KINGSPORT, Tenn.--- Jeremy Wolf's solo home run in the bottom of the eighth inning proved to be the difference as the hit, along with Adrian Almeida's heroics in the ninth, downed the Bristol Pirates 3-2 in Game 1 of the season-ending series Tuesday night at Hunter Wright Stadium.
Ahead 2-0 heading into the eighth inning, Jose Carlos Medina (3-2) trotted out of the bullpen to pitch the top-half of the frame for the K-Mets. Following a leadoff single, Bristol's Victor Fernandez blasted his second home run of the season-a two-run shot-over the left field wall to tie the ballgame.
With one away in the bottom of the frame, Jeremy Wolf gave the lead right back to Kingsport with his team-leading fifth home run of the season. The solo blast was the first of the season for Wolf at Hunter Wright Stadium and gave the K-Mets a 3-2 lead heading to the top of the ninth inning.
After blowing the lead an inning prior, Jose Carlos Medina came back out on the mound trying to close the game once again. The Pirates would greet the left-hander with consecutive singles to begin the frame as Medina was chased in favor of Almeida with two on and no outs.
Daniel Cucjen came to the plate first following the pitching change and popped out on a failed bunt attempt all the way to Reed Gamache at third base for the first out of the inning. The very next pitch, Almeida induced a game-ending 4-6-3 double play ball off the bat of Yoel Gonzalez to preserve the one-run victory.
Almeida needed only two pitches to record three outs after coming on in the jam.
Kingsport's (25-41) win over Bristol (25-41) in Game 1 of the series Tuesday night was the fifth on the season as the K-Mets now hold a 5-2 season-advantage over the Pirates. The win also put the K-Mets into a tie for fourth-place in the Appalachian League West with the Pirates as Kingsport will need to a series-sweep to preserve the fourth slot in the standings at the end of the season.
Jake Simon took the mound for Kingsport on the night and pitched a solid game in what was the southpaw's final start of the season. The left-handed hurler tossed five innings of scoreless baseball while surrendering only two hits and striking out seven batters in the process.
The home squad finally gave their pitcher some runs to work with in the bottom of the third inning as the K-Mets plated two runs off four hits in the frame to take a 2-0 lead midway through the third.
Three consecutive singles from Yeffry De Aza, Walter Rasquin and Ricardo Cespedes began the threat as Bristol's starting pitcher, Ike Schlabach, had the bases loaded with no outs. A groundball 6-4-3 double play off the bat of Gamache put two outs on the scoreboard, however, De Aza was able to trot in from third base to score the first run of the ballgame.
A batter later, and with Rasquin now at third base, Jose Miguel Medina added another run on the board with an RBI single to right field.
The 2-0 Kingsport lead held true until the top of the eighth inning when Fernandez tied the ballgame with the two-run home run.
Jose Carlos Medina picked up the win in relief after initially blowing the save in the eighth inning. The left-hander tossed one inning-plus on the mound, surrendering two runs off four hits. Almeida was awarded his second save of the season after working out of the two-men on, no-out jam in the top of the ninth inning. Colin Holderman also tossed a pair of scoreless innings on the night as the right-hander was the first to relieve Simon after the five-inning shutout.
John Pomeroy (0-2) took home the loss for Bristol after surrendering the solo home run to Wolf in the bottom of the eighth inning of a tied ballgame. Schlabach tossed five innings of two-run baseball in the start while David Whitehead added two scoreless innings of relief during the loss.
Kingsport out-hit Bristol nine to six on the night and was led by Cespedes once again with a multi-hit day. The center fielder, who was a perfect 4-for-4 in Monday's win over the Danville Braves, tallied two singles during the win. Jose Miguel Medina drove in a run while Wolf's home run in the eighth proved to be the difference maker in the outcome of the game.
Fernandez finished the contest going 2-for-4 at the plate with a home run and two RBIs in the loss for Bristol.
Game 2 of the series will begin at 7:00 p.m. Wednesday night with Thursday's season-finale serving as Fan Appreciation Night. All fans will receive free admission into the game as the K-Mets are hoping to pack the house in the final game of the 2016 season.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.