By: Evan Rogers

COLONIAL HEIGHTS, V.A. — In a defensive grudge match, the Holly Springs Salamanders (19-15) defeated the Tri-City Chili Peppers (17-15), 5-2, Saturday night at Shepard Stadium.

In the contest’s first frame, the Salamanders were held scoreless despite notching hits from third baseman Eddie Eisert (N.C. State) and left fielder Connor Denning (Campbell). Then, Tri-City offered the game’s first punch, driving in a run with first baseman Lucas Donlon’s (Virginia Tech) infield chopper. 

Despite digging itself into an early deficit, Holly Springs responded. In the top of the third inning, Denning dribbled an RBI groundout to knot that game up at one run apiece. 

As Holly Springs’ offense looked to take form, pitcher Leo Giannoni (Columbus State) extinguished the Chili Peppers’ bats. After surrendering a run in the first inning, Giannoni strung together four straight scoreless frames.

In the top of the fourth inning, designated hitter Jack Oberdorf (Seton Hill) earned a lead-off walk. Moments later, center fielder Nathan Humphreys (Dallas Baptist) lined an RBI groundout to give Holly Springs its first lead of the evening.

Humphreys’ putout turned the tide in favor of Holly Springs, as the Salamanders would go on to plate three runs in the next two innings. The Chili Peppers would make a late push, but eventually fell short to the Salamanders, 5-2.

In a win that featured timely hits and Holly Springs capitalizing on a wild pitch, Denning and Oberdorf led the way for the Salamanders. The two combined for three of Holly Springs’ four RBIs.

The Salamanders continue their road stand with a midweek battle against the Savannah Bananas on Tuesday. First pitch is set for 7:00 p.m.