DANVILLE, Va,- Izzy Wilson had a monster day at the plate and although the bullpen couldn't preserve the win for Kyle Muller, it came through in the clutch to give the Danville Braves a thrilling and dramatic 5-4 win over the Burlington Royals Sunday afternoon.
A sacrifice fly for each team in the 1st inning opened up the scoring and in the bottom of the 2nd, Isranel WIlson smacked a triple into the right field corner. Two runs would cross the plate and the Braves would take a 3-1 lead. Wilson would again drive in a run, this time in the 5th, with a double to give the Braves a 4-1 lead. But his biggest contribution was yet to come.
Danville (9-9) starter Kyle Muller labored through the first few innings before settling into a groove. When his outing had ended, he had surrendered just the lone run on only two hits in five innings. He also struck out four. Cutter Dyals had a quick 6th inning in relief of Muller, but found himself in trouble in the 7th. A pair of singles and a walk loaded the bases for the Royals with no one out when a base hit by Jose Marquez cut the Danville lead to 4-2. Manager Nestor Perez lifted Dyals for lefty John Curtis. With the bases still loaded, Curtis proceed to induce a double play and a groundout to end the inning, although another run would score on the double play to narrow Danville's lead to a single run.
Kelvin Rodriguez replaced Curtis for the 9th inning looking for the save, but Burlington (5-12) had other ideas. WIth one runner aboard, Marquez ripped a low line drive past a diving Griffin Benson into right field. The ball kicked around in the corner and Marquez went all the way to third with a game tying RBI triple. Rodriguez would hold him there and the Braves went to the bottom of the 9th, tied 4-4, looking for a little Sunday magic to avoid a four game losing streak.
Justin Smith drew a walk to lead off the inning but was quickly erased on a force play when Jeremy Fernandez attempted a sacrifice bunt. Benson walked and Luis Mejia singled into right to load the bases. Up stepped Wilson who swung at the first pitch he saw and drove the ball into right field, raising his fist triumphantly as the winning run came across the plate. For WIlson, his 4 RBI were a season high. Rodriguez picked up the win in relief (3-0), while Royals' pitcher Michael Messier took the loss (0-4).
The Braves and Royals conclude their four game series at Legion Field tomorrow night at 7. It will be the final game the Royals play at Legion Field this season. Bruce Zimmermann makes his second career start and his first at home, Ismael Maldonado (0-3, 11.25, 11 walks in 12 innings) will get the ball for Burlington. It's Dollar Monday at the ballpark and fans can enjoy hot dogs, popcorn, and souvenir sodas for just a dollar each. Go to dbraves.com or call 434-797-3792 for tickets.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.