GREENEVILLE, Tenn. -- With two outs and tied at three in the seventh, 2B Jonathan Willems launched a ball that managed to stay fair down the left-field line for a go-ahead solo home run, as the Greeneville Reds squeaked by the Burlington Royals, 5-3, on Monday night in front of 1,035 fans at
GREENEVILLE, Tenn. -- With two outs and tied at three in the seventh, 2B Jonathan Willems launched a ball that managed to stay fair down the left-field line for a go-ahead solo home run, as the Greeneville Reds squeaked by the Burlington Royals, 5-3, on Monday night in front of 1,035 fans at Pioneer Park.
Greeneville's victory gave the franchise their first three-series winning streak since they took three series in-a-row from July 25-August 2, 2016. With the win, the Reds improved their overall record to 13-18, while Burlington fell to 9-23 with the loss.
In a back-and-forth affair, the Reds had no one on and two outs in the bottom of the seventh. On a 1-0 count, Willems (2-4, R, HR, RBI, SO) lofted a towering drive to left. The shot hooked around the pole and landed just beyond the 331-foot marker for a solo home run. The long ball - his fourth of the year - put Greeneville back in front, 4-3.
After RHP Connor Bennett (1.1 IP, 3 SO) struck out a man with the tying- and go-ahead runs on base in the top of the eighth, the Redlegs added a key insurance run in the bottom of the frame. LF Nate Scantlin (1-3, 2 R, BB, SO) reached on an infield single and proceeded to steal second. Following a walk to 1B Justin Bellinger (1-2, 2B, 2 RBI, 2 BB), 3B Claudio Finol (2-4, R, 2B, RBI, 2 SO) slapped a run-scoring single to left to extend the lead to two, 5-3.
Bennett came back on in the top of the ninth and retired all three men he faced - striking out a pair - to seal the win and his second save of the season.
Scoreless through one-and-a-half, the Reds got on the board in the bottom of the second. With the bases empty and two down, Scantlin drew a free pass and Bellinger scorched the next offering into the right-center-field gap. The 19-year-old scored easily from first to give Greeneville and early 1-0 edge.
Burlington bounced back to take the lead in the top of the fifth. LF Colby Schultz (1-3, R, 3B) tripled and SS Rafael Romero (1-4, R, 2B, 2 RBI, SO) doubled to even it up at one. RF Eric Cole (1-4, RBI, SO) proceeded to slap a run-scoring single to left to put the Royals ahead for the first time, 2-1.
The Reds would tie it up in the bottom of the frame and take the lead again in the sixth. A two-out bloop double by Finol in the fifth gave CF Mike Siani (3-5, 3B, RBI) an opportunity and he delivered. The 19-year-old banged a triple off the wall in right to drive in a tally, drawing the game even at two. An inning later, the G-Reds loaded the bases on a single by C Hunter Oliver (1-4, R) and back-to-back walks. Bellinger drew the third free pass of the inning - that time with the bases loaded - to force home the go-ahead run and put Greeneville up, 3-2.
The Royals would tie it briefly in the top of the seventh. 3B Brhet Bewley (1-4, R, 2B, SO) led off the inning with a double and scooted to third on a sacrifice bunt. A groundout to second by Romero brought him in to knot it up at three apiece.
Both starters were very effective but received no-decisions. RHP Miguel Medrano (6.0 IP, 6 H, 2 R, 2 ER, SO) hurled his longest start of the year, issuing just two runs over six innings for Greeneville. RHP Elvis Luciano (5.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, BB, 6 SO) punched out six over five frames for Burlington.
Despite suffering a blown save, RHP Johnnie Schneider (1.2 IP, 3 H, R, ER, BB, SO) earned his second of the season in relief for the Reds. Control issues plagued RHP Ismael Maldonado (2.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 3 BB, 3 SO), as the 22-year-old suffered his first defeat of the campaign.
Greeneville will hit the road on Tuesday to open up a three-game series against the Princeton Rays. RHP Lyon Richardson (0-2, 5.56 ERA) is expected to mark the start for the Redlegs, while the Rays are projected to counter with RHP Joe Peguero (0-1, 10.64 ERA).
The G-Reds Pre-Game Show will kick off the broadcast at 6:45 p.m. ET, leading up to the 7:00 p.m. ET start at Hunnicutt Field. Tuesday night's contest can be heard on GreenevilleReds.com or via the TuneIn Radio and MiLB First Pitch apps.
Following the brief road trip, the Reds will return home on Friday, July 27 to open up a three-contest set against the Pulaski Yankees. It will be a Firework Friday at Pioneer Park, as following the final out fans will be treated to a spectacular fireworks display.
Season and single-game tickets are still available and can be purchased online at GreenevilleReds.com or by calling the Reds' Ticket Office at (423) 609-7400.