KINGSPORT, Tenn.- Anthony Dirocie's seventh-inning grand slam powered Kingsport past Bristol Thursday night in Game 1 of a three-game series at Hunter Wright Stadium as the Mets came-from-behind to take down the Pirates 9-6.
The Mets (16-24) trailed by three runs entering the seventh inning before Victor Moscote doubled in a pair. Minutes later with the bases loaded, Dirocie drilled his ninth home run of the season in grand slam fashion to put the K-Mets up by three runs at 9-6.
The victory snapped a three-game losing streak for Kingsport while handing Bristol (9-32) its fourth-consecutive loss.
The Pirates plated four early runs in the second inning off three hits and two Kingsport errors. K-Mets starter Carlos Hernandez allowed a leadoff single and then walked the next batter to put runners at first and second with no outs before Johan De Jesus singled in the first run with an RBI up the middle.
Luis Benitez followed two batters later with an RBI double down the right field line while the other two runs came in off a wild pitch and a throwing error back to the plate from catcher Juan Urairte. After only an inning and a half, Bristol led by a score of 4-0.
The Mets answered in the bottom of the frame to cut the deficit in half at 4-2. Gavin Garay singled in his seventh run of the season with a line drive to left field to put the home team on the scoreboard first while Hansel Moreno followed three batters later with a sacrifice fly to deep left field that allowed Anthony Dirocie to cross home plate.
Bristol tallied another run in the third as Kyle Watson delivered an RBI single to center that drove in Melvin Jimenez from second base. The Buccos tallied three hits in the frame to plate the run as the lead was back up to three runs for the visitors through two innings and a half.
Kingsport got a run back in the bottom of the fourth off the second RBI of the day from Moreno. With runners at the corners and one out, Moreno squibbed a little dribbler up the first base line. The groundout brought in Grabiel Jimenez from third base, who singled to lead off the inning, as the Mets cut the deficit to two runs at 5-3 after four innings of play.
Jason Delay doubled with two outs in the sixth to drive in the sixth run of the day for Bristol and to double up the Mets in the process. The drive went all the way to the wall as Luis Benetiz came into score. Pirates then led the Mets 6-3 midway through six innings.
Trailing by three runs in the bottom of the seventh, Kingsport took the lead in a monster way as the club racked up six-straight runs before the first out was recorded in the frame. Moscote got the ball rolling with a two-run double off the left field wall before Dirocie towered a grand slam to take the lead two batters later.
Dirocie's ninth home run of the season was a moonshot over the wall in left field that scored Jeremy Vasquez, Moscote, Paulino and of course himself. It was the first hit of the day for the center fielder and one that put Kingsport out in front for the first time on the day.
Kingsport held on following the monster inning to complete the comeback for the final 9-6. Ryan Selmer (S, 2) tossed a scoreless eighth and ninth inning to preserve the three-run victory. Joe Cavallaro (2-1) picked up his second win of the season after pitching three innings of one-run baseball surrendering only three hits. Hernandez finished his start pitching only four innings of five-run (four earned) baseball with five strikeouts.
Danny Hernandez (0-2) took home the loss after not recording an out in the seventh inning. He walked three batters and gave up to its prior to leaving the game setting the table for Dirocie's home run. Starting pitcher Hunter Stratton lasted only 3 2/3 innings, surrendering three runs off two hits but with seven walks.
Dirocie was the hero on the night as his lone hit was the seventh inning grand slam. Moscote, who came on as a defensive replacement behind the plate in the fourth inning, finished the day with two hits and two RBIs off the bench while Moreno drove in a pair.
Game 2 of the series is set to begin Friday night at 6:30 pm from Hunter Wright Stadium. Ezequiel Zabaleta gets the call on the mound for the K-Mets as coverage of the game can be found on the Kingsport Mets Baseball Network beginning at 6:15 pm.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.