KINGSPORT, Tenn.-The K-Mets made it three wins in-a-row Thursday night as Ricardo Cespedes's four-hit day aided Jake Simon on the mound as the Kingsport Mets defeated the Princeton Rays 10-4 in Game 2 of the series from Hunter Wright Stadium.
With the win, Kingsport (22-39) has now positioned itself for its first series-sweep of the season when Game 3 is played Friday night at the friendly confines while Princeton (32-27) has dropped three-straight games in the process without gaining any ground in the playoff hunt as the 2016 Appalachian League season continues to wind out.
Following an RBI single from Eleardo Cabrera, the Rays were the first to jump on the scoreboard Thursday night as the club led the K-Mets 1-0 heading to the bottom of the third inning.
In the bottom of the frame, Kingsport rattled off three runs off three hits to bring the score to a 3-1 advantage for the home team.
Reed Gamache tied the ballgame at one run apiece following a run-scoring single that plated Cespedes with no outs in the frame. During Jeremy Wolf's at-bat a batter later, Walter Rasquin scored on a wild pitch for the club's second run of the inning. Wolf then drove in Gamache with an RBI double to bring the three-run third inning to a close for Kingsport.
An inning later in the fourth, the K-Mets tacked on two more runs thanks to two errors from the Princeton defense. Dionis Rodriguez led off the frame with a single and then came all the way around on a three-base error from Rays' catcher Rene Pinto on a Raphael Ramirez bunt that hit just a few feet in front of home plate.
The errant throw to first base sailed over the head of a leaping Devin Davis at first base and all the way up the right field line to the corner, allowing Rodriguez to score from first base and Ramirez to reach third. A batter later, Cecilio Aybar reached first base on a throwing error from third baseman Joshua Lowe, allowing Ramirez to score to extend the lead to 5-1 in favor of Kingsport.
The Rays gained a run back in the top of the sixth inning when Robbie Tenerowicz doubled with two outs and scored a batter later when Lowe tripled to left field. The two-out magic sparked Princeton at the time as the squad finally had some momentum heading to the bottom of the frame down by three runs.
The K-Mets halted the momentum when the club came to bat immediately following the run-scoring top half of the frame as Kingsport put four more runs on the board after all nine men came to the plate.
Cespedes started the onslaught by blasting his first career home run over the right field wall. The home run was a two-run shot as the drive brought in Aybar who walked a batter prior. Three batters later, Wolf would tally his second RBI double of the contest while Yeffry De Aza followed suit with a run-scoring hit of his own to bring the score back out to seven-run advantage at 9-2.
Tenerowicz and Lowe again brought in a run apiece in the top of the eighth inning to dampen the blow a bit before Kingsport answered right back for the third time on the contest by plating its final run in the bottom of the frame.
Rasquin led off the charge with a triple to straight away center field and was then brought in a batter later by Gamache's sacrifice fly. The score would hold true as Jose Carolos Medina was called on to fetch the final three outs of the contest in the top of the ninth inning. The southpaw recorded a perfect inning as the Kingsport Mets secured its first series-victory since August 9 at Bristol with a 10-4 win over the Rays in Game 2.
Cespedes was the hero on the night as the No. 23 prospect in the Mets organization tallied his first four-hit contest which included his first professional home run. The center fielder tallied three singles and the home run to contribute to a 4-for-5 day at the office. Gamache and Wolf also tallied two RBIs apiece in the win as four K-Mets recorded multi-hit games.
Both Lowe and Tenerowicz tallied two hits apiece during the loss for Princeton while the former drove in two runs. Cabrera recorded a team-high three hits on the night.
Simon (2-5) brought in a well-deserved win after not receiving a victory since July 13 against the Elizabethton Twins as the span covered his last six starts. The left-handed hurler tossed seven innings of eight-hit baseball, surrendering only two runs in the win. Simon struck out the side in the seventh inning en route to a five strikeout performance.
Max Kuhns and Medina combined to pitch the final two innings on the mound in relief of Simon as the duo surrendered two runs off three hits in the eighth and ninth innings.
Resly Linares (2-3) took home the loss after pitching only 2.1 innings in the start while surrendering three runs. Edrick Agosto and Bryce Zak finished off the last 5.2 innings of the ballgame, surrendering seven more runs off seven hits.
Game 3 of the series will take place at 7:00 p.m. at Hunter Wright Stadium Friday night. Coverage of the contest can be found on both the Kingsport Mets Baseball Network at kmets.com or on TuneIn, as well as 103.3 FM "The Way" in the Princeton, WV. area.