WHITAKER BANK BALLPARK (Lexington, KY) - The Legends took the first game of the four-game series over the Greenville Drive in dramatic fashion 8-7 in the bottom of the ninth inning. Nate Eaton had a career-night at the plate with four doubles, going 4-5 with two runs and two RBI. Eric Cole recorded the walk off hit, going 3-5 with two runs and two RBI.
Brandon Howlett led off with a home run to right field in the top of the third inning and the Drive led, 1-0.
The Legends answered in the bottom of the fourth inning. Eric Cole led off with a double down the right field line then scored on an RBI single by Nick Hutchins and the game was tied, 1-1.
Cole then launched a solo homer to right field in the bottom of the sixth inning and the Legends took the lead for the first time, 2-1.
In the bottom of the seventh inning, Jose Caraballo led off with a single down the left field line then advanced to second on a wild pitch by Yoan Aybar. Rubendy Jaquez and Brhet Bewley then drew back-to-back walks to load the bases. Nate Eaton deposited his third double of the night, scoring two runs. Bewley then scored on a wild pitch extending Lexington's lead, 5-1. Reed Rohlman singled home Eaton and the Legends led, 6-1.
In the top of the eight inning, Cole Brannen and Everlouis Lozada reached on back-to-back walks to start off the inning, then they both advanced on a wild pitch. Brannen then scored on another wild pitch by Brandon Marklund, but Greenville still trailed 6-2 while Lozada moved to third. Devlin Granberg then grounded out to the first baseman, scoring Lozada and the Drive trailed 6-3.
Jeison Guzman blasted a moon-shot to right field in the bottom of the eighth inning, extending Lexington's lead, 7-3.
The Drive then tied the game in the top of the ninth inning. Dylan Hardy lined a one-out single to left field. Brannen then grounded a ball to the shortstop, Jeison Guzman who committed a fielding error and Greenville had two runners on. Lozada then singled to left field to load the bases. Kole Cottam then blasted a grand slam to right field, tying the game 7-7.
In the bottom of the ninth inning, Eaton led off with a double down the left field line, his fourth of the night and most in a single game in his career. Cole then hit the walk off single to left centerfield and the Legends won, 8-7.
Brandon Marklund was awarded the victory for the Legends pitching 2.0 innings allowing four runs (all unearned) on three hits while walking one and striking out three. Robbie Baker was given the loss tossing 1.2 innings allowing two runs on four hits while walking one and striking out three.
The Legends and Drive meet for game two tomorrow, June 21 at 7:05pm at Whitaker Bank Ballpark. RHP Charlie Neuweiler will be on the mound for Lexington to face Greenville's RHP Chris Machamer.
The Legends, a Class A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals and member of the South Atlantic League, play all home games at Whitaker Bank Ballpark in Lexington, Kentucky. For ticket information, call (859) 422-7867 or visit LexingtonLegends.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.