JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. - LF Wadye Ynfante had a night to remember. The 19-year-old collected three hits, blasted two home runs and tied a career-high with four runs batted in, but it was not enough, as the Bristol Pirates outlasted the Johnson City Cardinals in a slugfest, 16-7, in front of 2,702 fans at TVA Credit Union Ballpark on Thursday night.
With the loss, Johnson City has now fallen in eight of their last nine games and dropped to 8-13 on the season. Bristol captures the series victory with the win and improved to 7-14 on the campaign.
It was a rocky start out of the gate for Johnson City, as Bristol erupted for four runs in the first. LF Edison Lantigua (2-4, 4 R, 3B, 2 BB) cranked a one-out triple to center and DH Matt Diorio (2-4, 2 R, 2B, 3 RBI, BB) walked to put a pair on. C Raul Hernandez (1-6, 2 R, RBI) ripped a hot shot to the left side of the field that couldn't be handled. Lantigua scored on the error to put the Bucs up, 1-0. Following a walk to SS Kyle Watson (0-5, R, BB, 2 SO), CF Ryan Peurifoy (3-5, R, 2B, 4 RBI, SO) laced a bases clearing, three-run double to center to stretch the lead to 4-0.
Johnson City trimmed the lead in the bottom of the second, as Ynfante (3-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI) cranked the first pitch he saw over the fence in left-center for his first homer of the season. The blast pulled the Cardinals within three at 4-1.
In the fourth, the Pirates blew the game wide open. The first seven to come to the plate reached base, as 2B Melvin Jimenez (1-4, R, RBI, BB, SO), RF Yondry Contreras (1-5, 2 R, RBI, BB, 2 SO) and Lantigua smoked consecutive RBI singles to make it a 7-1 contest. Bristol increased the lead to 12-1 on an error, RBI doubles by Diorio and Hernandez and a run-scoring base-hit by Peurifoy.
The Redbirds pushed two runs across in the fifth on RBI knocks by CF Chase Pinder (2-3, R, RBI) and 1B Luis Bandes (3-5, RBI, SO) to make it a 12-3 ballgame.
Bristol added three more in the seventh, as 3B Ben Bengtson (3-5, 2 R, 2B, 2 RBI, SO) whacked a RBI double off the right-field fence and Diorio followed up with a bloop, two-run single to center, putting the Pirates in front, 15-3.
In the eighth, Ynfante strode to the plate with two men on base thanks to a hit-batsman and a walk. The 19-year-old clocked a 2-1 offering over the 25-foot wall in right-center for a three-run blast - his second of the night - to trim the deficit to 15-6.
Both teams traded tallies in the ninth, as the Bucs pushed a run across on a double play grounder, while C Cameron Knight (1-1, R, RBI, BB) plunked a RBI single to center.
LHP Domingo Robles (7.0 IP, 8 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 5 SO) earned his first win of the season for the Pirates, going seven innings for a quality start. Cardinals RHP Alvaro Seijas (3.0+ IP, 9 H, 11 R, 6 ER, 2 BB, 4 SO) suffered through a rough outing, allowing 11 runs (six earned) in three-plus innings. The righty took his first loss of the campaign.
Ynfante (3-4, 2 R, 2 HR, 4 RBI) was the star of the Johnson City offense on Thursday, tying a season-best with three hits and a career-high with four runs batted in. The pair of long balls marked the first multi-homer game of his career.
Bandes (3-5, RBI, SO) continued his recent tear with a three-hit night, while SS Wood Myers (2-5, SO) collected yet another multi-hit performance.
The Cardinals will look to avoid the sweep on Friday, as RHP Johan Oviedo (1-1, 2.70 ERA) - St. Louis' No. 26 prospect according to MLBPipeline.com - expected to make the start. Bristol is slated to give the ball to RHP Travis MacGregor (1-1, 3.14 ERA) - Pittsburgh's No. 14 prospect according to the same publication - in Friday's contest.
The Cardinals 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 TVA Credit Union Ballpark. Friday evening's contest can be heard on NBCSportsTriCities.com, JCCardinals.com or via the TuneIn Radio and MiLB First Pitch apps.
Friday night's game will be a Scout and Outdoor Adventure Night presented by the Tennessee Highway Safety Office. Local boy and girl scout troops are able to purchase special ticket packages and camp out on the TVA Credit Union Ballpark field following the game. Fans are also encouraged to arrive early as the first 500 through the gates will receive a Fidget Spinner Giveaway courtesy of Hillview Health Center.
Single-game tickets are still available and can be purchased online at JCCardinals.com or by calling the Cardinals' Ticket Office at (423) 461-4866.
ABOUT THE JOHNSON CITY CARDINALS
The Johnson City Cardinals are the Rookie affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals. Members of the ten-team Appalachian League, Cardinals baseball has been entertaining families and fans of America's national pastime in the East Tennessee region for 80 years. To learn more about the Johnson City Cardinals, visit www.jccardinals.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.