Leadoff hitter Trevor Story wanted to set the tone Tuesday for the Class A Tourists.
The Rockies' No. 2 prospect homered to spark a five-run first inning and scored four times as Asheville defeated Greensboro, 10-3, to even the best-of-5 South Atlantic League Finals at 1-1.
After dropping Game 1 on Monday, Story staked the Tourists to an early 1-0 lead with his homer to open the bottom of the first inning. Asheville went on to score four more times in the frame, capped by Ryan Casteel's two-RBI double.
"It was really great," Story said. "Coming after the loss last night, I was trying to set the tone."
Story finished with two hits and a walk. As a leadoff hitter, it's his job to pace the offense, and he was more than happy to do that.
"It was great," the Texas native said. "Runs are hard to come by in the playoffs, so it's always special to cross the plate that many times. I was just trying to get on base. We have great hitters and I wanted to get on base for them. Will [Swanner] came up big for us, some very important RBIs that really put them away."
Scoring early and often, as the Tourists did Tuesday, can provide a great boost to a club in the playoffs. Story tried to downplay the significance of the big opening frame, though.
"I'd say it's important but it's not too important, you can always score at any time," Story said. "I think scoring a lot early sent them a message that we're coming out to play."
Dan Winkler made the early run support stand up, fanning 12 while allowing five hits over seven shutout innings for Asheville.
"That was huge as well," Story said. "'Wink' has been great for all us year. He had his good stuff tonight. We couldn't have asked for more tonight, he was great."
Swanner, the Rockies' No. 9 prospect, contributed three RBIs and Taylor Featherston was 4-for-4 with three runs scored.