ELIZABETHTON, Tenn.- The night looked to be heading into another offensive-friendly affair when the K-Mets began the contest with three-consecutive singles in the top of the first inning, however, Elizabethton settled down shortly after to take the series with a 5-2 Game 2 win Thursday night at Joe O'Brien Field.
The E-Twins (25-22) moved up to three games over the .500 mark on the season and into second-place in the Appalachian League West by game's end. Meanwhile, Kingsport (17-31) dropped to 14 games under the even mark and fell another game back in the standings to the leading Johnson City Cardinals in the West.
The K-Mets came right out of the gates firing on all cylinders in the top of inning No. 1. Ricardo Cespedes led off the frame with a single to center field and moved all the way to third base when Walter Rasquin followed with a single of his own a batter later.
With runners at the corners and no outs, Elizabethton starter Alex Schick (4-1) threw a ball away on a failed pickoff attempt of Rasquin on first base to bring in the contest's first run of the game represented by Cespedes at third base.
Rasquin then at second base, Jeremy Wolf drove a base hit to right field to again put runners at the corners with no outs. Jose Maria then came to the plate and popped out to the short stop, Ariel Montesino, in foul territory, passed the K-Mets' dugout down the shallow right field line.
Alertly, Rasquin attempted to tag up and score on the foul out as Montesino made the catch with his back turned to home plate. However, a strong throw from the short stop in foul territory down the shallow right field line nailed Rasquin at the plate to stop what would have been the second run of the inning for the K-Mets.
The double play built confidence back into Schick on the mound as the hurler finished off the frame by striking out Jose Miguel Medina.
After a promising start to the inning, Kingsport was only able to bring in one run off three hits while stranding a runner on the base paths to end the first go-around at the plate.
Mitchell Kranson then responded for Elizabethton in the bottom of the second inning by driving his second home run of the season over the right field wall. The long ball was a two-run shot as it also scored Shane Carrier who led off the frame with a single a batter before.
The E-Twins then held a 2-1 lead after two innings following the home run from Kranson.
The home team would tack on another three runs in the inning that followed as eight men made trips to the plate during the half inning.
Jordan Humphreys (1-5) began the frame by striking out Alex Kirlloff, but then followed suit by yielding back-to-back singles from Lewin Diaz and Carrier. A walk to Kranson a batter later loaded the bases with only one out in the frame.
With the bases juiced, Elizabethton's Trey Cabbage and Caleb Hamilton recorded consecutive run-scoring singles and an RBI fielder's choice from Robert Molina a batter later brought in a total of three runs in the frame.
After three innings of play, Elizabethton held a commanding lead of 5-1 over the K-Mets and were well in line to take the series in the first two games.
Zeros would span across the scoreboards for the five innings that followed until the top of the ninth inning when Kingsport's Franklin Correa grounded in Wolf for the second run of the contest for the K-Mets.
Hector Lujan was eventually called into the contest to slam the door shut on the attempted rally by Kingsport and did so by inducing two groundouts to end the game.
The final score was 5-2 in favor of Elizabethton as the home team out-hit the K-Mets 10-5 in the contest.
Though Humphreys was charged with yet another loss in the outing, the right-hander pitched well other than the five runs combined yielded in innings two and three. His final line read six innings of eight-hit baseball with five runs and six strikeouts. Humphreys retired the last 10 batters he faced on the night before giving way to Chris Holderman in the seventh inning.
Schick picked up his fourth win of the season after settling down following three-consecutive K-Mets' hits that began the contest. The righty finished the game pitching six innings of four-hit baseball, surrendering only one run and five strikeouts.
Of the five Kingsport hits on the night, Wolf tallied three of them. The hat trick saw three singles in the contest for the first baseman including one to left field, one to right field and one to center field. Cespedes and Rasquin tallied the other two hits on the night that came in the first inning of the contest.
Kranson finished the day for the E-Twins with a 1-for-3 effort at the plate including the go-ahead two-run home run in the bottom of the second inning. Manuel Guzman and Carrier tallied two hits in the win while Cabbage, Hamilton and Molina drove in runs in the third inning.
Kingsport will look to salvage the series by getting back on the winning track of things when the series concludes Friday night at 7 p.m. form Joe O'Brien Field. Coverage on the Kingsport Mets Baseball Network will begin at 6:45 p.m. with Eric Cain bringing you all of the action from behind the mic.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.