Late Flourish Propels 'Birds Past K-Town
KANNAPOLIS, NC - The Delmarva Shorebirds broke open a long stalemate with a three-run ninth inning, muscling past the Kannapolis Intimidators 5-2 to snap a four-game skid on Saturday night at Intimidators Stadium.
With the game tied 2-2 in the ninth, Ryan Ripken led off with a sharp ground ball into left for a single. Branden Becker followed with another sharp grounder over the third base bag and into the left field corner, chasing home Ripken to put the Shorebirds (19-15, 54-47) in front 3-2. After a strikeout, Ben Breazeale drew a walk, and both runners advanced on a Kirvin Moesquit groundball that veered foul up the first base line before hooking back into the field of play for an out. Mason McCoy came up in a two-out RBI spot, and with a 3-2 count he laced a single into left, scoring both Becker and Breazeale to push the lead to 5-2.
The Intimidators (19-16, 58-44) wouldn't go quietly in the bottom of the ninth. Carlos Perez led off with a sharp low liner to third for an infield single, and Anthony Villa drew a walk on four pitches to get the tying run to bat. Cameron Ming got the next two batters on an infield fly and a strikeout, but Luis Curbelo coaxed a walk, loading the bases with 2018 No. 4 pick Nick Madrigal coming to bat.
Delmarva went with Tim Naughton out of the bullpen to face Madrigal, and on a 2-2 pitch Madrigal hit a chopper toward the second base bag. McCoy grabbed it and stepped on second for the force play to end the game.
Ming (2-2) earned the win in relief for the Shorebirds, going 1.2 scoreless innings. Nin (4-4) took the loss after giving up three runs in his inning and two-thirds. Naughton's one-out save was his fourth of the year.
Both sides threaded together a pair of early runs. In the top of the second, Will Robertson drew a two-out walk, and Breazeale dropped a deep flyball into the left field corner for an RBI double. In the third, McCoy walked to lead off, and Zach Jarrett reached on an error two batters later. After a wild pitch, Trevor Craport hit a chopper to short that chased McCoy home to make it 2-0 Shorebirds.
The Intimidators responded in the bottom of the third as Villa singled and Michael Hickman doubled him home. In the home fourth, Craig Dedelow belted a solo home run over the big wall in right to tie it at 2-2. Neither side could string together another rally until the ninth.
Becker finished 2-for-4 with a double, run, and game-winning RBI for the Shorebirds, while Breazeale doubled in another run, scored one, and walked twice.
Tyler Frost and Perez each managed two-hit games for the Intimidators.
Ryan Wilson made an emergency start for Delmarva as scheduled starter Scott Burke was scratched moments before first pitch. Wilson lasted four innings, allowing two runs on five hits while walking one and striking out four. Nick Vespi took the baton from Wilson in the fifth and managed three scoreless innings of his own.
Zach Lewis turned in a Quality Start in a no-decision for Kannapolis, giving up two runs (one earned) on three hits over six innings.
Delmarva shortstop and 2018 Orioles first-round pick Cadyn Grenier left the game in the top of the third inning after a bunt attempt deflected off the top of his head. At press time no new information is available.
The Shorebirds and Intimidators square off in the series rubber match on Sunday evening. Brenan Hanifee (7-4, 7-4, 2.69) takes the bump for Delmarva against Kannapolis' Yosmer Solorzano (1-6, 5.31). First pitch is set for 5:05 p.m., and pregame coverage on Fox Sports 960 AM and the MiLB First Pitch App begins at 4:50 with Will DeBoer on the call.
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