Great Eighth Gives 'Birds Eighth Straight
SALISBURY, MD - The Delmarva Shorebirds once again found a way to win it in their last at-bat, coming back to beat the Kannpolis Intimidators 6-4 and win their eighth straight game on Tuesday night at Arthur W. Perdue Stadium.
Down 3-2 in the bottom of the eighth, Robert Neustrom worked a one-out full-count walk. Jean Carlos Encarnacion followed with a single to left, and Ben Breazeale walked on four pitches to load the bases. Doran Turchin worked the count full and drew a free pass on the seventh pitch from Wilber Perez, forcing in Neustrom with the tying run. That brought up Will Robertson, who chipped one high in the air and fair down the right field line for a dying quail single, scoring Encarnacion to give the Shorebirds (10-1) a 4-3 lead.
Seamus Curran came up next and hit into a run-scoring fielder's choice, and Turchin scored on a wild pitch to push the lead to 6-3.
The Intimidators (4-7) still made the home side sweat it out in the ninth. Michael Hickman banged a double to right with one out, then with two outs Ian Dawkins swung and missed at strike three but went to first on a wild pitch. Steele Walker then rolled a weak grounder to the left side for an infield hit, scoring Hickman to make it 6-4. Tim Naughton brought an end to it there, though, fanning Lenyn Sosa to slam the door.
Tyler Joyner (3-0) earned the win in relief for the Shorebirds, tossing a scoreless eighth. One night after Andrew Perez suffered a defeat in relief, Wilber Perez (0-1) took the loss for the Intimidators after allowing all four eighth-inning runs in just a third of an inning. Naughton gave up a run but clinched his third save of the season with a rare four-strikeout inning.
Robertson gave Delmarva an early lead with a solo homer in the second inning, his second round-tripper of the homestand. In the third, Cadyn Grenier led off with a walk, stole second, took third on an error, and scored on a double play grounder, putting the Shorebirds up 2-0.
Kannapolis raced ahead in the top of the fourth. Evan Skoug and Gunnar Troutwine worked back-to-back leadoff walks against Shorebird starter Hector Guance, and Alex Destino singled to load the bases. After a strikeout, Hickman served a double into left, scoring a pair to tied it at 2-2. Ramon Beltre followed with an RBI groundout to second, and the Intimidators made the pass to go up 3-2.
Skoug made a bid to pad the lead in the fifth, belting a towering flyball to right, but Neustrom lept up and reached his glove over the fence to rob Skoug of the would-be solo homer. The defensive play of the homestand gave the Shorebirds some momentum that built in time for the four-run eighth.
Robertson finished his big day 3-for-4 with a double, homer, and two RBIs, including the go-ahead single in the eighth. He also made a sliding catch in left to rob Dawkins of a base hit in the fourth. Neustrom went 1-for-2 with a double, walk, run, and the home run robbery.
Hickman went 2-for-4 with two doubles, a run, and two RBIs to lead the Intimidators. Walked finished 2-for-4 with a double, RBI, and stolen base.
Delmarva starter Hector Guance only lasted four innings, surrendering three runs on three hits with three walks and four strikeouts. Matt Hammonds came in and shut down Kannapolis for three scoreless innings before handing the ball off to Joyner.
Jonathan Stiever turned in his best start of the year for the Intimidators in a no-decision, allowing two runs (one earned) on four hits in five innings.
With the win the Shorebirds are on their longest winning since taking eight straight against Rome, Augusta, and Rome again on July 17-25, 2017. The last time they won nine in a row was August 25 through September 2, 2016.
At 10-1 Delmarva has the best winning percentage (.909) in all of Minor League Baseball. Six of Delmarva's 11 games this season have been decided in the winning team's last at-bat, and the Shorebirds have won five of them.
The Shorebirds take aim for a ninth straight win and a perfect homestand on Wednesday morning against the Intimidators. Blaine Knight (1-0, 1.80) gets the early call for Delmarva against Kannapolis' Taylor Varnell (1-1, 2.45). First pitch is set for 10:35 a.m. with gates opening at 9:30. Wednesday is the first of three early morning Field of Dreams Games this season, presented by Chesapeake Health Care. It's also the season's first Silver Sluggers Game for fans 55 and over, presented by Peninsula Home Care. Pregame coverage on Fox Sports 960 AM and the MiLB First Pitch App beginning at 10:20 with Will DeBoer on the call.
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South Atlantic League Stories from April 16, 2019
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