Sharks walk-off Florence in 13th

Wilmington, NC - From the Florence RedWolves:

WILMINGTON, NC – In the last meeting at Buck Hardee Field this season between the Florence RedWolves and Wilmington Sharks, the teams engaged in a marathon game that went well into the night, ending with a 5-4 walk-off win for the Sharks.

Matt Willis scored the winning with no one out in the bottom of the thirteenth on a Kenny Bryant RBI single.

The Sharks (16-18, 2-3 CPL second half) came off the day-off looking to right the ship after a 9-1 loss at Morehead City on Sunday. However, it was Florence (22-11, 3-3 CPL second half) who struck first.

After Stephen Carmon led off the game with a single, he advanced his way to third on a fielder's choice and a wild pitch. Then, Trey Hernandez drove Carmon home with a single to left field to make it 1-0 RedWolves.

Wilmington would retaliate in the second with a flurry of offense, started off by Nate Horton and Willis' singles. After advancing to second and third, respectively, on a balk, Bryant singled to bring both men home and make it 2-1 Sharks. Greg Fujii then was hit by a Patrick Dolan pitch which advanced Bryant to second.

After Chris Mazza's bunt advance the runners to second and third, another wild pitch by Dolan scored Bryant from third. Aaron Miller's fielder's choice then scored Fujii to make it 4-1 Sharks.

The bats would remain silent until the sixth inning when Florence fought back to tie the game. After putting runners on first and second, Ethan Santora singled to right field, scoring Will Fontnow. Then an error on the play by Sharks' right fielder Justin Robey allowed Hernandez to score from first on the play, making it 4-3.

Sharks starter Justin Bradley's wild pitch then allowed Santoro to score from third, tying the game at 4-4.

After Mac Doyle's single, Cory Carver relieved Bradley and got out of the jam with no more damage done. Bradley ended his night with 5.2 innings pitched, allowed four runs on four hits and struck out five.

After the top of the sixth, it became a battle of attrition with both pitching staffs keeping the hitters at bay. After the four-run second, Dolan settled in to finish the night with seven innings pitched, allowing four runs on five hits and striking out eight.

Sharks reliever Patrick Mincey came in the ninth and threw four innings of shutout ball, allowing only one hit and striking out eight Redwolves.

The Sharks had a chance to end it in the eleventh when they loaded the bases for Alex Hill with two outs. Then with a full count, Robey slipped between second and third and was caught in a rundown. Sensing a chance, Mazza darted for home but was thrown out to end the inning.

In the thirteenth, Matt Willis led off with an infield single. After advancing to second and third on two straight past balls, Bryant singled Willis home off Sam O'Neil (L, 5-1) to give the Sharks the win.

Willis and Bryant both went 2-5 on the night at the plate. Bryant picked up three RBI's and scored a run. Willis scored two runs including the winning run. Eddie Sipple (W, 1-0) picks up the win for the Sharks having retired Florence in order in the top of the thirteenth.

The Sharks and the RedWolves hook up again on Wednesday at Florence. Then the Sharks return home on Thursday to take on rival Fayetteville SwampDogs on Fat Tony's Shirt Off Our Back Night and Thirsty Thursday.

Fans can enter a raffle for a chance to win a Sharks game-worn jersey of their choosing right off the player's back. And, as is tradition on Thirsty Thursday, adult fans 21 and up can enjoy dollar beers in the beer garden all game long.

Gates open at 6 p.m. and first pitch is at 7:05 p.m.