KINGSPORT, Tenn.- A pitcher's duel Friday night ended with an 8-4 victory in convincing fashion for Bluefield as the Blue Jays completed the three-game sweep over the Kingsport Mets riding the hit-arm of Appalachian League Pitcher of the Year, Randy Pondler.
The southpaw, Pondler (4-1), finished the outing with the win after tossing six innings of two-run baseball off six hits with six strikeouts. Jose Nova and Jonathan Cheshire combined to pitch the final three innings for Bluefield (42-20) as Kingsport's (27-33) two-run eighth was not enough in the four-run loss.
Briam Campusano (0-2) pitched well in his Hunter Wright Stadium debut despite the loss. The righty allowed four runs off six hits over 6 1/3 innings on the bump with nine strikeouts and only one walk. Kingsport's newest pitcher became only the third starter all season long donning a K-Met uniform to strikeout nine batters in an outing.
Ryan Noda, the Appalachian League Player of the Year, Jesus Severino and Yormin Rodriguez tallied multi-hit days for the Jays in the win while Chavez Young and McGregory Contreras drove in two runs apiece. Bluefield finished the night scoring eight runs on 10 hits with one error defensively.
Kingsport, who plated four runs off nine hits with four errors in the field, saw Raphael Gladu, Oliver Pascual and Kevin Hall record two hits apiece while Angel Manzanarez and Hall drove in two runs.
The scoring began in the top of the third inning when Bluefield's Anthony Fuentes scored on a wild pitch from Campusano. Two batters later, Young drove in the second run via a sacrifice fly to deep center field. Trailing 20, Kingsport responded in the fourth with two runs of its own thanks to Hall's RBI single and his delayed steal of home two batters later.
The tie ballgame was broke in the top of the seventh when the visitors plated two more runs off a ground-rule double from Severino and an RBI single from Chavez. An inning later the eighth, Bluefield plated four unearned runs off only two hits as Kingsport committed three errors that allowed Rodriguez, Noda, Brandon Grudzielanek and Contreras to score.
Kingsport battled back by plating two more runs in the eighth inning off an RBI single from Manzanarez and a double play ball off the bat of Wagner Lagrange, but that was all the scoring on the night as the final score read in favor of the visitors, 8-4.
Kingsport will now hit the road for the final three-game series away from Hunter Wright Stadium on the 2017 season. The Mets will do battle with the Bristol Pirates beginning Saturday night at 7 p.m. Coverage of the series can be found on the Kingsport Mets Baseball Network beginning 15 minutes prior to first pitch.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.