(Reading, PA) - In one of the biggest games of the 2019 season, it was fitting that Adonis Medina was matched up against Erie's Casey Mize . Both starters are their respective organizations top pitching prospects, in addition to being on the 40-man rosters. Unfortunately, Mize's sudden exit in the third inning with an unspecified injury loomed large, as did an hour and 42 minute rain delay at the outset. But in the end, Medina became the first R-Phils starter to work into the eighth inning, and won his fifth straight start 3-2 to give Reading the final game of the series before a big weekend showdown in Harrisburg with four games left in the first half.
When Medina threw first pitch shortly before 9:00, it was evident both lineups were looking to attack early in the count. He retired the first six batters he faced and produced three strikeouts before Erie got a pair of singles in the top of the third. Henri Lartigue's wonderful season throwing out baserunners continued, and he nabbed Sergio Alcantara at second to get Medina through the inning having faced just one over the minimum.
With one out in the third, Mize exited after throwing just one pitch to Lartigue, meaning the SeaWolves bullpen had a long night ahead of them after Mize had allowed just one base hit on a lined single to left from Austin Listi . The Fightins then failed to score with the bases loaded and two outs in the fourth inning, but finally broke the scoreless tie in the fifth against Nolan Blackwood .
A two-out rally started when Mickey Moniak singled into right and Josh Stephen followed with a base hit of his own. On a 1-2 pitch, Darick Hall directed a groundball into the shift on the right side, and lucked out when Alcantara cut across and threw wide of first for a huge error and the game's first run.
In the sixth, Erie's Zac Houston walked Grenny Cumana to start the inning before Cornelius Randolph sent a single back up the middle to put runners at the corners with no outs. Luke Williams' groundout made it 2-0, and after Jose Gomez singled, Lartigue legged out a fielder's choice groundout for his 13th run batted in and a 3-0 advantage.
Medina barely labored, and at one point retired 11 in a row before plunking right fielder Jose Azocar with one out in the seventh inning. Frank Schwindel followed with a grounder that was thrown down the right field line by Gomez at short, which prompted Azocar to get the wave around third. Cumana backed up the play from right field, and made a perfect throw to the plate for a huge second out before Medina fielded a grounder from Kade Scivicque to retire the side.
The righthander started the eighth inning with a walk to Josh Lester , but bounced back with a fielder's choice groundout from Alcantara for the first out. The night ended for Medina (5-2) on an RBI triple from Cam Gibson that was pounded into the right field corner and cut the R-Phils lead to 3-1. At that point, Garrett Cleavinger induced a sacrifice fly from A.J. Simcox and ended the inning with a strikeout of Derek Hill to keep the lead at 3-2.
Addison Russ navigated through the ninth, getting the first two outs before Schwindel singled and Scivicque snuck a double down the left field line. In one of the biggest spots of the season, Russ locked up his eighth save with a strikeout of Lester, preserving the 3-2 victory. Randolph finished with three of Reading's eight base hits, adding his second triple with one out in the eighth inning off Ethan DeCaster .
America's Classic Ballpark is proud to be a part of Pennsylvania's Americana Region. Season tickets for the 2019 season are available online at Fightins.com, by phone at 610-370-BALL, and in-person at the Weidenhammer Ticket Office at FirstEnergy Stadium. Follow the Fightin Phils on Twitter at @ReadingFightins, Instagram at @fightins, and like them on Facebook via www.facebook.com/fightins.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.