Cardinals collapse in ninth inning against Royals

Douglas Fritz • Jul 16, 2018 at 9:48 PM

BURLINGTON, N.C. — Johnson City still hasn’t recovered from a recent skid.

One night after breaking a five-game losing streak, the Cardinals blew a three-run ninth-inning lead as Burlington’s Jose Marquez cranked a walk-off two-run blast over the right field fence for a 6-5 win for the lowly Royals.

The Appalachian League baseball decision dropped the Cardinals to 10-15 on the season while Burlington improved to just 6-21. However, the Royals took two of three games from the Cards.

The fateful ninth

Leading 5-2, the Cards sent Parker Kelly to the mound in search of the save.

After a leadoff walk and a double, Kelly regrouped to record back-to-back ground outs back to the box.

However, the wheels came off. Jeison Guzman doubled two runs home to make it 5-4, and Marquez followed with his big fly.

Striking first

Johnson City got things going with a leadoff double in the second inning from Kevin Woodall. Before the frame was over, Dariel Gomez recorded a sacrifice fly while Donivan Williams and Michael Perri added back-to-back doubles to make it 2-0.

In the third inning, Nolan Gorman doubled and scored on a sac fly from Carlos Soto Jr. to make it 3-1.

Insurance runs

Leading 3-2 in the top of the seventh, the Cards created a little distance as Soto Jr. punched a single to center field that plated two runs.

Big hitters

Brandon Riley and Williams each had strong nights at the dish for the Cardinals. Riley was 3 for 4 with a pair of doubles. Williams finished with the identical line. Soto Jr. totaled three RBIs.

For Burlington, Marquez had two hits as did Bret Bewley.

Mound success

Kyle Leahy shook off a tough outing in his last start against Elizabethton to work 5 2/3 innings. Leahy allowed six hits and two runs with two walks and five strikeouts.

Enrique Perez, Evan Sisk kept things scoreless until the ninth inning.

Next up

The Cardinals are off until Wednesday, when they open a three-game home set against the Bluefield Blue Jays.

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