Behind 16 hits and allowing just five Hagerstown hits, the Intimidators cruised by the Suns in a crucial win in game two of the final series of the season, 11-4, at Municipal Stadium Saturday night.
In the second inning, Tate Blackman reached on a throwing error by shortstop Paul Panaccione, moving to third one batter later with a single from Michael Hickman, bringing up Carlos Perez with one out. On the second pitch of Perez's at-bat, the Intimidators catcher smacked a shallow sacrifice fly to second baseman Cole Freeman, as Blackman got a good read, scrambling home for the game's first run.
After a 4-6-3 double play off the bat of Luis Curbelo in the top of the third, Matt Portland (W, 1-0), making his first start, walked three-straight batters, leading to Freeman grand slam, giving the Suns a three-run lead, 4-1.
Trying to respond to a four-spot in the third inning by Hagerstown, Steele Walker led off the top of the fourth for Kannapolis with a single to right field, followed by a Craig Dedelow and a Tate Blackman single to left to load the bases for Hickman. Batting over .400 the past five games, Hickman singled to left field after a six-pitch at-bat, bringing in Walker and Dedelow to cut the lead to one, 4-3.
After a single for Perez and a force out off the bat of Johan Cruz that got Blackman thrown out at the plate, Ramon Beltre singled on the first pitch from Sam Held (5-8), bringing in Hickman and Perez to help the I's regain the lead, 5-4. Next up, Tyler Frost doubled on a fly ball to center field, bringing in Cruz for Kannapolis' sixth run. To cap off the scoring in the fourth, Curbelo hit in Beltre from third base to help give the Intimidators a 6-4 advantage.
With both arms tossing a clean fifth inning, the Intimidators added on another run in the top of the sixth, as Frost singled on a line drive to right fielder Kameron Esthay, helping the I's double the score, 8-4.
In the eighth, Perez led off the inning with his 18th double of the season to left field, as Johan Cruz and Perez switched places, increasing the Kannapolis lead to five, 9-4. After Frost reached on a fielder's choice and moved to second base on a wild pitch, a pitch that allowed Cruz to score, Curbelo singled in Frost with an infield single to third baseman Anderson Franco, bringing across the Intimidators last run of the ball game, up 11-4.
Kannapolis will stay in Hagerstown for game three of the final series of the season with a 2:05 p.m. first pitch on Sunday.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.