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HAMPTON, Va. — In the first of two successive games between the top two North Division teams, the front-running Wilson Tobs posted a 5-3 Coastal Plain League summer collegiate baseball win on the road against Peninsula Monday night.
Wilson, now 9-2 the second half and 19-16 overall, extended its lead to 21/2 games coming into tonight’s contest at 7 in Fleming Stadium. The Pilots fell to 6-4 in second-half play.
The Tobs boosted their record to 6-4 since the All-Star break and, with Monday night’s win, exceeded their 2017 output. Wilson experienced one of its worst seasons in compiling an 18-37 record last season. Wilson also improved to 3-4 in encounters against the Pilots, the first-half division winners, this season.
The Tobs jumped to a 3-0 lead after two innings and played errorless defense behind five pitchers, who limited the Pilots to seven hits.
Right-hander Luis Acosta, who relieved Waylen Ergle in the eighth inning, worked two innings and squelch a mild Peninsula uprising in the bottom of the ninth to record his fifth save and preserve the win for All-Star starter Tyler Grauer, who lasted five innings.
Grauer yielded four hits and a pair of runs, both earned, in posting his third win against one loss. He issued two walks and struck out seven. The five Wilson pitchers registered 12 strikeouts and yielded six walks.
Eddy Tavarez and Cody Smith each pitched an inning before Acosta relieved Ergle, who walked the only two batters he faced.
The Tobs boosted their lead to 5-2 on Caleb Dean’s solo home run in the top of the ninth against Kyle Kovach, the fifth Pilots pitcher.
Acosta struck out the first batter he faced in the bottom of the ninth. However, Jonathan Embry worked Acosta for a walk and darted home on Jack Strunc’s double to cut the deficit to 5-3.
However, Acosta quickly ended the contest with a bouncer back to the mound and a strikeout.
Wilson plated two runs in the first. When Kevin McGowan struck out, the Tobs executed a double steal with Jack Duffy stealingt second and Matt McCourt swiping home. Doyle scored when Brenton Doyle reached on a fielder’s choice.
Shamoy Christopher drove in Wilson’s third run with a sacrifice fly in the second, and McGowan rapped an run-scoring single in the fifth.
Grauer pitched shutout ball until the Pilots broke through for two runs in the fifth. Embry singled in the first run and Strunc plated the second with a sacrifice fly.
J.T. Stone collected a pair of hits in four at-bats to lead head coach Bryan Hill’s Wilsons squad. Duffy finished 1 for 2.
For the Pilots, Strunc batted 2 for 4 with two doubles and two RBIs. Girouard went 2-3.
Score by innings:
Wilson 210 010 001 — 5
Peninsula 000 020 1 — 3
WP-Tyler Grauer (3-1) 5 IP, .4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 7 SO. LP-Douglas Palmer 2 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 1 SO. S-Luis Acosta (5) 2 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 3 SO.
LEADING HITTERS — Wilson:J.T. Stone 2-4, Jack Duffy 1-2, Caleb Dean HR; Peninsula Cole Girouard 2-3; Jack Strunc 2-4, 2 2B, 2 RBI.