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Twins' rally in 10th falls short

June 24th, 2014 10:45 pm by Joe Avento

Twins' rally in 10th falls short

ELIZABETHTON — The Elizabethton Twins’ bats put them in position to win. Their defense simply made that impossible.

The Twins committed five errors and blew a six-run lead while falling to the Pulaski Mariners, 9-8 in 10 innings, Tuesday night at Joe O’Brien Field.

Elizabethton had the tying and winning runs in scoring position with two outs in the bottom of the 10th inning when Austin Diemer lofted a popup down the right field line. Pulaski second baseman Nelson Ward made a fine running catch to end the game.

After torching Pulaski starter Lane Ratiff for seven hits in the first two innings, the Twins didn’t score again until a two-run 10th.

The Twins, who were held to six hits while splitting the first two games of the series, flexed their muscle early. They smacked out five hits in the first inning and jumped out to a 5-0 lead. Trey Varvra’s two-run double was the biggest blow.

Brian Navarreto added a run-scoring double, and Alex Real singled in a run to cap the outburst. Jeremias Pineda scored the first run when Pulaski catcher Daniel Torres dropped a throw on a play at the plate.

Elizabethton made it 6-0 in the second inning on Tyler Mautner’s RBI double.

Pulaski scored on groundouts in the fourth and fifth innings and added another run on a wild pitch from Elizabethton reliever Samuel Clay to cut the deficit to 6-3.

Dereck Rodriguez was the Twins’ third pitcher of the night, and a walk and a hit batter put the Mariners in business.

Rodriguez appeared to get out of the jam when Gianfranco Wawoe hit a hard grounder to shortstop Blake Schmit. What looked like an inning-ending double play rolled under Schmit’s glove for a run-scoring error. Suddenly, it was 6-4.

Schmit made amends in the eighth inning. With runners on the corners, he made an over-the-shoulder catch of a fly ball to short center. He turned and fired toward the plate, preventing the runner on third from tagging up and scoring.

Moments later, the Mariners made it 6-5 when they scored on an error on an attempted pickoff attempt at first. One pitch later, Wawoe ripped a single to left field to score the tying run. Elizabethton left fielder Max Murphy let the ball get past him for a two-base error, the Twins’ fifth miscue of the game.

The Mariners’ winning rally began innocently enough when Wawoe struck out with two outs. However, he reached base when the pitch got past catcher Brett Doe.

One batter later, Jay Baum, the hero of Monday night’s 2-1 Pulaski win, came to the plate.  Baum hit a chopper up the middle that Schmit fielded but couldn’t connect on an off-balance throw, allowing the go-ahead run to score. Wayne Taylor then singled in another run to make it 8-6 and an infield single by Estarlyn Morales put the Mariners up 9-6.

Ugueth Urbina came on and earned his first save, but it was anything but routine.

The Twins’ bats came back to life in the bottom of the 10th. Two one-out singles put runners on the corners. Pinch hitter Tyler Kuresa, representing the tying run, walked to load the bases.

Pineda blooped an run-scoring single, and and RBI groundout made it 9-8 with the tying and winning runs  in scoring position.

Then, on a night when defense seemed to be an afterthought, Ward made his catch to end the game.

Vavra, Pineda and Murphy each had two hits for the Twins. Carlton Tanabe had three for Pulaski.

The Twins (3-3) begin a three-game series at Burlington today at 7 p.m. Pulaski improved to 5-1.

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