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Norfolk Outlasts Worcester with Three-Run Rally in Ninth

May 23, 2024 - International League (IL)
Worcester Red Sox News Release

WORCESTER, MA - The WooSox battled Baltimore's Triple-A affiliate in another tight contest, but a three-run ninth inning rally pushed the Norfolk Tides (25-23) past the Worcester Red Sox (23-25) 6-3 on Thursday afternoon at Polar Park.

With the game tied 3-3 in the top of the ninth, Norfolk strung together back-to-back doubles from Heston Kjerstad and Billy Cook to take a 4-3 edge, and padded the lead with a two-run homer from Daniel Johnson over the Worcester Wall in right. After a pair of singles, Lucas Luetge (L, 2-1) eventually struck out the side to strand two men in scoring position, but the WooSox couldn't capitalize on a leadoff walk from Chase Meidroth in the bottom of the ninth against Bryan Baker (S, 3).

After a 2 hour and 46 minute delayed start, the sun eventually shined on Richard Fitts for five strong innings, as he held Norfolk's prospect-laden lineup to one run on three hits with three walks and three strikeouts. Fitts walked the leadoff man in the second and fifth inning, but both runners were caught stealing second base by Tyler Heineman. The lone run he allowed came on a fourth-inning leadoff blast from Kjerstad, who now leads the league with 13 home runs.

Fitts left the game with a 2-1 lead thanks to an RBI groundout from Pablo Reyes in the second inning, and a mishandled ball from Jackson Holliday that led to a run in the fourth.

Holliday more than atoned for the error in the top of the seventh inning, launching a go-ahead two-run homer 422 feet to right center. It was the top prospect's first hit in ten at bats this week.

Jamie Westbrook quickly knotted the score at 3-3 with a solo shot in the top of the seventh off Tyler McGough (W, 1-0), powering a slicing liner 404 feet to the opposite field, but it would be Worcester's final hit of the afternoon.

The series continues on Friday night at 6:05 p.m. at Polar Park, highlighted by a UniBank Fireworks display after the game.

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