KINGSPORT, Tenn.- Following the best offensive night of the season Thursday in Bristol, Kingsport fell 3-1 a day later to the Appalachian West-leading Greeneville Astros as the visitors scored two unearned runs in the top of the ninth to escape Hunter Wright Stadium with the two-run win in the first of a four-game series.
The Mets have now dropped the first game of a series for the third time this season.
It did not take long for the Astros (11-4) to get on the board as Cody Bohanek and Gilberto Celestino doubled consecutively to put the victors up by a run early on. The inning could have been worse if Kingsport starter Christian James did not induce an inning-ending 3-6-1 double play to escape a two on, one out jam to end the first.
Kingsport (5-9) rebounded in the bottom of the second by taking advantage of a critical miscue from Greeneville. Following a leadoff double from Juan Uriarte, Astros starter Felipe Tejada settled down to corral two quick outs. But a fielding error by second baseman Joan Mauricio allowed Uriarte to score from third base as the inning should have come to a close.
Nonetheless, the game was knotted at 1-1 after the second inning of play.
The score then remained the same until the top of the ninth inning when the visitors plated two unearned runs off an error and a wild pitch to squeak passed the Mets 3-1 in Friday's opener to the four-game series.
With two gone in the top of the ninth and a runner on first base, Colton Shaver drilled a ball hard on the ground to the left side of the infield. K-Mets third baseman Rigoberto Terrazas laid out, full extension to his left to make a diving stop. However, the throw was hurried to the first base bag as it just tipped off the top of Gavin Garay's mitt and proceeded down the right field line towards foul territory.
The runner, Celestino, at first ran on contact and just came in ahead of a sliding tag from Kingsport's Uriarte behind the plate following a strong throw from right fielder Dionis Paulino. The throwing error allowed the go-ahead run to cross the plate as the Greeneville Astros led 2-1 with two gone in the ninth.
Two batters later, a wild pitch from K-Met bullpen hand Aaron Ford (0-1) allowed Shaver to cross the plate for a late insurance run.
Ford takes the loss on the night despite not yielding an earned run as the southpaw surrendered the two runs in on the ninth off of one hit and two walks. The former Tennessee Wesleyan baseball standout also struck out two batter sin the inning of work.
Francisco Villegas (2-0) took home the win following 3 1/3 inning of shutout baseball on the hill-allowing only two hits with three strikeouts on the night. The winning pitcher piggy backed off a solid start from Felipe Tejada as the right-hander tossed 5 2/3 innings of four hit baseball while allowing one unearned run with five punch outs.
James threw his second quality start of the season and was done after six innings of three-hit baseball with one run and five strikeouts. Josh Payne came on in relief in the seventh and pitched two frames without allowing a run while also tallying three strikeouts.
The two also combined to retire 15-consecutive Astros from innings 3-8 before Mauricio singled to third in the eighth inning.
A day after producing 17 runs off 19 hits, Kingsport was held in check for only one run off six hits in the defeat as Edgardo Fermin was the only Met to tally two hits on the night. Bohanek followed suit in the leadoff spot for the Astros with a two-hit day while Celestino's RBI put Greeneville up early.
Game 2 of the series is set for Saturday night at 6:30 p.m. with the Braeden's Barbeque Pregame Show airing on the Kingsport Mets Baseball Network at 6:15 p.m. Garrison Bryant will start his third game of the season for the Kingsport Mets.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.