HOLLY SPRINGS, N.C. – The Holly Springs Salamanders finished their recent three-game home stand with an 8-7 win against the Martinsville Mustangs at the North Main Athletic Complex (NMAC) on Tuesday.
Following a 9-6 loss to the Petersburg Generals the night before, it was time to wipe the slate clean as coach Andrew Ciencin put it – “another day, another game.”
With an enthusiastic crowd of 1,037 on hand, the Salamanders watched as N.C. State’s Tommy DeJuneas stepped to the mound in relief in the top of the ninth inning to secure the team’s close victory.
“A win’s a win,” Ciencin said.
“I’ll take it any way we can get it. I thought our offense did a great job of responding tonight. They didn’t panic, they just kept goin’ after it, kept their mindset and I thought we had a great game offensively.”
Devin Wenzel (1-5, 3 RBI) and Collin Woody (1-4, 1 HR, 2 RBI) powered the Holly Springs (6-6) offense to score those who got in position including DeJuneas (2-3, 2 R), Drew Butler (2-2, 1 R), Brian Miller (1-3, 2 R, 1 RBI), and Joey Roach (1-3, 1 R, 1 RBI).
Colten Duttweiler (1-0) earned the win as part of a five-man rotation that Ciencin used against a hard-hitting Martinsville squad that matched his team with eight hits.
Eric Corlett (0-1, 1 1/3, IP, 2 R, 1 H) took the loss, while Hank Morrison (3-3, 3 R, 4 RBI) did a majority of the damage offensively for the Mustangs (6-6).
Holly Springs starter Chris Lanham (5 IP, 6 H, 4 R, 4 SO) got to work right away and struck out his first two batters before a force out at second completed the three-up, three-down first inning.
Roach got things started offensively when he drove Miller in with a single to put Holly Springs ahead 1-0.
Two innings later, with Roach on first, Woody tagged Martinsville starter Reggie Johnson (4 IP, 5 H, 4 R, 2 SO) with a long bomb over the left field fence that extended the Salamanders lead to 3-0.
“He’s been lookin’ a lot better at the plate,” Ciencin said of Woody.
“Approach-wise, he’s gettin’ his barrel through the zone. It’s good to see that from him tonight.”
Lanham continued to throw smoke early in into the fourth inning, but began to show signs of wear.
The Mustangs found their spots through the defense to eventually post a run on the board with two outs.
In what had the potential to become a hot inning for Martinsville was quickly doused with Roach’s throw to second on an attempted steal.
Playing his first game with the Salamanders following an NCAA College World Series (CWS) Regional run with the Wolfpack, DeJuneas walked and then advanced to third with the help of Butler’s single – a play that extended to a double on the Mustangs’ overthrow to second.
DeJuneas’ teammate at N.C. State, Josh McLain (0-5, 1 RBI), who also made his CPL debut, singled to score DeJuneas and extended Holly Springs’ lead to 4-1 after four innings.
Martinsville’s bats heated up in the top of the sixth as a two-run homer to left-center field from Morrison cut the Salamanders lead to one.
Another double then forced Ciencin to relieve Lanham.
With none out, six-foot-five-inch lefty Colten Duttweiler was called in and promptly got two outs.
However, a sacrifice fly on the next sequence scored the tying run as both teams ended the inning even at 4-4.
Holly Springs responded quickly.
After Xyruse Martinez (0-3, 1 R) was hit, DeJuneas singled to advance both runners and forced Martinsville to make a change on the mound as Zach Williams came in as the team’s third pitcher on the night.
Williams hit Butler which loaded the bases for McLain who battled at the plate, but eventually went down looking.
Miller then stepped to the plate with two outs.
With a 3-0 count, the crowd started to get loud in hopes of getting a run walked in – and it did.
Wenzel then came up and blew it open with a three-run double – a pull to left field that cleared the bases to put the Salamanders ahead 8-4.
The rally didn’t’ deter Martinsville’s hitters, as they continued where they left off in the top of the seventh.
Morrison’s double to center brought in two runners and cut the Holly Springs lead to two.
Duttweiler did his best to control the situation, but an overthrow to second allowed Morrison to advance to third.
A single to left then scored Morrison as the Salamanders once again held a one-run lead with two out.
Ciencin went to his bullpen and called upon Chris Williams (1/3 IP) to help the cause.
Williams did his job to get Holly Springs out of the inning, but the Salamanders couldn’t add any more runs in their half.
Woody then started the eighth inning on the mound, but had control problems that put him in a situation with the tying run on base.
He battled and struck out the next batter he faced, and with the help of Martinez, who made a spectacular scoop and turn to throw the runner out at first, got the third out.
Holly Springs escaped the inning with its one-run lead still intact.
Another unproductive turn at the plate put the pressure on the Salamanders defense to finish the job.
DeJuneas was put into service on the mound to do just that.
The Mustangs’ bats couldn’t fully connect as the Salamanders right hander forced his first two batters, Jake Ring and Jonathan Pryor, to fly and pop out respectively.
DeJuneas made it interesting when he walked Morrison and put the tying run on base.
However, before any Holly Springs fans’ heart rates could spike, he forced Justin Dattilo (2-4, 1 R, 1 RBI) to fly out and end the game.
“Coming in, I just wanted to have fun and play the game and play hard,” DeJuneas said.
“Just tryin’ to do what I’ve been doin’ – on the mound, just try to throw strikes – up by the plate, just find a good pitch and get a good swing on it.”