Ryan Mountcastle hit a solo homer with one out in the ninth inning to power the Tides past the Louisville Bats 8-7 Saturday night at Harbor Park.
With the score knotted at 7-7 in the final frame, Mountcastle connected on a 2-0 pitch from Jimmy Herget (0-3), driving an opposite field home run just over the right-center field wall for Norfolk's first walk-off home run of the season. It was the eighth home run of the year for the 22-year-old, who is rated as the #1 prospect in the Orioles system by MLB.com.
Mountcastle's heroics capped a topsy-turvy game in which both teams traded the lead over the final three frames. Norfolk took a 5-4 lead with four runs in the seventh, and both teams plated a pair of runs in the eighth inning to make it 7-6 headed to the ninth. The Bats pushed across a single run in the ninth inning off of Jimmy Yacabonis (1-0), but Mountcastle's round tripper in the bottom half of the inning snapped Norfolk's four-game losing skid.
Jesus Sucre and Anthony Santander each had two runs batted in, while Zach Vincej added two hits - including a go-ahead double with two outs in the eighth inning.
Norfolk starter Keegan Akin did not factor in the decision after yielding four runs on eight hits over five-plus innings of work. Akin, who allowed more than three earned runs in a game for the first time this season, walked one and struck out five but needed 94 pitches to get through his outing. He yielded a solo homer to Nick Longhi in the second frame before allowing a pair of runs in the third frame and another in the sixth.
With his five strikeouts, Akin now leads the International League with 65 punchouts this season. The 24-year-old left-hander owns a 4.02 ERA through 11 starts this season.
Longhi also connected for a two-run home run off of Matt Wotherspoon in the eighth inning that gave the Bats a 6-5 lead.
The Tides will wrap up their homestand on Sunday afternoon at Harbor Park, with first pitch set for 1:05. Luis Ortiz (1-5, 7.26) will get the start for Norfolk and be opposed by left-hander Eric Stout.
On Sunday, area First Responders and City of Virginia Beach employees can show their IDs at the Harbor Park box office to claim a free box or reserved seat ticket. Those tickets will be available for families as well, with the Harbor Park box office opening at 11:00 am on Sunday.
Notes: The announced attendance of 8,069 was a season-high…After opening the homestand going just 1-for-25 with runners in scoring position, the Tides went 4-for-6 with RISP in Saturday night's win…Anthony Santander's two-run single in the seventh inning gave him a hit in 10 of his last 11 games… Jesus Sucre is batting .302 with eight runs batted in…The Tides have hit 33 home runs at Harbor Park this year after hitting just 39 round trippers at home during the 2018 campaign.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.