Savannah, Ga.- The Gnats led for the first seven innings, but the Asheville Tourists snuck up on the Gnats with a three-run eighth inning to steal a 3-2 win Tuesday night at Historic Grayson Stadium. The Gnats and Tourists, the top two teams in the Southern Division, have split the first two games of their three-game series.
Trailing 2-0, the Tourists (36-16/77-44) rallied for three runs in the top of the eighth inning. With two runners on, centerfielder Ramiel Tapia nailed a line drive to the left-centerfield gap to even the game at 2-2. After an infield hit and an intentional walk ended starter Rob Whalen's night, reliever Akeel Morris entered with the bases loaded and one out. Morris induced a soft tapper on the left side by Asheville first baseman Correlle Prime, but shortstop Yeixon Ruiz's only play was at third, which allowed Tapia to race home with the go-ahead run. Whalen was charged with his first loss in the South Atlantic League. He allowed three runs on eight hits and a walk in 7.1 innings while striking out six.
The Gnats (32-20/76-42) took a 2-0 lead with two runs in the second inning, with the help of three walks from Asheville starter Zach Jemiola. Shortstop Yeixon Ruiz brought home the first run with a sacrifice fly to right field and then centerfielder Champ Stuart blooped a single into left to plate the second run.
The Gnats send RHP Octavio Acosta (0-0, 1.80) to the hill in the rubber game of the three-game series Wednesday against RHP Antonio Senzatela (13-1, 3.37).
Fans can come out to support the Greenbriar Children's Center for another Pack the Park Wednesday.
First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 pm. Gates to Historic Grayson Stadium open at 6 pm. The radio pre-game show on News/Talk 630 WBMQ and online via TuneIn radio and sandgnats.com begins at 6:45 p.m.