Kannapolis Rides Solid Pitching to 4-2 Victory
CHARLESTON, S.C. - Riding efficient pitching and two big homers from Alex Destino and Corey Zangari, the Intimidators took game one 4-2 against the Charleston RiverDogs Friday night at The Joe.
With almost identical stat lines through the first two innings, Charlie Ruegger and Kevin Folman both worked scoreless innings to begin the ball game.
In the third, Ian Dawkins singled on a line drive to left field to get things going with on out. Next up, Lenyn Sosa doubled (32) to right field to put two runners in scoring position for the middle of the lineup. After an Alex Destino lineout to first base, Tyler Osik kept his hot-streak alive with a triple (1) to right, scoring both Dawkins and Sosa to give Kannapolis an early 2-0 lead.
However, in the bottom of the third, Brandon Lockridge reached on a seven-pitch walk and then moved to third after a fielding error from Ramon Beltre at third base to put runners at the corners for Charleston. Next up, Canaan Smith walked to load the bases for Josh Breaux. Folman struck out Braux on three pitches, but then allowed a Josh Stowers single to left field to score two runs and tie the game.
Declan Cronin (W, 1-2) replaced Folman after just three innings, as the new righty for the Intimidators worked a 1-2-3 inning to send the game tied into the fifth.
In the fifth, and after a pitching change for Charleston that brought Dalton Lehnen to the hill, Destino homered (15) on a 1-0 pitch to center field to give Kannapolis back the lead and give Lehnen a rude welcome to the ball game.
Cronin locked down the RiverDogs bats for 3.0 innings, allowing just two hits and recording two strikeouts along the way. In replace of Cronin, manager Ryan Newman looked to Lane Ramsey (H, 2) to preserve the 3-2 lead for the next 2.0 innings, as the 6-foot-9 righty only allowed one hit and punched out three batters.
With the Intimidators pitching staff hurling almost perfect baseball in the later innings, Kannapolis added on an insurance run in the top of the eighth on the first pitch of the inning, as Corey Zangari hit his 14th home run of the season to left-center field.
Up 4-2 in the bottom of the ninth, Austin Conway (S, 10) looked shaky at the start, giving up a leadoff single to Josh Stowers after a seven-pitch battle. Conway used back-to-back strikeouts to get Kannapolis one out away from a series-opening win but allowed a single from Ryan Lidge to keep the game alive. After a mound visit, Conway struck out Eduardo Torrealba with runners at first and second to end the game and earn his 10th save.
The Intimidators will send Sam Long (7-5, 3.30 ERA) to the bump for game two of the series at 6:05 p.m. at The Joe, with the RiverDogs leaning on Jhony Brito (6-3, 3.49 ERA) to even the series on Saturday.
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