It was win or go home on Wednesday night at Joe O'Brien Field when Elizabethton took on Greeneville in game three of the Appalachian League division playoff series. The Twins scored three runs in the third and added three more in the eighth to move on to the Appalachian League championship series with a 6-0 win over Greeneville. Lefthander Jovani Moran came into the game in the eighth inning with the bases loaded and one away. Moran then struck out the two hitters he faced in the frame and got through a scoreless ninth to end it.
"Jovani is one of our better arms, and he has had some issues," Twins manager Ray Smith said. "He has so much upside and is one of our better prospects, so we have to protect him a little bit. I thought (Edwar) Colina spun it pretty good. Lot of drama in the early innings, and I don't know if he tired a little bit but he worked the ball in and out and with Cesar Cedeno as the hitting coach they like to hit according to the count and they had a good plan." The Twins got on the scoreboard in the third with three runs. Outfielder T.J. Dixon opened with an infield hit followed by a walk to centerfielder Akil Baddoo to put runners at first and second. With Gorge Munoz at the plate Astros catcher Oscar Campos attempted to throw Dixon out at second only to see the ball go into centerfield and both runners moved up. Munoz then singled in a run, and Jose Miranda's fielder's choice grounder brought home another before first baseman J.J. Robinson doubled to left to make it a 3-0 Twins lead. Twins starter Edwar Colina - the league's right handed All Star pitcher - did not look the part in the early frames hitting Juan Pineda with the first pitch of the game. In the first two innings, Colina gave up two hit-batters, a walk and a double from Roman Garcia.
From the third to the fifth frames, however, Colina found his groove, striking out five and giving up just one hit - a single from outfielder Carlos Machado, as 'Betsy built its lead. For the game, Colina pitched six and two-thirds giving up no runs on three hits. "I changed my mechanics a little bit," Colina said. "I feel really good, we have a chance to win a championship, and everyone wants to play for that. I just try to enjoy the game, and I am excited for the chance to win it."
Colina struck out eight and walked three before giving way to righthander Jared Finkel. Finkel struggled in the eighth after an error by Munoz at shortstop Finkel gave up a single to Gilberto Celestino and hit Garcia to load the bases. Lefty Jovani Moran came on and struck out Jose Benjamin and Frankeny Fernandez to end the threat. Moran finished with three strikeouts of the five hitters he faced. "I was a little nervous coming in with bases loaded," Moran said. "I threw only fastballs since we were ahead by three runs. So I just threw hard and see what happens."
The Twins open the championship series tonight at Joe O'Brien with game time set for 7 pm.
Greeneville 000 000 000 - 0 4 1
E-Twins 003 000 00x - 6 6 1
W - Colina L - Watts
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.