Colonial Heights, VA - In the close fight for first place in the East Division of the Coastal Plain League, the fourth place Tri-City Chili Peppers beat the third place Holly Springs Salamanders 9-4.

The Tri-City Chili Peppers asserted their dominance early. After holding the Salamanders in the top of the first with Franklin Pierce University’s Chaz Powell on the mound, the Chili Peppers took the lead in the bottom of the first inning. Kasten Furr (University of New Orleans) hit a single to start things off for the Tri-City offense and scored following a double by Cade Swisher (Virginia Tech).

Despite not having any hits, Holly Springs put a run on the scoreboard in the second. The Chili Peppers weren’t satisfied with the 1-1 tie. Singles by UNC’s Brandon Eike, Greg Ryan of Longwood and Lynchburg’s Avery Neaves as well as two walks allowed the team to put up three more runs.

The Salamanders batted three up, three down to kick off the third inning. The Tri-City bats continued moving, with Hunter Gilliam (University of Kentucky) scoring after starting the half inning with a single to make the score 5-1.

Once again, Holly Springs proved unable to score in the fourth. Swisher had another hit in the bottom of the inning, but the Chili Peppers failed to advance their lead.

Tri-City held the Salamanders again in the fifth, while the Chili Peppers tied their most runs in any inning on Tuesday night with three. This offensive success was aided by a single by Coastal Carolina’s Derek Bender and five walked batters.

Holly Springs’ bats struggled again in the top of the sixth, during which they had no hits or runs. The Chili Peppers also had a rough time at the plate in the sixth, batting three up, three down.

Morehead State University’s Branden Blankenship replaced Powell on the mound in the seventh and allowed an unearned run to make the score 8-2. Tri-City batted three up, three down for the second inning in a row.

Reed Garland (FDTCC) came out of the bullpen in the eighth. During Garland’s pitching appearance, the Salamanders had their first and only home run of the game and also had another unearned run to lessen their deficit to four.

This 8-4 score was the closest Holly Springs would come to a late-game comeback. Willie Havens of Elon hit a single as the first batter of the bottom of the eighth and scored later on in the inning thanks to a single by Lucas Donlon (Virginia Tech).

Eli Parks (Howard College, TX) took over on the hill in the ninth to shut the door on any possibility of a Salamanders comeback. He did just that, not allowing any hits or runs for a 9-4 Chili Peppers win.

Tonight’s win kicks off eight consecutive game nights for the Chili Peppers as they look to advance their place in the East Division of the Coastal Plain League. Tomorrow, Tri-City will visit Hampton, VA to face off against their in-state rivals the Peninsula Pilots.