Greeneville, TN - The Greeneville Astros (24-12) exploded for six runs in the bottom of the eighth inning as they blasted the Pulaski Mariners (21-14) by a score of 10-1 on Sunday night at Pioneer Park. With 14 hits and 10 RBI, the Astros tied their season highs and held on to their two-game lead over the Kingsport Mets in the Appalachian League West Division.
After two scoreless innings to start the game, the Mariners took the initial lead in the third inning. After two walks and an Aaron Barbosa single loaded the bases, Tyler Smith hit a sacrifice fly to plate one run and give Pulaski a 1-0 lead.
The score remained 1-0 through 6.5 innings. Then, the Astros bats came alive. With two outs and runners on second and third, Tyler White drove in two runs on a line drive double to left field to give the Astros a 2-1 lead at the end of the sixth.
The very next inning, the Astros doubled their run total on one powerful swing from Brian Holberton. One batter earlier, Chase McDonald had walked to put a runner on base so the two-run homer, Holberton's first at Pioneer Park and second overall, gave the Astros a 4-1 advantage.
Still holding a three-run lead heading into the bottom of the eighth inning, the Astros were in good position to pick up a win. However, with a six-run outburst, they all but ensured a victory. Chase McDonald hit a two-run double, Juan Santana and Thomas Lindauer each followed with a RBI single and Tanner Mathis concluded the scoring with a two-run single to make the score 10-1.
The 10 runs scored by the Astros were tied for the second most by the club all season. Their high of 11 came in an 11-10 win over the Johnson City Cardinals that stretched into 10 innings on July 20.
The high scoring output late in the game helped Astros reliever Chris Munnelly earn his first professional win on a night where his former college teammate at the University of North Carolina, Brian Holberton, helped put the game out of reach with his seventh inning homer. Munnelly finished with three innings pitched, no hits, one walk and two strikeouts. Combined with starter Jandel Gustave and Krishawn Holley, the Astros allowed just two hits on the night.
The Astros will begin a new three-game home series against the Burlington Royals on Monday at Pioneer Park. Game time will be at 7:00pm. For more information on the Greeneville Astros, please visit www.greenevilleastros.com or call (423) 638-0411.