WILMINGTON, NC – The Wilmington Sharks concluded the first weekend of the 2021 season with a 0-4 record after a three-game, three city road trip and losses in each game.
After defeating the Sharks 6-3 in a sellout season opener at Buck Hardee Field, the Morehead City Marlins bested Wilmington again on Friday, May 29. Belmont University left-hander Andy Bean took the mound for the Sharks to strike out six Marlins over five innings while allowing four runs, one earned run and five hits. Relievers Daniel Cordona, Alex Sniffen and Ryan Obrecht each struck out two batters over the final three innings of the matchup.
Will Oberg paced Sharks hitters with a 2-for-4 offensive performance accounting for both Wilmington runs with a two-run home run in the top of the third inning and a double. Kevin Gsell and Ryan Sabo added 1-for-3 performances with Gsell scoring on Obergs base-rounder. Wilmington native and NC State commit Chase Nixon notched a pinch-hit single.
On Saturday, May 30, the Florence RedWolves defeated the Sharks 9-6 with Wilmington’s Austin Skipper taking the loss pitching five innings in relief allowing two runs, walking three batsmen and striking out two. The RedWolves took a 4-0 advantage in the first inning before the Sharks tied the game with a four-run outburst in the second inning to tie the game. The clubs exchanged runs to tie the game 5-5 until Florence plated two runs in both the sixth and seventh innings allowing the Sharks to answer with one in the top of the final frame.
The Sharks swiped seven stolen bases as UNC-Greensboro product Zack Budzik took two with Tyler Thompson of Carson-Newman University, Stetson University Hatter Raheem Salmon, and Nixon each logging a swipe. Thompson led Sharks hitters going 2-for-3 at the plate with a run scored. Jack Lynch, Richard Witherspoon, Nixon and Salmon each went 1-for-3 with Nixon crossing the plate for two runs and Salmon for one run.
The weekend swing concluded with the Holly Springs Salamanders defeating the Sharks 8-4 on Sunday, May 30. Wilmington carried a 3-0 lead into the bottom of the sixth inning before the Salamanders scored eight runs over the final three frames. Joe Kemlage of American International College pitched five innings as the Wilmington starter allowing two runs and walking two while striking out five batters.
The Sharks were led offensively by Nixon who went 1-for-4 with an RBI followed by Gsell who also went 1-for-4 with a run scored. Catcher Cody Jansen went 1-for-3 with an RBI triple and one walk. Lynch and Norman Kelly each posted 1-for-3 performances with each scoring one run and stealing a base. University of Connecticut infielder David Smith drew one walk while scoring a run and stealing a base.
Entering the first full week of the Coastal Plain League season, Smith leads the league in stolen bases with four followed by Lynch as Budzik and Thompson remain in the top-five having each stolen a pair of bags. The Sharks lead the CPL in collective hits by a team with 29 and stolen bases with 16 in four games.
Wilmington returns to the field on Thursday, June 3 as the club hosts the Morehead City Marlins for Thirsty Thursday at Buck Hardee Field. Tickets are available for purchase online here.