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Ballers' Late-Inning Heroics Come up Short in 5-4 Loss

May 8, 2021 - Low-A East League (Low-A East) - Kannapolis Cannon Ballers News Release

KANNAPOLIS, N.C. - A.J. Gill blasted a three-run homer in the eighth to help the Cannon Ballers take the lead, but after a three-run top of the ninth inning, the Ballers dropped their fifth straight game on Saturday against the Down East Wood Ducks (5-0) 5-4 at Atrium Health Ballpark.

LHP Bailey Horn opened the evening on the mound for the Ballers. The former Auburn southpaw did not take long to settle in, allowing just one walk in four shutout, no-hit innings of work while also striking out three Wood Duck batters.

Yoelvin Silven entered in relief and picked up where Horn had left off. Silven's Kannapolis debut proved to be impressive, firing 3.1 innings, allowing two hits, two earned runs, and striking out five.

It took a while for scoring to occur, but the Wood Ducks opened the scoring in the top of the seventh inning when Keyber Rodriguez lined a two-run home run over the left field wall to bring in Cody Freeman, making it a 2-0 lead for Down East.

The Cannon Ballers (0-5) responded in stylistic fashion in the bottom of the eighth. Ivan Gonzalez reached on a fielder's choice with the bases loaded to allow Jose Rodriguez to cross the plate. The game was broken open when Gill stepped to the plate with two runners on base. The DIII product out of Aurora smacked a three-run shot into the left field berm to give Kannapolis a 4-2 lead.

Mistakes proved to be the name of the game in the top of the ninth for Kannapolis. After Dustin Harris singled and Freeman doubled off Tyson Messer (L, 0-1), K. Rodriguez grounded a ball to second baseman Bryan Ramos who threw home in an attempt to protect the plate. The errant throw from Ramos cost the Cannon Ballers the lead as Harris and Freeman subsequently scored, shifting the tides in favor of Down East 5-4.

Kannapolis had found themselves able to get the tying run to the plate three times in the bottom of the ninth, but Spencer Mraz (1-0) shut the door for the Wood Ducks to clinch the victory after a final strikeout of Ramos.

The Cannon Ballers conclude their Opening Week homestand on Sunday for the final matchup of six this week with the Down East Wood Ducks. First pitch is set for 12:30 p.m.

RHP Andrew Dalquist (0-0, 0.00) will make his 2nd start on the mound this year for Kannapolis to face Down East's RHP Mason Englert (0-0, 0.00) in the Mother's Day tilt. Limited tickets are available for Sunday's game and can be purchased at or in-person at the F&M Bank Box Office.

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