By: Evan Rogers

HOLLY SPRINGS, N.C. — In a defensive battle, the Holly Springs Salamanders (10-5) bested the Peninsula Pilots (7-9), 6-2, Saturday night at Ting Stadium. 

After holding the Pilots scoreless in the top of the first inning, the Salamanders went to work. And, third baseman Eddie Eisert’s sacrifice groundout drove home the game’s first run, giving Holly Springs the early lead. 

Shortly after, Peninsula ramped up the heat. Kaleb Hannahs’ lead-off double was followed by a four-pitch walk and hit by pitch to load the bases for the Pilots. But, pitcher Kyle Rich retired the next two batters via strikeout to get out of the jam. 

The momentum engineered by Rich carried over for Holly Springs in the bottom half of the same inning. In his first at bat of the evening, right fielder Will Stewart skyed his third home run of the season, extending the Salamanders lead to 2-0. 

Two innings later, Holly Springs would add to its lead. First, designated hitter Jack Oberdorf bounced a double off the left-field wall to put a Salamander in scoring position. Moments later, center fielder Brett Calahan’s RBI single plated Holly Springs’ third run of the game. 

The Salamanders would continue to hold the Pilots scoreless until the sixth inning. In the sixth, Peninsula capitalized off shortstop Luke Heefner’s error to score its first run of the game. Holly Springs’ mistake sparked a two-run frame for the Pilots, which chiseled the Salamanders’ lead to one. 

But, Holly Springs would not be rattled by the scoring punch. In the bottom of the eight, first baseman Alberto Osuna sailed a three-run blast to left field, giving the Salamanders a 6-2 lead.

In his first game, Osuna gave a powerful welcome to Holly Springs. His three-run bomb in the eighth inning provided the Salamanders with three insurance runs, helping Holly Springs cruise to victory.

The Salamanders return to Ting Stadium to take on the Wilmington Sharks. First pitch for Sunday’s bout is set for 5:40 p.m.