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Danville foils Elizabethton with two-run ninth

Gene Renfro • Jul 8, 2018 at 10:00 PM

ELIZABETHTON — The Elizabethton Twins had to rally again Sunday, but Danville had an answer as the road team took a 3-1 Appalachian League baseball decision at Joe O’Brien Field.

“We hung in there and competed for nine innings,” Elizabethton manager Ray Smith said. “We got guys on base and it is tough sometimes to get that clutch hit when you need to. They got that hit today when they needed to.”

DANVILLE CHOPS FIRST AND LAST

A game-opening double from Andrew Moritz got things started before a sacrifice bunt moved him up 90 more feet. Teammate C.J. Alexander Jr. laced an RBI single to put the visitors on the scoreboard.

The Twins saw their opponent score first for the 10th time this season. Elizabethton has a 5-5 mark when its opponent gets the first lead.

A set of three straight hits broke up a 1-1 game in the ninth inning. Griffin Benson singled deep in the hole on the right side of the infield. He was replaced by the speedy Nick Shumpert, who raced around to third on a single by Carlos Baerga Jr.

That turned the lineup over as Moritz sliced a two-run double into the left-center gap, breaking the tie.

Moritz was 3 for 5 in the game as his average climbed to .328. He has gone 10 for 15 in the last three games after an 0-for-10 slump the previous three contests.

Greg Cullen, Rusber Estrada and Benson all had two hits apiece as Danville posted 13 on the evening.

Zach Daniels closed things out for Danville on the mound. The Braves’ 19th-round pick this year improved to 2-1 with 2 1/3 innings of scoreless relief. He was tagged for a hit, issued a walk and struck out one.

Braves starter Jose Montilla struck out seven batters over six scoreless innings.

TWINS TIE THINGS

Trevor Casanova singled to open the seventh inning after the stretch. A pair of wild pitches from Nolan Kingham, making his professional debut, allowed the Twins’ designated hitter to get to third. Albee Weiss powered a deep sacrifice fly to straightaway center for the game-tying RBI.

Casanova had two of the Twins’ five hits in the contest.

“We didn’t roll over,” Smith said. “We got a couple of guys on in the bottom of the ninth. We had a chance if a guy goes deep last pitch we win. I think all the outs were tough at bats.”

Juan Gamez tossed the final two innings and took the loss. The third-year professional gave up the two runs on four hits and mixed in two strikeouts.

Elizabethton’s Austin Schulfer allowed a run in a 3 1/3-inning start from the rubber. Brian Rapp worked 3 2/3 innings of shutout middle relief.

OUTCOME AND NEXT OUTING

The Twins slipped to 9-8 on the season, tumbling out of a first-place tie with Kingsport in the West Division. Danville has an 10-8 mark with the outcome.

Elizabethton and Danville wrap up the season series with a 7 p.m. meeting Monday.

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