ELIZABETHTON, Tenn.-The Elizabethton Twins rallied behind a four-run third inning to complete the series-sweep over the Kingsport Mets Friday night as the E-Twins held off a late K-Mets rally to win 6-4 in Game 3 from Joe O'Brien Field.
With the win, Elizabethton (26-22) moved four games over the .500 mark and 1.5 games in front of the Greeneville Astros for second-place in the Appalachian League West. The E-Twins now reside in the second playoff berth slot for the West and are only 1.5 games behind the Johnson City Cardinals who lead the division.
Kingsport (17-32), on the other hand, continue to fall in the standings after the squad wrapped up their seventh-losing series in their last eight tries. The K-Mets now sit 11.0 games back of the first-place Cardinals and 9.5 games south of the second-place E-Twins for the two playoff spots as the season enters its final phase.
Following two scoreless innings to begin the day, Elizabethton exploded for four runs off four hits to take a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning.
Caleb Hamilton's two-run double got the ball rolling as the drive scored both Luis Martinez and Ariel Montesino who singled consecutively to begin the frame. Two batters later, Amaurys Minier hit his team-leading eighth home run of the season to bring in Hamilton and to make the score 4-0 after three inning of play.
The four-run lead would last up until the top of the sixth frame when Kingsport finally broke through with runners in scoring position.
Walter Rasquin and Ricardo Cespedes singled to begin the frame and stood on first and second base with no outs. Jose Miguel Medina then stepped to the plate and doubled down the right field line. The hit drove in Rasquin easily from second base while an errant throw from Elizabethton's right fielder, Alex Kirilloff, sailed passed the third baseman to allow Cespedes to score all the way from first base, thanks to the error.
Yeffrey De Aza followed suit with an RBI single of his own to plate Medina for the third and final run of the inning for the K-Mets. Following the three-run top of the sixth inning, Kingsport's deficit was now only at one run as the squad trailed at 4-3.
Prior to the sixth inning, Kingsport had stranded five men on the base paths.
The E-Twins would gain a run back in the bottom of the frame as Kingsport starter Jake Simon (1-5) loaded the bases with nobody out. Jose Carlos Medina was then called out of the bullpen in an attempt to work out of the bases-loaded jam.
Bryant Hayman would greet Jose Carlos Medina into the ballgame by stepping aside on a wild pitch two pitches into the at-bat to allow Minier to score a run from third base. The pitcher would soon settle down to induce three-straight fly outs to end the frame while allowing only one of the inherited base runners to score.
Elizabethton again scored a run in the bottom of the eighth inning when Trent Johnson yielded two, two-out singles. The latter was a run-scoring hit by Andre Jernigan to double up the score on the K-Mets at 6-3 heading to the top of the ninth inning.
Following two quick strikeouts from Patrick McGuff, who was on to try and complete the six-out save for Elizabethton, Anthony Dimino sparked some two-out magic for Kingsport.
Down to his last strike with a 1-2 count, Dimino singled to left field to keep the game alive for a few minutes longer. Reed Gamache followed suit with another two-out single to put runners at first and second base for Jeremy Wolf.
On the first pitch from McGuff, Wolf lined a come-backer right off the left foot of the pitcher. The ball then bounced off to the left of the pitcher's mound causing everyone to be safe on the play-including Dimino who crossed home plate for the K-Mets' fourth run of the day.
With runners at first and second base, the go-ahead run, represented by Rasquin, stepped to the plate. The rally would stop there, however, as the designated-hitter grounded out to second base to end the contest with the 6-4 Elizabethton final.
Austin Tribby (4-0) picked up the win in relief after tossing three innings of three-run baseball. E-Twins' starter Sean Poppen only worked the first four innings of the contest and thus was not in line for the win following his four-hit, no-run effort. McGuff picked up his fourth save of the season after pitching the final two innings of the ballgame.
Simon was charged with the loss after exiting the game with the bases loaded in the bottom of the sixth inning. The southpaw's line read five innings-plus of five-hit baseball with five runs and four strikeouts. Simon tallied three-straight strikeouts to begin the contest and faced the minimum three times on the night, but a hazardous third and fifth inning cost the left-handed pitcher in the contest.
Hamilton finished the contest for Elizabethton with a 2-for-4 effort at the plate and two RBIs. The third baseman was the lone E-Twin on the night to tally multiple hits as the club tallied eight in the win. Minier's two-run home run drove in runs 22 and 23 for the first baseman on the season, while Jernigan also drove in a run during the win.
Kingsport hit the ball all night long by finishing with 13 on the night. However, the K-Mets were just 4-for-13 with runners in scoring position and left 10 men on the base paths during the loss.
Five players tallied multiple hits on the night for Kingsport while Wolf, Jose Miguel Medina and De Aza tallied the three RBIs for the squad during the loss.
The K-Mets will try and get back on the right side of the win column as the Greeneville Astros come into town Saturday night to begin a three-game series at Hunter Wright Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. while coverage on the Kingsport Mets Baseball Network will kick off at 6:45 p.m.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.