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Gnats Drop Sixth Straight in 8-7 Marathon Wednesday08/23/2012 10:04 AM ET
Savannah, GA - The Asheville Tourists overcame early deficits of 5-0 and 6-5 to defeat the Savannah Sand Gnats 8-7 Wednesday night at Historic Grayson Stadium. The Tourists swept the three-game series from the Gnats to improve to 9-1 in their last 10 games and handed Savannah their sixth straight loss.
Asheville scored two runs in the top of the fourth inning to take a 7-6 lead. CF Tyler Massey singled home the tying run and then scored on 2B Taylor Featherstone's RBI single.
Each team scored a single run in the sixth inning to establish the final margin.
The Gnats rallied in the bottom of the ninth, putting the tying run at third and the go-ahead run at first, but could not find the hit to tie the game to push the three-hour and forty-two minute marathon to extra-innings.
The Gnats built a 5-0 lead after two innings. Savannah scored four runs in the first and a run in the second. In the first, LF Gregory Pron's two-run triple keyed the four-run frame. In the second, DH Cam Maron drove home 2B Yucarybert De La Cruz for the 5-0 advantage.
However, the Tourists evened the game with a five-run top of the third against starter Domingo Tapia. The final two runs scored on a hotly disputed inside-the-park homerun from 3B Sam Mende. With a runner at first, Mende ripped a ball fair inside the thirdbase line. The ball appeared to become lodged under the bench in the Asheville bullpen, where by rule it should have been ruled dead and a ground rule double. Base umpire Mike Patterson appeared to put up his hands during the play to signal dead ball, and a ground rule double, but the Tourists runners kept running, and after Pron pulled the ball loose from Asheville bullpen, and threw late to the infield, the play was ruled an inside the park homerun. Gnats' manager Luis Rojas discussed the play at length with the umpiring crew, but was ultimately sent back to the dugout.
Tapia, who was charged with the loss to fall to 6-4, allowed seven runs, five earned on a season-high 10 hits. He struck out five and did not walk a batter. The homerun he allowed was his first in 102.1 innings of work in 2012.
The Gnats begin their final home series of 2012, against the Rome Braves when LHP Jimmy Fuller (3-5, 6.37) takes the hill Thursday at 7:05 pm. Gates open at 6 pm and the pre-game show on News/Talk 630 and sandgnats.com begins at 6:45.
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ABOUT THE SAVANNAH SAND GNATS
The Savannah Sand Gnats, the Class-A affiliate of the New York Mets, is a professional minor league baseball team and a member of the South Atlantic League. Savannah plays its home games at Historic Grayson Stadium in Savannah, GA, just minutes from downtown Savannah. Historic Grayson Stadium is situated within Savannah's Daffin Park, creating a unique atmosphere and a "Park within a Park" setting. The Sand Gnats are a part of the Savannah baseball tradition dating back to 1904.