Syracuse, NY (April 12, 2018) - The Syracuse Chiefs opened the 2018 home slate at NBT Bank Stadium with a drama-filled evening on Thursday and walked-off against the Norfolk Tides, 9-8. During a game featuring four ties and and two lead changes, Adrian Sanchez racked up four hits, including the game-winning single in the bottom of the tenth inning.
Syracuse (5-2) forced extra innings by tying the game in the bottom of the ninth inning after trailing, 8-7, entering the frame. Chris Dominguez led off the half inning with a triple to the wall in right-center field. Alejandro De Aza followed with a base hit to right field, scoring Dominguez and knotting the score, 8-8.
With new extra inning rules in effect across minor league baseball, the top of the tenth inning began with a runner on second base for Norfolk. The new rule is intended to help speed up the game and prevent games from going many extra innings. Syracuse prevented that runner from scoring by inducing two fly outs and a groundout.
In the bottom of the tenth inning, the Chiefs started with Rafael Bautista on second base. Alex Dunlap laid a perfect bunt down the third base line for a single that moved Bautista to third. Sanchez followed with a single to left field that scored Bautista and gave Syracuse the 9-8 victory.
The Chiefs started the evening by striking with power in the bottom of the first inning off Norfolk starting pitcher Asher Wojciechowski. With two outs, José Marmolejos pulled a pitch down the right-field line and over the wall in right field to give the Chiefs a 1-0 lead. Dominguez followed by hammering a pitch towards the scoreboard in left-center field for a 430-foot home run to put Syracuse up, 2-0.
Norfolk (3-3) responded with three runs in the top of the second inning against Syracuse starter Tommy Milone. Austin Wynns worked a walk, DJ Stewart singled, and Luis Sardiñas reached on an error to load the bases with no outs. Wynns scored on a Jaycob Brugman sacrifice fly to right field to cut the Chiefs' lead to 2-1. Stewart scored to tie the game, 2-2, on an Anderson Feliz single to right field. Sardiñas then scored on a ground out to shortstop by Joey Rickard that gave the Tides a 3-2 advantage.
The Tides extended their lead in the top of the third. With two outs, Wynns and Stewart singled to put runners on first and second. Sardiñas followed with a double to the center-field wall, scoring both runners for a 5-2 Norfolk edge.
Syracuse came right back to tie the game in the bottom of the third. With one out, Sanchez doubled, Marmolejos worked a walk, and Dominguez also walked to load the bases. De Aza hit a sac fly to left field to score Sanchez and trim the Norfolk advantage to 5-3. Spencer Kieboom tied the game, 5-5, with a double that brought home Marmolejos and Dominguez.
The Chiefs and Tides mimicked each other over the next four innings. Neither team scored for three innings, and then both teams scored two runs in the seventh. Norfolk scored their seventh-inning runs when Wynns hit a two-run single to put the Tides in front, 7-5. Syracuse's two runs came from ground balls. Dominguez brought home Sanchez with an RBI groundout to make it a 7-6 ballgame. Two batters later, Marmolejos scored when Kieboom grounded into a fielder's choice to knot the game up, 7-7.
Norfolk retook the lead in the eighth. With the bases loaded and one outs, Garabez Rosa hit a slow roller towards third that resulted in a ground out but brought a run home for an 8-7 advantage.
The Chiefs and Tides continue their four-game series on Friday afternoon. RHP Erick Fedde will be on the mound for Syracuse. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.