardy of losing their first game of the season. Ryan Lenaburg (Southeast Missouri State) worked out of a jam in the ninth to give the hosts their first loss of the year.
The Steamers got on the board early as an error came back to haunt the Pilots once again. Ty Barkell (USC Aiken) reached on an error followed by an Orlando Olivera (Missouri Baptist) walk to put runners on first and second with no outs. After a strikeout and a successful double steal, Aaron Wright (UNC Greensboro) hit an RBI groundout to score Barkell to put the Steamers ahead 1-0.
The Pilots answered the very next half inning with a run of their own. After two quick outs, the Pilots mounted a two-out rally to knot the game at one apiece. Connor Myers (Old Dominion) reached on a fielding error followed by a Zach Lopes (Delaware) single. A double steal was successful and Zak Orrison (Mount Olive) tied the game on an infield single that scored Myers.
The score would stay tied until Ostrich’s homerun in the eighth inning gave the Pilots a 3-1 lead. Lenaburg was dominant his first three innings with four strikeouts and came out to finish it off in the ninth. The Steamers were able to give Lenaburg some pressure when Wright hit an one-out double. Another error for the Pilots put two runners on and only out. After a groundout moved up the runners, a wild pitch put the tying run on third base. Lenaburg was able to retire the next batter with a groundball to preserve the victory.
Coming into the game the two teams were first and second in the league in team earned run average. The Steamers came in the game with a team ERA of 1.74 while the Pilots were right behind with a 2.03 ERA. Both starting pitchers, Brandon Vick (Longwood) and Gunner Kines (Mount Olive) were strong from the first pitch and it was going to be a pitcher’s duel.
Vick tossed four strong innings, giving up an unearned run and striking out two. Blair Betts (UNC-Greensboro) followed with a scoreless inning before handing it off to Lenaburg, who pitched the final four innings for his first win of the year.
Kines got the nod for the Steamers tonight, his second start against the Pilots this season. He was equally dominant as the first start with five innings of one-run ball and adding five strikeouts. He has now pitched 12 innings, giving up two unearned runs, and striking out 12 in two appearances against the Pilots. Manny Arciniega (Peru State) was charged with the loss, evening his record to 1-1. He tossed four solid innings, giving up two runs and striking out six.
The Pilots mustered three hits on the night, but Ostrich’s home run was enough to give the Pilots the victory behind strong pitching. Isaac Smith (Bradley) and Wright led the Steamers with multi-hit nights.
It was a great day for the Pilots as earlier in the day, former Pilot, Nick Thompson (William & Mary) was selected in the 8th round of the MLB Draft by the St. Louis Cardinals! Thompson played in 41 games for the 2012 squad, hitting .288 (3rd on team) on the season with a homerun and 18 RBIs. He also scored 19 runs on the year, which was fifth highest on the team.
The Pilots be back at home on Saturday night against the Morehead City Marlins. The 2013 champions will be honored before the game so come out and enjoy the excitement! Members from the team will be receiving championship rings in a pregame ceremony before the game. 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).