Gulls Win on 11th-Inning Walk-Off Grand Slam
NEWPORT, R.I. - Locked in a 1-1 contest in the 11th inning on Friday night at Cardines Field, Newport Gulls outfielder Stephen Scott came to the plate with an opportunity to win the game against the New Bedford Bay Sox. He had been there before.
In the bottom of the ninth, Scott was locked in a nine-pitch at-bat with the winning run at third and two outs, but Brandon Schlimm won the battle, striking Scott out swinging. When Scott came to the plate in the 11th, he again battled Schlimm - but the seventh pitch of the at-bat this time was blasted over the right-field wall, breaking the 1-1 tie and giving the Gulls a 5-1 victory over the Bay Sox, their fourth straight win.
An early pitchers' duel between Gulls lefty Andrew Summerville and Bay Sox southpaw John Sostarich was only marred by a fourth-inning error, which scored the Gulls lone run in regulation. After working a lead-off walk, designated hitter Ben Breazeale advanced to third on a Troy Dixon ground-rule double that bounced into the bullpen. Breazeale, who walked five times in the ballgame, then scored on an error committed by Bay Sox third baseman Robbie Doring off a ground ball from Newport's Devin Mann.
The 1-0 Gulls lead would last to the ninth. Reliever Denny Brady was sensational in his Gulls debut, coming on in the fifth and retiring the first nine batters he faced before allowing a lone single in the eighth. But back-to-back Bay Sox doubles in the top of the ninth by Ryan Baldwin and Keith Klebart tied the game, setting the table for extra baseball at Cardines after Newport failed to score in the bottom of the frame.
The Gulls had another opportunity to walk-off in the 10th, but with two on and one out, Dixon lined into a 9-3 double play to end the inning. Meanwhile, Gulls pitcher Blake Cairnes - who according to Manager Al Leyva is a 2016 closer candidate - came on in the 10th and pitched two scoreless innings of relief, capping 11 innings of one-run ball by three Newport pitchers.
The walk-off grand slam in the 11th was set up when Mann, making his Newport debut, walked to lead off the 11th. Shortstop Connor Kaiser, who had just arrived to Newport earlier in the day and pinch-hit for Chris Chatfield in the ninth, followed-up Mann with a single to put runners at the corners with no one out.
The Bay Sox opted to intentionally walk lead-off hitter Travis Young to load the bases for Cole Fabio, who struck out. Scott followed, and sent what remained of the 2,531 in attendance into celebration with his walk-off grand slam that towered over the 28-foot fence in right.
Scott's four-run blast was the first walk-off grand slam in team history, dating back to 2001, according to team General Manager Chuck Paiva.
The Gulls are back on the road tonight to face off against their in-state rivals, the Ocean State Waves, in Game Three of the Pell Bridge Series. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m., as the Gulls look for their first win of the season against Ocean State.
Broadcasters Justin Gallanty and Nick Lima will have the call for Saturday night's contest at Old Mountain Field starting at 6:15 on the NECBL Broadcast Network, with live video and free audio streaming available at www.newportgulls.com.
Following an off day on Sunday, Newport will be back in action Monday night at Cardines Field, taking on the Plymouth Pilgrims at 6:35.
For more information about the Newport Gulls, visit facebook.com/newportgulls, follow the Gulls on Twitter @NewportGulls or visit www.newportgulls.com.
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