DANVILLE, Va. - The Danville Braves put the tying run on third base in the ninth inning but couldn't make it happen Tuesday night against the Bristol Pirates, dropping the second game in the series 7-6 and snapping a three-game winning streak.
Cody Milligan went 0-2 but drew a season-high three walks to lead the way for Danville. The team had just six hits but drew nine walks and took advantage of three Bristol errors to nearly pull off a late rally. The D-Braves led for parts of the contest but a four-run seventh inning from the Pirates doomed them.
Danville put two runners on base in the first frame but couldn't come away with any runs. Bristol got its first baserunner on in the second inning, but a strikeout and batter's interference double play ended the inning in the next at bat.
Both teams were able to break through in the third inning. Bristol hit a double and an RBI triple to take a 1-0 lead. Brandon Chapman led off the bottom of the frame with a single and moved to second on Jose Palma's sacrifice bunt. Two walks loaded the bases for Brandon Parker, who hit a sacrifice fly to score Chapman and tie the ballgame. A passed ball during a walk drawn by Bryce Ball scored Milligan to give Danville the 2-1 advantage but the home side could not add any more in the inning.
After a scoreless fourth, Bristol led off the fifth inning with its second triple, tying up the game later in the inning on a sacrifice fly of their own. Danville led off its half with two walks but a double play and fly out ended the scoring threat.
Bristol hit an RBI double in the sixth to take a 3-2 lead that would be eclipsed once again in the bottom half of the inning. Ball walked and Connor Blair singled to lead off the inning, with both runners advancing to scoring position on a Cody Birdsong sacrifice bunt. Ray Hernandez drove in Ball on an RBI groundout to tie it and Blair scored on a throwing error that allowed Chapman to reach safely to once again hand Danville a lead, this time 4-3.
In the seventh inning, Bristol broke the game open. A pair of leadoff singles and a walk loaded the bases with one out, and a two-out, two-run single saw the Pirates retake the reins 5-4. In the next at bat, a missed catch error from Hernandez at first allowed two more runners to score and extended the gap to 7-4. Danville loaded the bases in the bottom half of the inning for Birdsong, but a grounder to third ended in a force out.
After an inning and a half of scoreless baseball, Danville came up in the bottom of the ninth needing three to stay alive. Milligan drew his third walk to lead off the inning before Bristol picked up two outs on a strikeout and a force out. Ball singled and Blair walked to once again bring up Birdsong with the bases loaded and two outs. This time, Birdsong ripped a two-run single to center to make it a 7-6 game and put the tying run at third base. Unfortunately for Danville, Bristol was able to pick up a strikeout to end it.
The series will be decided Wednesday night, with the two teams clashing once more at 6:30 p.m.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.