Yard Gnomes Baseball

“Marlins Get Strong Start From Francisco On Mound, Go Long Twice With Bats In 7-2 Win Over Greenville”

June 2, 2024  |  9:52 PM
Written by: Corey Hodges (Play-By-Play/Communications, X: @The_CoreyHodges)


Guy Smith Stadium is starting to become the place where baseballs go for a ride in the first week and a half of the 2024 Coastal Plain League season.

After Greenville (1-9) homered four times on Saturday in a 5-4 loss to Holly Springs (a game which also included one Salamanders homer), visiting Morehead City (5-3) ripped off two big flies on Sunday in a 7-2 win over the Yard Gnomes to move two games over .500 overall while also going up 3-0 on their Eastern Division not-too-distant neighbors in the regular season series.

The Marlins, playing their third game in a four day stretch against Greenville, led 2-0 after five full innings on Sunday in what was a defensive-fueled contest to start.

The power ball did not appear for Morehead City until the seventh inning but it arrived at just the right time for the Marlins who were looking for a bounce back following a six-run (7-1 final) loss to the Peninsula Pilots on Saturday night in Hampton, Virginia.

Hayden Jatczak (Saginaw Valley State, 1-3, 2 RBI, 2 walks), playing in just his third game of the season for Morehead City, lifted a solo shot over the left field fence in the seventh inning and in the process became the first Marlin this season other than Nick Serce (American International College) to exit the ballpark. Serce entered the evening with three homers to his credit this season but struggled against the Yard Gnomes on Sunday (0-3 with a walk).

It should not have been a surprise for Jatczak to find his groove faster than most as the senior from Bay City, Michigan finished tied for the lead in Division 2 hits (108) this spring for the Cardinals while also slotting seventh nationally in RBIs (82).

Jatczak’s swat wasn’t the only offense in the seventh for Morehead City as Connor Tucker (Belmont Abbey, 3-5, 2 RBI) turned a single into two bags and an RBI later in the frame as an error on Greenville right fielder Matthew Rubin (Indian River State) allowed Erich Hartmann (Rider, 1-3, RBI) to plate. Tucker would later cross home plate himself in the seventh following a Ben Hamacher (Charleston, 1-5) RBI single.

Speaking of Tucker, he was the other Marlin who joined Jatczak (who wore a post-game sombrero to celebrate his performance) in homering on Sunday as the junior who hit .360 with 73 hits and 43 RBI for the Crusaders this spring led off the ninth inning with a shot to right.

Also of note for Morehead City on Sunday was a 2-4 performance from Brandon Scheurer (Saginaw Valley State) who dusted himself off following an 0-3 outing on Saturday at Peninsula in his season debut by looking more like his spring self following a college season in Michigan that saw him hit .366 with 78 knocks and 31 RBI.

RHP Brent Francisco (East Stroudsburg), who struck out eight in six innings on May 26th against Tri-City at home in his season debut, looked good again on Sunday in his second start of 2024 as the redshirt senior from Portland, Michigan rang up five in six innings while only allowing two hits and a walk.

Like Jatczak, Francisco’s strong start to his Coastal Plain League season should not be a surprise considering his spring numbers for the Warriors (1.91 ERA, 84 strikeouts, 10 walks). He took the win against Greenville to move to 2-0 on the season.

Greenville found some late offense to avoid the shutout against the Marlins but dropped to 1-6 at home on the season. Both runs for the Yard Gnomes were found in the ninth inning as Will Maginnis (Georgia State, 1-4, RBI) doubled in Jack Herring (Rollins College, 2-4). Matthew Rubin (1-4) doubled later in the inning to deliver Maginnis.

Greenville and Morehead City are both off on Monday but are each back in action on Tuesday (June 4th) as the Marlins host Tri-City at home while the Yard Gnomes welcome in Peninsula. First pitch for both contests is scheduled for 6:30 PM.

NOTES: Total game time was two hours and fifty minutes.