Williamsport , PA - The Mahoning Valley Scrappers overcame a late deficit with a four-run rally in the eighth inning for a 5-4 victory at the Crosscutters on Friday night at BB&T Ballpark.
Nate Fassnacht blasted his first career professional home run in the bottom of the seventh and Williamsport (26-39) appeared to be in good shape with a 4-1 lead. But an RBI double for Bryan Lavastida and RBI triple for Johnathan Rodriguez highlighted the Scrappers' big comeback against Alejandro Made (L, 1-4).
Herbert Iser was 2-for-3 with a run and Jake Holmes was 2-for-4 with an RBI. Relief pitcher Leonel Aponte was exceptional from the fourth through seventh firing four innings of one-hit shutout ball with three strikeouts as the Crosscutters preserved their 2-1 lead. Hsin-Chieh Lin started and allowed one run in three innings after surrendering three walks in the third.
The Crosscutters thought they had successfully thrown out Rodriguez at third to end the eighth inning but he was ruled safe prompting an argument from manager Pat Borders. The winning run scored on a tricky grounder off the bat of Jonathan Lopez that second baseman Nicolas Torres tried to backhand on the short-hop. But the ball bounced away for an error allowing the Scrappers to take the win.
Hsin-Chieh Lin got off to a good start in the game striking out the side in the first. But his control eluded him in the third inning with three walks that were sandwiched around an RBI hit for Rocchio as the visitors took a 1-0 lead.
The Crosscutters had a difficult time against the pitcher for Mahoning Valley (33-32), Carlos Vargas, the first time through the lineup as the talented Scrappers righty racked up six strikeouts in three frames. But Williamsport put together a number of strong at bats in the bottom of the fourth to break through and take the lead.
Johan Rojas singled to center and stole second base. He scored on a Jake Holmes single to right for a 1-1 tie. Bryson Stott walked and then Holmes was thrown out trying to steal third. But Stott scored from second on a single to right for Hunter Hearn putting the Cutters up 2-1. They kept that lead due to the fine pitching of Leonel Aponte.
The Crosscutters built on their lead in the seventh with a one out homer crushed to left for Fassnacht. His solo shot made it 3-1. Then Iser reached on a single into the shift on a grounder to right. Nicolas Torres walked and then the two advanced on a wild pitch with the catcher, Bryan Lavastida, sailing the throw into center bringing in Iser for a 4-1 lead.
But the Scrappers weren't finished and they came back with four in the eighth in the deciding rally. Rocchio reached on a dropped third strike and George Valera walked. Lavastida's double brought home Rocchio cutting the deficit to 4-2. Yainer Diaz hit a grounder to the left of shortstop Bryson Stott who made a sparkling defensive play for the second out but the ground out also brought in Valra with the team's third run. Rodriguez socked a gapper into left-center for the tying run and was ruled safe at third for a triple bringing about the heated discussion from Pat Borders. Ten it was the Jonathan Lopez tricky grounder that provided the go-ahead run for Mahoning Valley.
Jerson Ramirez recorded five outs against four batters for a save that included a strike-out-throw-out double play with Stott swinging on a hit-and-run and Kendall Simmons caught stealing at second base to end the eighth.
Williamsport (26-39) will conclude the series with Mahoning Valley on Saturday night with RHP Tyler Burch starting for the Crosscutters against Cleveland Indians first-rounder RHP Daniel Espino for Mahoning Valley.
- Just 10 scheduled games remain in the regular season including six at home.
- Williamsport is 16-12 in the second half of the season after going 10-27 in the first half.
- Mahoning Valley is 7-4 against the Crosscutters this season including 6-2 at BB&T Ballpark
- Nate Fassnacht has hits in 6 of his last 7 games. The only game without one was the no hitter on Thursday.
- Hunter Hearn has 9 RBI in his last 7 games.
- Jake Holmes is 5-for-11 in his last 3 games.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.