Greeneville, TN - The Burlington Royals (18-20) had a four-run eighth inning and held on to defeat the Greeneville Astros (25-13) by a score of 7-6 on Tuesday night at Pioneer Park. Despite the loss, the Astros are still leading the Appalachian League West Division by two games while the Royals are sitting in the fourth spot in the East.
The game began with two scoreless innings. Then, Chris Sweeney doubled for Burlington to lead off the third inning. With Kevin Kuntz batting, Sweeney moved over to third on a wild pitch. Then, Kuntz singled to bring Sweeney in for the first score of the night.
In the bottom of the fourth, the Astros got a leadoff walk from Ricky Gingras and also benefited from a wild pitch to move the runner into scoring position at second base. Then, Angel Ibanez hit a line drive into right field to score Gingras all the way from second and tie the game at 1-1.
The Royals took the lead back a couple of innings later in the top of the sixth. With one out, Sam Bates hit a solo homer to right field to put the Royals up 2-1. For Bates, it was his league-leading eighth home run of the season.
After the Royals and Astros combined for three runs through the first seven innings, the teams combined for seven runs in the eighth inning alone. In the top of the inning, with a base runner on second, the Royals began a streak with three consecutive batters connecting on RBI singles that was immediately followed by a RBI double from Chris Sweeney to net them a four-run inning. The Astros came back with a two-run double from Ariel Ovando, who later scored on a Tyler White ground out for three runs of their own. At the end of the inning, the Royals lead was 6-4.
In the ninth inning, with runners at first and third, the Royals got one more run after Ramon Torres grounded into a force out that got the runner at second out but allowed the runner at third to head home for a score.
Down 7-4, the Astros never stopped trying to claw their way back. After a Marc Wik single and Juan Santana double, the Astros had runners at second and third with Ricky Gingras at the plate. Gingras ended up ripping a line drive single to left field to score both runners and pull the Astros back within one run of the Royals at 7-6. On the final at-bat for the Astros, Angel Ibanez drove a hard hit ball into left field but it went right into left fielder Jerrell Allen's glove for the final out.
Royals' reliever Cruz Guevara (1-1) was the winning pitcher as he pitched 2.2 innings into the seventh, gave up two hits and struck out two. Meanwhile, Andrew Edwards was credited with his sixth save after pitching the final inning and giving up two runs on three hits.
With the Royals victory, they evened the series at 1-1 with the rubber match set for Wednesday night 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.