KINGSPORT, Tenn. -- For the second-straight day, C Hunter Oliver collected three hits - adding a home run. However, for the second-consecutive contest, the Kingsport Mets edged out the Greeneville Reds, winning 4-1 at Hunter Wright Stadium on Wednesday afternoon.
With the loss, Greeneville has now dropped back-to-back games to start the series and fell to 6-14 on the season. With the win, Kingsport improved their overall mark to 12-8.
For the first time in five games, the Reds failed to break the ice offensively, as the K-Mets scratched a pair of runs across in the bottom of the first. An error and a single by 2B Luis Santana (1-3, R) put men at first and third for DH Mark Vientos (1-4, RBI). On a 0-2 pitch, Santana broke for second, while LF Guillermo Granadillo (0-3, R, SO) headed for home on the toss. The ensuing throw to the plate was wide, allowing the runner to score with a steal of home, putting Kingsport in front, 1-0. Vientos proceeded to rip a single to left to bring home another tally to stretch the lead up to 2-0.
Greeneville answered with their lone run of the game in the top of the second. On a 1-1 pitch, Oliver (3-4, R, HR, RBI, SO) pummeled a ball over the left-center field fence for a solo blast. The home run - his third of the year - brought the Reds within one, 2-1.
That was as close as the Redlegs would get, as the Mets scored the final two runs of the affair. In the fourth, 1B Gavin Garay (2-4, R, HR, RBI) mashed a solo home run to the left of the batter's eye - his second of the year - to give the K-Mets a 3-1 edge. Finally - in the sixth - after a walk to CF Jarred Kelenic (0-3, R, BB, SO) and a single by Garay, 3B Yoel Romero (1-4, RBI, SO) surprised everyone with a two-out bunt. The 20-year-old laid it down perfectly, as the flip home was late, putting Kingsport up by three, 4-1.
The Reds would rally in the sixth, seventh, and ninth, but could not complete the comeback, as RHP Dedniel Nunez (3.0 IP, 3 H, 2 SO) got SS Miguel Hernandez (1-4, 3B) - who represented the game's tying-run - to ground out to first, ending the ballgame.
Kingsport RHP Jose Butto (6.0 IP, 6 H, R, ER, 8 SO) - who entered the day as the Appalachian League leader in ERA - struck out a career-best eight over a season-long-tying six innings to earn his first win of the year.
His counterpart - RHP Lyon Richardson (3.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 4 SO) - put together the best start of his brief professional career for the Reds, striking out a career-high four over a career-long three innings, but due to two unearned runs, suffered his second-straight defeat.
The series continues tomorrow evening, as Greeneville is slated to send RHP Alexis Diaz (1-0, 3.46 ERA) to the hill to snap the skid. The Mets are projected to counter with RHP Nate Peden (1-0, 3.52 ERA).
The G-Reds Pre-Game Show will kick off the broadcast at 6:15 p.m. ET, leading up to the 6:30 p.m. ET start at Hunter Wright Stadium. Thursday night's contest can be heard on GreenevilleReds.com or via the TuneIn Radio and MiLB First Pitch apps.
Following the Kingsport series, the Reds will return home on Saturday, July 14 to open up a three-game set against the Bristol Pirates. It will be Star Wars Night at the ballpark that evening featuring special movie-themed uniforms, music, food, and on-field games. In addition, the first 1,000 fans through the gates will receive a special Lightsaber Giveaway courtesy of Consumer Credit Union. That night's jersey's will be auctioned off to benefit the United Way of Greene County.
Season and 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.