EDENTON — Aaron Copeland took the first pitch of the bottom of the third inning over the Teal Monster and gave the Steamers a one run lead.
It would prove to be the sole offense for the Steamers in the game as the Wilmington Sharks scored six straight runs and won the exhibition game at Historic Hicks Field 6-1. The loss moves the Steamers to 17-14 on the season.
On the mound, Spencer Ambrose got his second start of the season for the Steamers. The fan favorite pitched to raucous applause and put together his second straight impressive start.
He went four innings, allowing just one hit and two walks while leaving with the lead. The lefthander has only allowed one hit in seven innings over his last two starts. His stuff kept the Sharks off-balance, inducing a lot of pop flies and fly balls.
Copeland’s home run had the Clams up 1-0 until the Sharks rallied in the top of the fifth inning. Righthander Blake Gipson recorded the first out of the inning, but the next four batters reached to change the complexion of the game.
The fourth batter, John Behrends, doubled down the left field line with the bases loaded and brought home two runners. Two hitters later, an error allowed another run to score and the Sharks left the fifth inning equipped with a 3-1 lead.
In the top of the seventh, a pair of hits off righthander Sam Duncan plated another run for the Sharks to make it 4-1. It was the first time the Brown University reliever had allowed a run since mid-June. He still boasts a 1.23 ERA in his last nine appearances.
A pair of walks to start the eighth inning allowed by Zach Bagley put two Shawks on board. Wilmington capitalized, bringing both home over the next four batters, but Copeland threw a runner out at the plate to end the eighth inning.
The 6-1 lead was enough as the Steamers’ bats only mustered up five hits on the night and did not have a hit in their only three at-bats with runners in scoring position. Copeland was the highlight for the Clams, going 2-4 with a double and the aforementioned home run.
The game was the third of the extended homestand prior to the PCL All-Star Game on Friday night. An interleague game awaits the Steamers as the Fuquay-Varina Twins come to town for the first time this season on Wednesday night. Thursday night will be another matchup against the Greenbrier Knights in a PCL showdown.
As of Tuesday night, the Steamers still remain 2.5 games behind the Tarboro River Bandits in the PCL East division. Edenton has six games left in divisional play, three apiece against both the Knights and River Bandits.