DANVILLE, Va. - The Danville Braves matched a season-long win streak with a third straight triumph, winning the series opener against the Bristol Pirates 8-5 Monday night.
Beau Philip shined in the victory, going 2-for-3 with a walk and four runs scored to help lead the way for the Danville lineup. Philip also made a pair of late highlight-reel defensive plays to help the D-Braves earn the victory.
The team put up 13 hits, its third-highest total this season. Willie Carter, Bryce Ball and Cody Birdsong also each had two hits on a night where every Danville batter had at least one hit. The pitching staff gave up ten hits and five runs but struck out 13 and stranded 10 Pirates on base.
The team started off hot in the first inning, scoring runs in the opening frame for the third straight game. Starter Tyler Owens gave up a single but struck out three Pirates in the top half of the inning. In the Danville half, Cody Milligan hit a leadoff double and move to third on Philip's subsequent single. After Philip stole second base, Carter knocked in Milligan with an RBI groundout. Ball made it 2-0 with an RBI single.
Owens gave up a leadoff single in the second inning before striking out the next two batters. Jean Eusebio then stepped up for Bristol with a two-run home run to tie it all up. Danville got Jose Palma on base via a fielding error with two outs in the bottom of the second, but despite stealing second and advancing to third on a wild pitch he couldn't score.
In the third inning, Bristol put runners on the corners with two outs, prompting Danville to send in reliever Greg Leban for Owens. The Pirates loaded the bases with a walk, and two more walks scored a pair of runs to give the visitors a 4-2 lead. Danville got one back in the bottom half of the inning after a pair of walks set Birdsong up for an RBI single to make it 4-3.
Both pitching staffs settled in during the fourth and fifth innings, giving up a hit apiece in the fifth but not allowing any runs.
The D-Braves broke the game open in the seventh inning with four runs. Philip and Carter singled to lead off the inning, and Ball grounded out to advance them to second and third with one out. Ray Hernandez came up with a two-run single to give Danville a 5-4 lead, then scored himself on Birdsong's double in the next at bat. Birdsong scored later in the inning on an error when Victor De Hoyos was caught stealing second to extend it to 7-4.
In the top of the eighth, Bristol's Yoyner Fajardo looked to have a one-out single before Philip made a gorgeous snag and throw to first just ahead of Fajardo. The D-Braves tacked on another insurance run with an RBI double from Carter scoring Philip for the fourth time in the game.
Bristol led off the ninth with a trio of singles, scoring one run to make it 8-5 and putting the tying run at the plate. In a risky spot, Danville pitcher Justin Yeager earned the save, retiring the next three batters to end the game. The final at bat was a grounder to short, where Philip made another impressive defensive play to finish the night.
Danville and Bristol will lock horns again Tuesday night, with the second game of the series slated for 6:30 p.m.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.