The Greeneville Astros (23-19) and the Burlington Royals (20-24) clashed in a pitcher's duel on Sunday night. Both teams received stellar pitching for the entirety of the game, but a timely error by Burlington lead to a Greeneville walk-off in the bottom of the ninth.
Greeneville starter Humberto Castellanos threw five and one-third innings only giving up five hits, two walks and striking out four. Castellanos kept Burlington in check, leaving five runners in scoring position as they failed to score in the first, third and fifth innings.
Offensively the Astros had multiple chances to score early, but the Royals defense held tight not allowing any runs to score. The Astros had a chance in the bottom of the second as Jose Benjamin tripled on a sharp liner to left with only one out, but he was stranded after a fly out and a line out.
Another scoring opportunity presented itself in the bottom of the third as Wilson Amador reached base via a force out and swiped second for his fourteenth stolen base of the season. A walk and a wild pitch left runners at second and third, but neither came home after a pop out in foul territory. Greeneville loaded the bases in the fourth with one out, but it was more of the same with an inning ending double play that kept the game scoreless.
The first run of the game would present itself in the bottom of the sixth inning. Benjamin was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt. Left fielder Frankeny Fernandez stepped up to the plate and drilled an RBI single to left field giving the Astros a 1-0 lead.
Burlington quickly answered, scoring one run in the top of the seventh. First baseman Benji Cash walked to start the inning, only to advance to second on a failed pickoff attempt before advancing to third on a wild pitch. A second walk in the inning put runners on the corners setting up Michael Gigliotti for a sacrifice fly. Greeneville ended the inning with a nifty strike out and caught stealing combination stranding more Royals on the base paths.
After a scoreless eighth and top of the ninth, the stage was set for Greeneville. Quickly faced with two outs on a fly out and a strike out, Patrick Mathis kept the inning alive with a single to right. Designated hitter Gilberto Celestino followed that up with another single advancing Mathis to third with Brody Westmoreland at the dish. Westmoreland hit a grounder to third, but Oliver Perez couldn't field it cleanly leading to a 2-1 walk-off win for Greeneville.
The Astros will be back in action tomorrow night as they take on the Royals for game two of their three game series. Leovanny Rodriguez (3-0) will put his league leading 1.80 ERA on the line against right hander Nathan Webb (3-3). First pitch is set for 7:00pm as the Astros will look to keep their winning streak alive on Military Appreciation Night presented by Apex Bank.
The Astros are the Appalachian League affiliate of the Houston Astros. For more information, visit www.greenevilleastros.com or call (423) 638-0411.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.