Colonial Heights, VA – The Tri City Chili Peppers scored five combined runs over a two-inning span, backing up a strong team pitching performance to earn a 5-1 victory over the Holly Springs Salamanders on opening night Thursday at Shepherd Stadium. Nick Frazier (Virginia Commonwealth) earned the win, pitching two scoreless innings in relief of Connor Arnold (Transylvania) who left the game after the fourth inning with an injury. After that the Chili Peppers took the lead on two bases loaded walks in the bottom of the fifth inning and never looked back.
It was a pitcher’s duel early on with Arnold surrendering the only run of the first four innings on a leadoff home run in the top of the second. Arnold struck out just two batters and walked three over four innings of work but induced some timely ground balls later in the second inning with runners on base to limit the damage. Meanwhile the Tri City offense struggled to bring in runs leaving seven runners on base over the first four innings including a bases loaded situation in the fourth.
The Chili Peppers would break through however in the bottom of the fifth inning loading the bases on two walks and a hit batter. Then Michael Dolberry (Longwood) and Jonny Wall (Roanoke) drew consecutive walks and Kyle Wilson (Averett) hit a sacrifice fly to give Tri City a 3-1 lead. Chili Peppers batters recorded just two hits to that point in the game.
Tri City bats roared to life though in the bottom of the sixth inning recording three consecutive base hits setting the stage to increase the lead. Tahraun Hammond (Virginia State) led off the inning with a single and then scored from first on Cam Miller’s (Ashland) ripping double off the left-center field wall. Hammond earned CPL Hitter of the Night honors going two-for-two with two walks and one run scored. Dalton Hurst (Florida International) added a single to put runners on first and third base with no one out. Then during Danny Estrada’s (Frostburg State) at-bat Hurst attempted to steal and the Holly Springs catcher’s throw sailed into center field allowing Miller to score and produce the 5-1 final score.
Everett Vaughan (High Point) pitched the final three innings for Tri City, allowing three hits and striking out two batters.
Upcoming Home Games:
Saturday, May 27 (7:00) vs. Wilmington Sharks
Friday, June 2 (7:00) vs. Wilson Tobs, Princess Night
Saturday, June 3 (7:00) vs. Greenbrier Knights, 80’s Neon & Glow Night
Sunday, June 4 (5:45) vs. Peninsula Pilots, Mental Health Awareness Night