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Big innings, stout pitching send K-Mets past Royals

Kevin Mays • Aug 3, 2019 at 2:00 AM

KINGSPORT — The Kingsport Mets got two big innings at bat and solid pitching for all nine Friday to take the opener of their three-game Appalachian League series with the Burlington Royals.

The pitching trio of Junior Santos, Jefferson Escorcha and Nick MacDonald combined to throw a one-run six-hitter, while two-run home runs from Tanner Murphy and Cristopher Pujols and a three-run double from Brett Baty propelled Kingsport to a 9-1 win at Hunter Wright Stadium.

The start of the game was delayed about two hours because of rain.

POWER AT THE PLATE

Kingsport (19-23) demonstrated its power at the plate during the second and eighth innings.

View the photo gallery from the game

The K-Mets went up 3-0 in the second inning after Pujols led off the frame with a single up the middle. Pujols, who finished 2-for-3 with two RBIs, moved to third on a Wilfred Astudillo double before scoring on a wild pitch. One out later, Murphy’s shot over the left field fence put the K-Mets up 3-0.

Kingsport’s final inning at the plate was a big one. The K-Mets recorded six runs on six hits, scoring on Pujols’ two-run shot, Baty’s three-RBI double and a Cole Kleszcz double.

SOLID ON THE MOUND

Santos gave his best pitching performance of the season.

The right-hander from the Dominican Republic — who will celebrate his 18th birthday in a couple of weeks — gave himself an early present by allowing no runs on two hits with five strikeouts and two walks in three innings of work.

Escorcha (6-0), who leads the Appalachian League in wins, threw the next four innings and kept his record perfect despite giving up the Royals’ only run in the fourth.

Jake Means drew a one-out walk from Escorcha and went to second on a single from William Hancock. Burle Dixon then delivered a two-out single that scored Means.

Escorcha was solid the rest of the way, allowing one run on three hits with two strikeouts and two walks.

MacDonald tossed the final two innings, holding Burlington scoreless on one hit, striking out two and walking none.

THE NUMBERS

For Kingsport, Anthony Dirocie finished 2-for-5 with an RBI and Jaylen Palmer was 2-for-4, getting both of his hits in the eighth inning.

The K-Mets also got a 2-for-3, one-RBI performance from Astudillo.

Hancock and Michael Massey each went 2-for-4 for Burlington (24-19).

Royals starter Angel Zerpa (4-3) took the loss. Zerpa (4-3) worked four innings, giving up three runs on four hits with five strikeouts and two walks.

UP NEXT

The teams are slated to meet again Saturday at Hunter Wright for Game 2 of their three-game Appalachian League set.

First pitch is slated for 6:30 p.m.

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