Greeneville, TN - The Greeneville Astros (25-12) defeated the Burlington Royals (17-20) with a walk-off walk in the 11th inning on Monday night at Pioneer Park. With their second consecutive win, the Astros maintain the top record in the Appalachian League.
The game was scoreless through the first five innings, but both teams managed to score in the sixth. First, Burlington got a two-run homer from Sam Bates to go on top. Then, the Astros scored their first run after Tanner Mathis doubled to lead off and then scored after consecutive ground outs brought him home.
Down 2-1, the Astros got a line drive single from Thomas Lindauer to score Juan Santana in the seventh inning. That tied the game at 2-2.
In the eighth inning, the Royals took the lead right back when Sam Bates hit his eighth double of the year and scored Alfredo Escalera-Maldonado from second base. That score put Burlington up 3-2.
Still trailing by one with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, the Astros' last hope was Juan Santana and he delivered in a big way. Santana sent a deep fly ball sailing over the left field wall for a solo homer to tie the score at 3-3 and send the game into extra innings.
In the 10th inning, both teams loaded the bases but neither could find a way to score so the game moved on.
The Royals could only manage one hit, a single from Andrew Ayers, in the top of the 11th inning so the Astros had another chance to take the game in the bottom of the inning.
Ariel Ovando led off the 11th inning for the Astros with a walk to put the winning run on base. Wallace Gonzalez came on as a pinch runner for Ovando and was moved into scoring position at second with a sacrifice bunt by Juan Santana. Then, the Royals intentionally walked Marc Wik to set up a potential double play. Following a Thomas Lindauer strikeout, Tanner Mathis drew his league-leading 24th walk to load the bases with Edwin Gomez heading to the plate. Gomez, who had just entered the game as a defensive substitute for Brett Phillips in the top of the 11th inning, patiently waited until he drew a walk with a full count to plate the game-winning run.
Astros' reliever Raul Rivera (2-0) was the winning pitcher as he pitched the final inning, gave up one hit and picked up two strikeouts. Starting pitcher Austin Chrismon pitched well through the first five innings, giving up three hits and striking out two.
The Astros will face the Burlington Royals on Tuesday at Pioneer Park in game two of the three-game series. Game time will be at 7:00pm. For more information on the Greeneville Astros, please visit www.greenevilleastros.com or call (423) 638-0411.