Holly Springs, NC- Marcus Goodpaster (Hanover) came up one out short of throwing six shutout innings in his start Saturday night against the Holly Springs Salamanders and the Chili Peppers recorded double digit hits for the second game in a row in a 6-3 win at Ting Stadium. A two-run single against Goodpaster with two down in the sixth ruined his shutout bid on the last batter he faced. Goodpaster’s winning performance backed up an early four run cushion built up by the Chili Peppers to begin the game that they would not relinquish.
Tri-City (8-9, 20-20) sent eight batters to the plate in that first inning, taking full advantage of a bases loaded situation. Cam Miller (Ashland) began the game with the first of three run scoring plays for the night off of his bat, bringing in two runs on a single to right center field. Miller also now has exactly two hits in four of his last six games, hitting .444 (8 of 18) in that stretch. Later in the inning, Miller’s stolen base attempt drew an ill-advised throw from the Salamanders’ catcher, allowing Cole Jenkins (VMI) to walk home from third base. That throw did not retire Miller either and he came in to score on a base hit by Henry Cooke (Virginia Tech) that made it 4-0. Miller produced another scoring play in the fifth on swinging bunt along the third base line, beating the throw to first base on a play ruled a throwing error by Holly Springs. That allowed Jenkins to cross the plate with two outs and a 5-0, instead of the end of the inning.
Holly Springs (10-10, 21-23) threatened to score multiple times in Goodpaster’s five plus innings but stranded six runners until the sixth where Cam Verriere (Keiser) beat a tiring Goodpaster on a good, low pitch for a ground ball single that cut the Chili Peppers’ lead to 5-2. Brendan McComber (Mary Washington) picked up the pieces, facing one batter and getting the last out of the frame.
Cam Miller again drove in an insurance run in the seventh inning with a sacrifice fly for a 6-2 Tri-City lead. That insurance was needed in the eighth when Verriere got his third RBI of the night with another single and the Salamanders loaded the bases against Carter Gorling (Colorado School of Mines). Gorling did record two important strikeouts before he was lifted after his third walk of the game. Connor Knox (George Mason) recorded the final out of the frame and later the save, pitching the ninth and getting help from an incredible individual play that may have saved the night for the Chili Peppers. With runners on first and second and one out, Myles Webb (Randolph-Macon) leapt and snared a ripping Ben Jones (Lynchburg) line drive that was headed for the right-field corner and won the race back to the first base bag to double off the runner and end the game. Instead of a likely two-run extra base hit that would have extended the game, Webb ended things by himself and preserved a 6-3 win for the Chili Peppers.
Tri-City also maintained a 2.5 game deficit to the Wilson Tobs for overall record qualification to the CPL playoffs with seven games remaining