ASHEVILLE--The Asheville Tourists welcomed in the number one hitting team in the South Atlantic League on Saturday in the Hagerstown Suns. Asheville fell behind big early on and their come-from-behind effort fell short. Hagerstown escaped with a 9-5 win.
After both teams failed to do much damage in the first inning, the Suns scored three runs in the top of the second. Oliver Ortiz's two-run double with two outs was a back-breaker. Max George responded with a solo Home Run in the bottom of the second; however, Hagerstown blew the game open in the next frame.
Asheville's starting pitcher, Antonio Santos, found himself in a bases loaded two-out jam after committing a costly dropped catch error. The Suns proceeded to string together three straight hits that plated a total of five runs. Hagerstown led 8-1 after the rally.
In the bottom of the third, Willie Abreu hit an RBI double to centerfield that scored Colton Welker. Bryan Baker quieted the Suns offense with 4.1 scoreless innings out of Asheville's bullpen. In the eighth, the Tourists struck for three runs and even brought the go-ahead run to the plate with two outs. Suns' reliever Tommy Peterson notched a huge strikeout and Asheville left the bases loaded.
Hagerstown tacked on another run in the ninth on a Daniel Johnson Home Run. Once again the Tourists made things interesting. Asheville loaded the bases with one out but back-to-back strikeouts by Peterson ended the game.
A few notes on individual performances include: Welker becoming the first Tourists player in 2017 to record a four-hit game; Abreu and George each contributed multiple hits; and Santos' eight runs allowed is an Asheville Tourists season-high for an individual pitcher.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.