KINGSPORT, Tenn. (June 23, 2014) - A pitching duel was the big draw heading into Monday night's Appalachian League game between the Bluefield Blue Jays and the Kingsport Mets, but the offense of the Jays stole the show.
Bluefield rapped out 11 hits and evened its three-game series with Kingsport, posting a 7-2 victory at Hunter Wright Stadium.
The Jays made it a rough night for K-Mets starting pitcher Andrew Church, a second-round pick in last year's draft making his 2014 debut. Church went four innings, allowing four earned runs on 10 hits and a walk. He threw 73 pitches.
Church's counterpart is also highly regarded; Matthew Smoral was the 50th overall pick in the 2012 draft. The tall left-hander only went three innings, but Smoral tallied eight strikeouts over his three shutout frames, giving up an infield hit and three walks.
Bluefield (2-3) jumped out to a 4-0 lead through four innings before Brandon Brosher's power shined through yet again. Brosher belted his league-leading fourth home run of the season in the fifth-inning, a line drive to left field that scored himself and Pedro Perez. That made it a 4-2 ballgame and Kingsport (2-3) seemed to have some momentum.
It didn't last. Bluefield's Anthony Alford went deep in the top of the sixth, striking a two-run blow of his own that made it a 6-2 game. It also marked Bluefield's first home run of the 2014 season.
K-METRICS: Jon Leroux led last season's divisional championship Kingsport team in home runs, with six. Barring a promotion or injury, Brosher is on pace to shatter that total with four homers within the first week of the new season.
NOTES: Alford and leadoff hitter Richard Urena had three hits apiece for the Jays. Rowdy Tellez and Alford finished with three RBIs each. … Brosher was named the first Appalachian League Player of the Week for the new season on Monday, after homering three times and tallying a 1.773 OPS in his first three games. … Brendan Kaupe benefited from a weird roll in the seventh inning when his squibber to the third-base side rolled foul, then rolled back into fair ground. Kaupe kept running and hustled into an infield single.