Yard Gnomes Baseball

“Greenville Ignites Late, Scores Six In The 8th To Charge Past Wilmington 9-5 For Second Win In Three Nights”

June 8, 2024  |  11:28 PM
Written by: Corey Hodges (Play-By-Play/Communications, X: @The_CoreyHodges)


Sooner or later, it was all going to come together for Greenville.

The 8th inning of Saturday night’s home game against the Wilmington Sharks (8-4) was when it all clicked for the first time in a long time for the Yard Gnomes (3-12).

Greenville won their first ever home opener on May 24th over the Tri-City Chili Peppers but it took a walk-off effort in the 9th to make it happen.

The Yard Gnomes decided not to wait as long to put away Wilmington two weeks and a day later.

With the Sharks leading 4-1 after five innings, Greenville made their first statement of the night in the 6th as two runs scored to make it a 4-3 game after six. One of those runs was with the bases loaded for the Yard Gnomes as Abdriel Delgado (Jacksonville, 3-4, two RBI) crossed home plate on a Wilmington pitcher balk by RHP Benny Wilson (George Washington, 2.0 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, two walks). Parks Bouck (Lipscomb, 1-3, RBI, two walks) also scored in the frame courtesy of a Sean Darnell (UNC Charlotte, 1-2) RBI putout.

Wilmington got a run back in the 7th as Caleb Johnson (Jacksonville State, 1-4, RBI, walk) stole home, one of two swiped bags on the night for the Sharks.

With the visitors leading 5-3, Greenville needed two runs to tie late but decided to triple their fun behind a wallop of an 8th inning.

With righty Jake Engel (Gannon University, 0.2 IP, 3 ER, walk, strikeout) pitching for the Sharks to start the home portion of the 8th, Sean Darnell led off the inning for Greenville with a double to right field, his team-best fifth such extra base hit of the season.

Zayd Brannigan (Western Kentucky, 1-3, RBI, walk), in just his second game of the season with the Yard Gnomes, had a night of firsts for Greenville as his RBI single drove home Darnell following the double to make it a 5-4 game. Brannigan also stole his first base of the season on Saturday night, one of two pilfered by the Yard Gnomes.

Two-out magic was in store for Greenville following the entrance of RHP Ryan Dewees (East Stroudsburg) for Wilmington in the 8th as Jack Herring (Rollins College) walked to load the bases.

Abdriel Delgado was up next following the free pass and he summarily cashed in with a two-run RBI single that plated Aden Howard (Dallas Baptist) and Zayd Brannigan, a clutch knock that handed Greenville their first lead of the night at 6-5.

It has been a tough two weeks to start the season for the newest members of the Coastal Plain League and the Yard Gnomes proved to be hungry lawn decorations even with the lead in hand.

Three more runs scored for the Yard Gnomes in the 8th, the exclamation point being a Carlos Vasquez (Western Kentucky, 2-4, two RBI) double that sent Delgado and Bouck home.

With the Guy Smith Stadium crowd in a rare frenzy (Greenville entered the night at just 1-8 on the season at home), RHP Todd Kniebbe (Florida Atlantic) pitched in the 9th after entering with two outs in the 7th and bookended the eventual final inning of the night with a strikeout of Trace Willhoite (Lipscomb, 1-4, RBI) to start and a ringing up of DH Justin Herrera (Belmont Abbey, 0-3 with a walk) to finish, a strong ending that ultimately secured the game for the Yard Gnomes who have now won two of their last three games.

Kniebbe got the victory for Greenville in his season debut and finished with a 2.1 IP, one walk and three strikeout line.

Lefty Jack Gibson (UNC Wilmington, 3.0 IP, ER, hit, walk, four strikeouts) also made his first appearance of 2024 for Greenville on Saturday and had the most punchouts of any Yard Gnomes arm. The Southern Shores, NC native also logged the most time of any home pitcher in the win.

Another UNC Wilmington Seahawk, RHP Aubrey Smith, started for Wilmington on the mound and logged three innings while allowing just two hits and a walk to go along with one strikeout. Righty Jake Engel (Gannon University) took the loss for the Sharks to fall to 0-1 on the season.

After the rousing win, Greenville will wrap up their three-game homestand on Sunday against the Lillington Pirates of the Carolina Collegiate League with a 5:05 PM first pitch on First Responders & Healthcare Appreciation Night at Guy Smith Stadium. Wilmington is also in action on Sunday as they continue their road trip with a visit to Hampton, Virginia to play the Peninsula Pilots at War Memorial Stadium. First pitch in the 757 is scheduled for 7 PM.

NOTES: Total game time was three hours and thirteen minutes.