Offense erupts late as Reds avoid sweep, 7-1

Greeneville scores four in eighth, two in ninth to grab series-finale

RHP Francis Jones hurled four innings of perfect relief - striking out four - to earn his second win of the year, as the Greeneville Reds topped the Elizabethton Twins, 7-1, on Thursday night at Joe O'Brien Field. (Doug Gray / RedsMinorLeagues.com)

By Justin Rocke | August 23, 2018 10:11 PM

ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. -- Held to one hit through the first seven innings, Greeneville's offense exploded for four runs in the eighth and two more in the ninth to rally, as the Reds usurped the Elizabethton Twins, 7-1, on Thursday night at Joe O'Brien Field.

With the win, Greeneville improved their overall mark to 27-35 on the campaign. Elizabethton's loss dropped them to 34-26 overall.

Even at one in the top of the eighth, CF Mike Siani (1-4, R, RBI) roped a one-out single to center. The 19-year-old then stole second and moved to third on a throwing error before scoring the go-ahead tally on a run-scoring double to right-center by 3B Claudio Finol (1-5, R, 2B, RBI, SO). Following a strikeout and an intentional walk of 1B Rylan Thomas (0-2, R, 2 BB, SO), 2B Jonathan Willems (1-3, R, HR, 3 RBI, BB, SO) delivered the decisive blow. The Curacao native blasted a shot over the left-field fence for a three-run home run - his seventh of the year - to expand Greeneville's lead to four, 5-1.

In the ninth, C Rob Boselli (2-4, 2 R, 2B, HR, RBI, 2 SO) ignited the rally with a two base-hit to right-center and came across on a throwing error. With LF Nate Scantlin (0-3, R, BB) at second, Siani drilled a deep drive to right-center that was caught in front of the fence. The Rose Hill, Kan. tagged up and never broke stride, scoring all the way from second on a sacrifice fly to push the Reds advantage to 7-1.

RHP Ian Koch (1.0 IP, SO) entered in the bottom of the frame and sealed the deal, striking out one and recording two groundouts.

Greeneville's pitching was superb all night long. LHP Jacob Heatherly (4.0 IP, 5 H, R, ER, BB, 5 SO) surrendered only one run - a solo home run by 2B Yunior Severino (1-4, R, HR, RBI) in the third - over four innings. In relief, RHP Francis Jones (4.0 IP, 4 SO) was untouchable. The 21-year-old retired all 12 men he faced - striking out four - to earn his second win of the year. Heatherly, Jones, and Koch combined to eliminate the final 16 batters of the game in order.

RHP Andrew Cabezas (5.1 IP, H, R, ER, 2 BB, 7 SO) struck out a career-best seven in a no-decision for Elizabethton. The only run he yielded came on an inside-the-park home run off the bat of Boselli in the fifth. On that play, RF Jared Akins dove for the ball down the right-field line and suffered an apparent injury, allowing the Reds' catcher to circle the bags. Twins RHP Tanner Howell (2.2 IP, 3 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, 4 SO) suffered his second loss out of the bullpen.

Greeneville will return home on Friday night to open up a three-game series against the Johnson City Cardinals. RHP Lyon Richardson (0-4, 6.15 ERA) - Cincinnati's No. 20 prospect according to MLB.com - is scheduled to take the hill in the opener, while the Redbirds are projected to counter with RHP Dionis Zamora (1-3, 4.53 ERA).

The G-Reds Pre-Game Show will kick off the broadcast at 6:45 p.m. ET, leading up to the 7:00 p.m. ET start at Pioneer Park. Friday evening's contests can be heard on GreenevilleReds.com or via the TuneIn Radio and MiLB First Pitch apps. 

Fans are encouraged to arrive early and stay late, as the first 750 fans through the gates will receive a Scott Schebler Bobblehead and - after the final out - patrons can enjoy the final spectacular Firework Friday show of the 2018 season.

Single-game tickets are still available and can be purchased online at GreenevilleReds.com or by calling the Reds' Ticket Office at (423) 609-7400.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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