HAGERSTOWN, MD - The Hagerstown Suns (30-18, 74-44) scored a run each in the bottom of the eighth and ninth innings on Friday night to secure a walk-off 6-5 win over the Kannapolis Intimidators (24-24, 53-62). The win improves Hagerstown's record this season to 11-1 when tied after eight innings.
The Suns sent just two hitters to the plate in the ninth. Left fielder Narciso Mesa began the frame by hitting a ground ball single up the middle. Catcher Spencer Kieboom then roped a double down the right field line to drive in Mesa and secure the win. The double was Kieboom's second hit of the night and his 25th double this season.
Hagerstown knotted the game at 5-5 in the bottom of the eighth. Third baseman Drew Ward began the inning by drawing a walk. Designated hitter Carlos Lopez followed with a double to center field, putting runners at second and third with none out. Following a pitching change, 1B Jimmy Yezzo hit an infield single to short, which drove in Ward for the tying run. The hit was Yezzo's third of the game, and he is now on an eight-game hitting streak.
The reason the Suns had to come from behind to win is because Kannapolis put together a five-run frame in the seventh. With RHP Jake Johansen having entered the game for Hagerstown to begin the inning, the Intimidators were able to put their first five hitters of the frame aboard thanks to four singles and a walk. Only a sacrifice bunt was able to stop the string of batters reaching base, and after the bunt another single drove in two runs. That chased Johansen from the game, but his line was not closed as the final run of the inning scored on a throwing error following a line out to short. Johansen finished the night having thrown just 0.1 innings, and allowing five runs (four earned) on five hits and one walk.
Hagerstown had a big inning of its own in the first. Center fielder Rafael Bautista walked to begin the frame, and with two outs he scored from second on a single to left by Kieboom. Ward drove Kieboom home from first with a double to left. Ward then stole third, and scored on a wild pitch to make it 3-0 Suns. The lead increased to 4-0 after two innings thanks to an RBI single by Mesa.
LHP Justin Thomas (3-4) wound up picking up the win for Hagerstown. He threw 2.2 scoreless innings in relief after taking over for Johansen, giving up two hits and striking out two. RHP David Putman (0-3) suffered the blown save and loss for Kannapolis. He threw one inning, allowing one earned run on four hits while striking out two. RHP Nick Pivetta got the start for Hagerstown and tossed six scoreless frames, surrendering five hits and two walks while striking out two.
These two teams continue their four-game series at Municipal Stadium on Saturday August 9. The Intimidators will send RHP Thad Lowry (4-5) to the mound for his 15th start and appearance of the year. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05pm.