Ariel Ovando’s RBI double broke a 4-4 tie and started a five-run eighth inning that propelled the Greeneville Astros to a 9-4 victory at Johnson City’s Cardinal Park on Wednesday.
The teams evened their records at 1-1 in the opening series of the Appalachian League season.
Jean Batista capped the eighth with a two-run opposite-field home run to left-center field. Batista and Ovando each finished 2-for-5 with two RBIs. Batista also hit a ball as hard as he could for a line-out to first base and his fly-out to center field in the first went approximately 390 feet.
Greeneville starter Richard Rodriguez struck out eight and walked none while allowing four hits and one earned run in five innings. Jordan Janikowski pitched 11â„3 scoreless innings for the victory.
Designated hitter Sam Tuivailala hit a solo home run to left field in the third inning to give Johnson City a 1-0 lead in the third.
Greeneville’s Marc Wik (2-for-4, two runs) tied the score in the fourth with a one-out single that scored Ibanez.
Johnson City right fielder Lance Jeffries showed off his speed on the basepaths. After flying around the bases to reach third on a single and two-base error, Jeffries tagged and scored from third base on Michael Knox’s pop-out to second baseman Batista.
Batista’s momentum was carrying him away from home plate when he made the catch, which produced an off-balance throw that was offline.
Jeffries also scored from second base when third baseman Angel Ibanez’s short-hop throw to first ricocheted off first baseman Michael Martinez to give the Cards a 4-3 lead in the sixth.
Johnson City first baseman Michael Knox made three good plays at first. He dug out two short-hop throws and stretched far to his right for the put-out on a 5-4-3 double play.
The game was delayed 30 minutes due to rain and a concert by contemporary Christian group Mike’s Chair that was also washed out save for few acoustic songs. WCQR Faith and Family Night promotion helped produce a crowd in excess of 3,000.
St. Louis general manager John Mozeliak and Appalachian League president Lee Landers were in attendance.
The rubber game of the three-game series is tonight at 7.