Needing wins in almost every game in the last series of the season at Hagerstown, Zach Lewis (W, 6-5) and the Intimidators held off the Suns 6-3 Friday night at Municipal Stadium.
After a clean first inning for both Lewis and Tomas Alastre (L, 4-8), Michael Hickman and Johan Cruz both singled in the second inning off Alastre with two outs, bringing up Ramon Beltre. During Beltre's at-bat, catcher Alex Dunlap allowed a passed ball, sending Hickman and Cruz up 90 feet. Later in Beltre's at-bat, on an 0-2 pitch, Beltre singled on a line drive to left field, scoring both runners to give the I's and Lewis a two-run cushion.
With Lewis picking up two strikeouts in the second and then a pair in the fourth inning, proving to be four of his seven strikeouts on the night, Kannapolis provided Lewis with more support in the fifth frame with four hits. After a couple defensive switches for Hagerstown, Beltre doubled into left field, followed by a wild pitch, sending Beltre to third. With a 2-2 pitch on Evan Skoug, the I's catcher smacked a single up the middle, scoring Beltre to give the Intimidators their third run. One batter later, Kannapolis' home run leader cranked his 18th of the season to right-center field, increasing the lead for the Intimidators, 5-0.
In his last inning of work, Lewis walked three Hagerstown batters, with Cole Freeman singling in Phil Caulfield to bring in the first run for the Suns, down 5-1. In the fifth inning, Lewis recorded his sixth and seventh strikeouts, ending his outing scattering five Hagerstown hits.
In the seventh, Kannapolis added on an insurance run after a Frost double and a sacrifice fly off the bat of Luis Curbelo, giving the I's a 6-1 advantage after seven innings.
Despite Luis Ledo allowing Hagerstown to score two runs in the ninth inning to cut the lead in half, 6-3, Kannapolis picks up a much-needed win on the road.
The Intimidators (72-62) and Suns (51-79) will face off in game two of the four-game series at 6:05 p.m. at Municipal Stadium with RHP Matt Portland making his first start of the season after being promoted from Great Falls.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.