BURLINGTON, N.C.- The Burlington Royals capped their 2016 home season with a 6-2 loss to the Johnson City Cardinals in game one of the Appalachian League Championship Series at Burlington Athletic Stadium on Tuesday night.
The Royals will now head to Johnson City needing to win twice in two nights to bring home the Appalachian League title.
Burlington scored a pair of runs in the first inning to grab the early lead. 2B Gabriel Cancel hit a one-out double, and RF Kort Peterson followed with a double of his own down the left field line to plate Cancel. Peterson took third on a wild pitch, and scored on an RBI groundout by 1B Chris DeVito.
Johnson City scored their first run in the top of the second. DH Joshua Lopez led off with a single, and took second on a groundout by 3B Bryce Denton. 1B Hunter Newman reached on an error to put men at first and third, and an RBI single by LF DeAndre Asbury-Heath brought home Lopez.
The Cardinals tied the game in the third. SS Allen Cordoba led off with a single, and a wild pitch put him at second. C Andrew Knizner singled home Cordoba to tie the game at two.
Johnson City blew the game open with four runs in the top of the fourth inning. Asbury-Heath and CF Shane Billings each reached on errors to put men on the corners with no out. 2B J.R. Davis singled to bring home Asbury-Heath, and a sacrifice bunt put two in scoring position with one out. RF Matt Fiedler reached on an error, the third of the inning, which allowed both Billings and Davis to score. Knizner delivered again with an RBI double, scoring Fiedler and pushing the lead to 6-2.
RHP Jose Veras kept the Cardinals off the scoreboard over 4.2 innings, in which he struck out five, but the offense could not rally.
Cardinals RHP Ramon Santos held the Royals to six hits and a walk over seven innings, striking out four and earning the win.
- Burlington grounded into three double plays and lined into another.
- CF Vance Vizcaino made a leaping catch at the wall in center in the first inning to rob Knizner of extra bases, and followed with a 2-for-3 game at the plate.
- Veras' 4.2 innings were a season high for the righty.
The Royals will play game two of the Appalachian League Championship Series at TVA Credit Union Ballpark in Johnson City, Tenn. on Wednesday night. First pitch is set for 7:00 p.m.
Fans can listen to the game live and for free at www.burlingtonroyals.com. Matt Krause has the call, and coverage starts at 6:45 p.m.
Johnson City 6, Burlington 2
WP: Ramon Santos (1-0)
LP: Garrett Davila (0-1)