SALISBURY, Md. -- The Delmarva Shorebirds needed a comeback for the second straight day, defeating the Kannapolis Intimidators by a final score of 5-3 on Monday night. Delmarva (4-1) scored four runs in the sixth inning to steal the series opener from the visitors.
Both starters eased their way through the opening frames before Delmarva finally broke the ice in the fourth inning. Elier Leyva reached on a walk from Luis Martinez, swiping second base with his first steal of the year. Jomar Reyes sailed a flyball over Michael Suiter in centerfield for an RBI double.
Bennett Parry cruised along until the sixth inning. The Shorebirds' left-hander retired 11 batters in a row before a leadoff double in the sixth by Ethan Gross. Kannapolis tied the game on groundball misplayed at first base for an error. The Intimidators kept the pressure on with an RBI double to deep center by Chris Curley, ending the night for Parry. Nick Cunningham surrendered an RBI single to Zach Fish to extend the Kannapolis lead to 3-1.
The Shorebirds immediately responded with a big inning, sparked by a few miscues from Kannapolis. Leyva jumpstarted the rally by reaching on a fielding error from Toby Thomas at third base. After an long battle with reliever Jacob Morris, Riley Palmer was plunked with a pitch. Jomar Reyes followed with an infield single to load the bases.
With the bags juiced, Kannapolis went to the bullpen, bringing on righty David Trexler. The Intimidators' reliever lost command of his fastball, walking Breen to force in a run. Riley Palmer raced home on a wild pitch from Trexler, tying the game at 3-3. With two outs, Alex Murphy put Delmarva on top with a line drive to center, scoring two more runs. Murphy collected his eighth and ninth RBIs of the season, tops in the South Atlantic League.
The Shorebirds' bullpen of Cunningham and Hart protected the 5-3 lead, retiring the final eight batters of the game. Cunningham (1-1) received the win, while Hart picked up his first save of the year with two strikeouts in a perfect ninth. Jacob Morris (0-1) picks up the loss for Kannapolis, which falls to 2-3 on the season.
Delmarva goes for back-to-back series wins to start the year with game two on Tuesday evening. Left-hander John Means (1-0, 0.00) takes the hill for Delmarva against Kannapolis right-hander Yency Almonte (0-0, -.--) who makes his season debut. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. at Arthur W. Perdue Stadium in Salisbury, Md.