Click here for recap of first 20 innings
SALISBURY, MD - Marten Gasparini belted a solo home run to lead off the top of the 21st inning and the Lexington Legends held off a late Delmarva Shorebirds rally to win 7-6 on Friday evening at Arthur W. Perdue Stadium. A second scheduled game for the night between the two teams was cancelled due to inclement weather.
On the fourth pitch he saw from Delmarva reliever Cody Dube, Gasparini clubbed a no-doubt line drive homer over the wall in right, his eighth blast of the year, to give the Legends (12-8, 46-43) their fourth lead of the game.
The Shorebirds (10-11, 39-50) threatened to flip the script in the bottom of the 21st. Jake Ring drilled a double to deep right center, missing a home run by a couple feet. Preston Palmeiro then drew a walk and Collin Woody took a pitch off the left bicep, loading the bases. With the tying and winning runs in scoring position, Milton Ramos grounded an 0-1 pitch to shortstop, where Angelo Castellano turned a double play with second baseman Gabriel Cancel and first baseman Joe Dudek, sealing the deal on Lexington's historic win.
Lance Tatum (3-1) earned the win with five scoreless innings out of the bullpen the night before. He surrendered two hits, walked one, and struck out eight. Dube (1-1) took the loss after allowing the Gasparini round-tripper. Jose Veras notched his fourth save of the year after sweating through the 21st.
The game ends as the longest in Delmarva Shorebirds history at 21 innings. Time-wise, it finished at 6:07, six minutes shy of a 6:13, 19-inning game against Piedmont on July 24, 2000. The first 20 innings took 5:51 on Thursday night going into Friday morning. The resumption took only 16 minutes. A total of 624 pitches were thrown to 171 batters.
It goes down as the minor leagues' longest game in 2017 so far, besting a 20-inning showdown between Boise and Eugene in the Northwest League on July 4. It's the longest a minor league game has gone since July 5, 2015, when Florida State League foes Lakeland and Dunedin went 21 frames. The game finishes one inning shy of tying the longest in South Atlantic League history. Lakewood beat Hagerstown 8-7 in 22 innings on May 7, 2006.
With Friday night's regularly scheduled game set for a 7:05 start, a violent storm made its way over the playing surface just before first pitch. Front office staff, as well as umpires Aaron Scorch and Jude Koury, rushed the tarp onto the infield in the knick of time. The game was cancelled about half an hour later. The Shorebirds and Legends ended up playing 30 innings - three more than three standard ballgames - over just two contests in the series.
Lexington does not come back to Delmarva this season, and the Shorebirds do not visit the Legends. Tickets for the cancelled game are good for any remaining 2017 home game at Perdue Stadium.
The Shorebirds now welcome the defending SAL champion Rome Braves to Salisbury for the first time since 2003. With his Friday night start rained out, Matthias Dietz (1-7, 5.06) is expected to start the Saturday night opener against the Braves' Ian Anderson (4-4, 3.72). First pitch is 7:05 p.m. with gates opening at 6:00. Saturday night features the ninth postgame fireworks show of the season, presented by Wor-Wic Community College. Pregame coverage on Fox Sports AM 960 and the MiLB First Pitch App begins at 6:50 p.m. with Will DeBoer on the call.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.