(HOLLY SPRINGS, NC) Given the heat of the playoff race and the fact that the Salamanders were a half game out of first place in the East entering Tuesday’s action, it was even harder loss to swallow as the Fayetteville Swampdogs won the game 8-5 in ten innings.

Entering the top of the tenth inning with the game tied at 3, the Swampdogs scored five times to take a commanding 8-3 lead. Fayetteville collected three hits in the inning and also took an advantage of a throwing error by Salamander catcher Ryan Orr (San Diego State), who had just entered the game behind the plate.

In the bottom of the tenth, the Manders began with runners on first and second as the Swampdogs had in the top half. Cam Locklear (Liberty) singled up the middle to load the bases with nobody out, and two batters later Clemente Inclan (UNC) singled up the middle to score Chris Crabtree (Duke) and Angel Zarate (UNC) to pull the Manders within three at 8-5. The comeback would unfortunately end there for the Manders, as a strikeout of Chris Davis (Princeton) and a pickoff of Inclan on second base ended the ballgame, dropping the Salamanders to 12-11 in the second half and 20-29 on the season.

The Salamanders left 11 runners on base Tuesday night, including leaving the bases loaded in the second and fifth innings.

In the first inning, Peyton Isaacson (St. Leo) got the Manders on the board with his sixth home run of the year, a solo shot to right that cleared Ting Stadium and sailed onto Highway 55.

The Manders added single runs in the fourth and fifth innings as well. In the fourth, Angel Zarate came all the way around from first on a Cam Locklear bunt that was thrown away down the right field line by Fayetteville catcher Tanner Piechnick. In the bottom of the fifth, the Manders took what was then a 3-2 lead on a Cam Locklear infiield single with the bases loaded that scored Earl Semper (UNC). In the fifth, the Manders had the bases loaded with nobody out but were only able to bring one run across.

Holly Springs now faces two pivotal games against Morehead City on Thursday and Friday, with the Salamanders being one game back of the Marlins for first place in the second half. The Salamanders are still looking to win the second half crown in the East, which would earn them an automatic bid to the 2018 CPL Pettit Cup Playoffs.

The Manders are off Wednesday before hosting Morehead City Thursday at 7:00 at Ting Stadium. #ManderMania

Tuesday’s Box Score: https://www.coastalplain.com/sports/bsb/2017-18/boxscores/20180731_6t46.xml