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Familia Bests Intimidators For Seventh Win07/15/2009 3:45 PM ET
By Will Palaszczuk
SAVANNAH, Ga. - The Savannah Sand Gnats plated a trio of runs in the fourth inning and staved off a late-inning comeback to beat the Kannapolis Intimidators, 3-1, in front of 1,341 fans Wednesday afternoon at Historic Grayson Stadium.
The Intimidators put runners at the corners with nobody out down by two runs in the ninth, but Rhiner Cruz induced an infield pop-up and a double play to end the ballgame for his 17th save in 17 opportunities.
Both teams failed to get a hit through the first three innings but Savannah ended the string with a leadoff single by Jefry Marte in the fourth. Wilmer Flores reached on a fielding error by shortstop Eduardo Escobar and Sean Ratliff drove them both home with a run-scoring double. Ratliff came home on a sacrifice fly later in the inning by Jordan Abruzzo to make it, 3-0.
Jeurys Familia was perfect through the first five innings he pitched but ran into trouble in the sixth allowing a leadoff single to Kannapolis DH Kenny Williams. Escobar reached on a fielder's choice that retired Williams and came home on a Drew Garcia ground out later in the inning to pull the Intimidators within one. Garcia's ground out left the tying runs on the bases and brought Luis Sierra up to the plate
The right-hander from Santo Domingo was equal to the task, however, striking out Sierra for the second time and his fourth strikeout to end his outing. With the win, Familia (7-6) is now tied with Robert Carson for the most wins on the pitching staff.
Ratliff added a triple in the eighth inning for his 27th multi-hit game of the season putting him one behind Josh Satin for the team lead.
Savannah (11-9, 46-44) can win the series tomorrow with a win behind Chris Schwinden (6-4, 3.52), who will face SAL-strikeout leader Dexter Carter (4-2, 3.62) of Kannapolis. For tickets to tomorrow night's Thirsty Thursday series finale or for more information, log on to sandgnats.com or call 912.351.9150.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.