KANNAPOLIS, N.C. - The Kannapolis Intimidators (7-5, 35-45) were in a pitcher's duel all Monday night with the Rome Braves (7-5, 37-44), but were disciplined at the plate when it mattered most and drew a game-winning walk in the eighth for a 1-0 win.
Taylor Varnell, Kannapolis' starter, got himself into some trouble in the top of the first. Three of the first four batters loaded the bases after two walks and a hit batter, but Varnell worked himself out of it by getting Ricardo Rodriguez to ground into a double play.
Both sides were getting a lot of hard-hit balls, but not many were able to find holes with guys in scoring position.
After the top of the sixth, Varnell's impressive day came to an end. He threw six scoreless innings while giving up just four hits, striking out seven batters, and walking two. Varnell has now recorded six or more strikeouts in 10 of his 14 starts this season.
In the bottom of the sixth, Kannapolis had perhaps their best chance to score yet. With Ian Dawkins on second base, Alex Destino singled to left field and Dawkins was waved around third to score, but a perfect throw from Jeremy Fernandez cut him down before he crossed the plate.
Lane Ramsey came in for the seventh and eighth innings and threw two hitless innings while striking out two as well.
In the bottom of the eighth, the Intimidators finally broke through. Ramon Beltre started off the inning with a single. Later in the inning, Alex Destino, Bryce Bush, and Romy Gonzalez walked on back-to-back-to-back at-bats, allowing Beltre to walk home with the bases loaded and give Kannapolis the 1-0 lead.
Austin Conway came in for the save opportunity in the top of the ninth. Rome loaded the bases with one out in the ninth before Conway struck out the next batter to bring the Braves down to their final out. On a 3-2 count, Conway struck out Brendan Venter to give Kannapolis the 1-0 win.
Kannapolis will continue their home series with Rome Tuesday Night at 7:00 p.m. and have Jason Bilous (2-5, 2.63 ERA) starting on the bump.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.