LAWRENCEVILLE, GA - Josh Ockimey slammed a pair of solo home runs against left-handed pitchers, but the Gwinnett Stripers rallied for a pair of runs in the bottom of the ninth to stun the Pawtucket Red Sox, 5-4, in game two of the weekend series Saturday night at Coolray Field.
The game-winning run scored immediately after Ockimey caught a foul pop-up right by the entrance to the first-base dugout for the second out of the ninth inning. Ryan LaMarre, a baserunner standing on third base, noticed that Ockimey then lobbed a throw towards the infield without calling for timeout.
LaMarre promptly tagged and broke for the plate, and the PawSox could not get a throw to the catcher before he crossed home safely. It was not credited as a sacrifice fly for the batter Austin Riley, as the official scorer ruled that LaMarre scored "on the throw" by Ockimey back towards the middle of the diamond.
The PawSox held a 4-3 lead going into the ninth thanks in large to Ockimey's offense. The lefty homered off of the centerfield batter's eye in the second against Gwinnett starter Kolby Allard to put Pawtucket in front 2-0 - in the process collecting his first base hit against a southpaw this season.
Then with the score tied at 3 in the eighth, Ockimey went deep to left-center off of MLB-rehabbing lefty Jesse Biddle to give the PawSox the advantage. It was his team-leading eighth of the season and third in the two games of this series.
Lefty reliever Josh Taylor threw one pitch in the bottom of the eighth before heavy rains came and the contest was delayed 33 minutes. Taylor resumed on the hill after the stoppage and promptly recorded a 1-2-3 inning.
The PawSox put runners on second and third base with no outs in the top of the ninth, but Gwinnett's Jason Creasy (1-1) then struck out the side without allowing a run to keep the Pawtucket lead at just one run. Pawtucket left 12 men on base for the game.
Closer Jenrry Mejia (1-3) entered in the bottom of the ninth and promptly allowed hits to Jack Lopez and the pinch-hitting LaMarre to put runners on the corners. After a shallow fly out, Stripers shortstop Andres Blanco tied the game with an RBI single to right that also moved LaMarre to third and set the stage his unusual tag on Riley's foul out.
Pawtucket starter Matthew Kent, in his first appearance since joining the team from Portland this week, blanked the potent Stripers offense for the first five innings on only four base hits allowed. But after he walked Blanco to begin the sixth, Riley delivered his league-leading 14th home run of the year to tie the score at two and knock Kent from the game.
Gwinnett catcher Alex Jackson then homered two batters later against Trevor Kelley to give the Stripers a 3-2 advantage, but Mike Miller's RBI single in the seventh against Biddle tied the game again.
The PawSox will look to salvage a win in the three-game series and go for a .500 southern road trip on Sunday afternoon as first pitch is scheduled for 1:05 pm. Pawtucket right-hander Teddy Stankiewicz (1-1, 2.65 ERA) is scheduled to oppose Stripers righty Andres Santiago (1-2, 5.63). Radio coverage on WHJJ (920 AM and 104.7 FM) and throughout the PawSox Radio Network begins with the pre-game show at 12:35 p.m.
Following their six-game road trip, the PawSox return home May 14-19 (Tuesday-Sunday). Good tickets are available, and fans can visit the McCoy Stadium box office, which is open Monday-Friday from 10 a.m. through 5 p.m., and during all home games. Fans can also call (401) 724-7300 or log on to PawSox.com for tickets.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.