Late-inning blunders cost the Twins in both games. The offense was lacking in the first game and the bullpen failed them in an eight-inning nightcap.
The E-Twins (27-20) have seen their lead in the Appalachian League West division shrink after losing the latter two games of the weekend series to Bluefield (31-20).
GAME 1: BLUEFIELD 7, ELIZABETHTON 1
The Twins struck first by manufacturing their lone run in the first inning.
Jean Carlos Arias drew a walk to start the game for Elizabethton and moved to second on a Jared Akins single. Gilberto Celestino hit into a groundout near the first-base line and Elizabethton was in business with two runners in scoring position.
Chris Williams produced another grounder, but Arias scored on the play to give the Twins an early 1-0 lead.
The Blue Jays got four runs in the top of the sixth after being quiet on offense for the first five innings. Every run for Bluefield was unearned, as the Twins made two errors and gave up two walks. There was only one hit in the inning — a Cal Stevenson single. The Jays seized a 4-1 lead.
The Twins shot themselves in the foot again in the top of the seventh with an unearned run that reached on catcher’s interference. The Twins had five errors and two hits on the night. Five of the seven runs for Bluefield were unearned.
Stevenson totaled three hits and Gabriel Moreno had three RBIs for the Blue Jays, who got a five-inning start from winner Nathanael Perez (3-1).
Elizabethton mustered just two hits — one each from Akins and Gilberto Celestino.
GAME 2: BLUEFIELD 7, ELIZABETHTON 5 (8 innings)
Lean Marrero led off the game for Elizabethton with a solo home run to left field and the Twins’ dugout was sent into a pandemonium. Marrero is one of the smaller guys on the team and is not known for his power. It was his first homer since 2016.
The Twins again were up 1-0 after the opening frame.
Elizabethton added to its lead in the second, which started off well as three of the first four batters singled to load the bases.
Marrero drew a walk to bring home Alex Robles for a 2-0 advantage.
Bluefield rallied in the sixth inning to move in front. Gabriel Moreno doubled off the left-field wall with two runners on, scoring Rafael Lantigua from second.
Luis De Los Santos came up next and hit a sacrifice fly to left that plated Alejandro Kirk from third. Jose Theran singled two batters later, scoring Moreno from third.
D.J. Neal’s solo home run in the top of the seventh lifted the Jays to a 4-2 lead, but Elizabethton delivered bottom-of-the-seventh heroics as Marrero got a double to get the rally started. He scored on a Yunior Severino single to center.
Gilberto Celestino produced an RBI groundout to first as Severino dug deep for home to tie the game at four runs each.
Blair Lakso came in during the eighth and gave up three runs in the top half on a double and a triple.
Moreno finished 3 for 4 with two doubles, two runs and a pair of RBIs. Theran (triple, 2 RBIs) and Neal contributed two hits apiece to the victory.
The Twins totaled nine hits this time around, with Merrero going 3 for 3, scoring twice, knocking in two runs and drawing a walk from the top of the lineup. Ricky De La Torre doubled in a 2-for-4 effort.
Sean Rackoski improved to 6-2 with 1 2/3 innings of closing relief. He yielded two runs, but both were unearned.
Elizabethton starter Austin Schulfer pitched five shutout innings, posting four strikeouts.
The Twins will travel to Greeneville for a series with the Reds beginning Sunday. The first pitch at Pioneer Park is scheduled for 5 p.m.