'Birds Stun Asheville with Five-Run Rally
ASHEVILLE, NC - The Delmarva Shorebirds kept their never-say-die attitude front and center, erasing a late four-run deficit to stun the Asheville Tourists 10-9 on Sunday afternoon at McCormick Field.
Down 9-5 in the top of the eighth, the Shorebirds (23-4) kept their patience against 20-year-old Tourists (10-19) reliever Raymells Rosa, who made his U.S pitching debut. Seamus Curran greeted Rosa with a laser double off the wall straight down the right field line for a double. Cadyn Grenier and Jean Carlos Encarnacion worked back-to-back walks to load the bases, and Curran scored on a wild pitch to make it 9-6. Ben Breazeale followed with an RBI base knock to score Grenier, and Encarnacion scored on another wild pitch to cut it to one. Breazeale took third on yet another wild pitch, and after a strikeout and pitching change, Robbie Thorburn chipped a double into left, out of reach of a diving Will Golsan, scoring Breazeale to tie the game at 9-9.
With two out in the top of the ninth, Grenier chopped one to short and legged out an infield single. Encarnacion followed with a sky-high flyball to right that banged halfway up the park's 36-foot wall. Hustling on contact, Grenier raced around and slid into the plate just ahead of the relay throw. Encarnacion's double made it five unanswered for the Shorebirds, who went up 10-9.
The Tourists had a rally in the making in the bottom of the ninth as Willie MacIver blooped a single to left center. With a 3-2 to John Cresto, MacIver broke for second, but on a day when Asheville stole a mind-boggling eight bases, Matson was ready for him, firing to Curran at first who threw to Adam Hall at second for the pickoff. Cresto struck out looking on the next pitch, and Daniel Montano fanned on a letter-high fastball to end it.
Matson (2-0) held steady for the win, tossing three scoreless innings and allowing three hits with no walks and three strikeouts. PJ Poulin (1-1) was dealt a blown save after giving up Thorburn's tying double and took the loss after the winning run scored on his charge.
The back-and-forth scoring affair began almost instantly as Thorburn was hit on the game's second pitch. Two batters later Nick Horvath raced out an infield single. Doran Turchin then doubled to left center to score Thorburn, and Horvath scored when Kyle Datres at second dropped the throw from the outfield, making it 2-0 Delmarva.
Datres got his revenge in the bottom of the second, notching a two-out RBI double to score Cresto. The Shorebirds countered in the third as Horvath went yard for the second time in the series, a two-run shot over the 42-foot wall in right center to push the lead to 4-1.
Asheville got one back in the home third thanks to some sloppy Delmarva fielding. Luke Morgan reached on a leadoff error at third, stole second, and then broke for third. Breazeale's throw sailed into left field, and Morgan trotted home after the steal-and-error to make it 4-2 Shorebirds.
The Tourists' big break came in the bottom of the fourth. Coco Montes reached with a one-out single, then Datres doubled him over to third. Golsan walked to load the bases, and Terrin Vavra hit a sac fly to left to get Montes home. Morgan followed with a double, scoring both men on base to put the Tourists up 5-4. Morgan then tried to steal third again with the same results, as Breazeale's throw sailed on him and Morgan scored, making it 6-4.
Horvath continued his personal assult on Asheville pitching with an RBI double in the fifth to cut the deficit to 6-5. Asheville waited until the seventh before reactivating their bats. Grant Lavigne walked to lead off, then back-to-back doubles by MacIver and Cresto plated a pair. After a pitching change and a strikeout, Montes singled home Cresto to put the Tourists up 9-5, setting the stage for Delmarva's manic comeback.
Horvath finished a triple shy of the cycle in his third straight multi-hit game, scoring twice and driving in three runs. Thorburn clocked in his fifth consecutive multi-hit game, going 2-for-3 with two runs and the game-tying RBI double. Grenier finished 1-for-2 with three walks and two runs, including the game-winner in the ninth.
Morgan was a one-man wrecking crew at the plate and on the basepaths for the Tourists, going 3-for-5 with two doubles, two RBIs, two runs scored, and three stolen bases. Datres also doubled twice, going 3-for-4 with a run, RBI, and stolen base. MacIver and Cresto each had a double, two hits, and an RBI.
Delmarva's Nick Vespi battled through a four-inning start, allowing six runs (four earned) on six hits with one walk and two strikeouts. Asheville starter Alfredo Garcia was in line to win before his bullpen's eighth-inning collapse, giving up five runs (four earned) on five hits in five innings with two walks and six strikeouts.
The win makes the Shorebirds 9-1 in one-run games this season. Delmarva is now 5-2 when trailing after the sixth inning and 4-2 when down after seven. During their six-game winning streak, the Shorebirds have won all six by three runs or fewer, echoing their 10-game winning streak last month when they won the first nine by three or fewer.
With Hickory's game in Kannapolis rained out, Delmarva holds a 3.5-game lead in the SAL Northern Division, their largest lead of the season.
Delmarva is now 6-0 against Asheville this season and has won 10 in a row against the Tourists dating back to the opening series of 2018, when they swept four at Perdue Stadium. One more win gives the Shorebirds their first perfect road trip of two series or more since July 19-25 when they took three straight in Augusta and four in Rome.
The Shorebirds go for the perfect week in Monday morning's finale against the Tourists. Ofelky Peralta (1-0, 0.89) is on the bump for Delmarva against Asheville's Ryan Feltner (1-2, 5.64). First pitch is set for 10:35 a.m., and pregame coverage on Fox Sports 960 AM and the MiLB First Pitch App begins at 10:20 with Will DeBoer on the call.
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South Atlantic League Stories from May 5, 2019
- 'Birds Stun Asheville with Five-Run Rally - Delmarva Shorebirds
- Charleston Holds off Greenville, 4-3, on Sunday - Greenville Drive
- RiverDogs Overcome Shaky Start to Take Down Drive - Charleston RiverDogs
- Asheville Lets One Slip Through Their Grasp - Asheville Tourists
- Nevarez Goes Yard in 8-2 Loss - West Virginia Power
- Giarratano Gives GreenJackets Walk-Off Win - Augusta GreenJackets
- Holderman Picks up Win in Return to Mound - Columbia Fireflies
- Suns Walked-Off on for Third Time in 2019 - Hagerstown Suns
- Braves and BlueClaws Rained Out on Sunday - Rome Braves
- Hagerstown Suns Game Notes - Hagerstown Suns
- Game Notes (May 5) - West Virginia Power
- Five-Run Third Too Much for Power in 6-3 Loss - West Virginia Power
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