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Twins prevail 9-5, cap three-game sweep of Bluefield

Gene Renfro • Updated Jun 21, 2018 at 10:41 PM

ELIZABETHTON — The Elizabethton Twins did it again Thursday night in the series finale against the Burlington Royals.

The Twins improved to 3-0 for the second time in the last three campaigns behind a 9-5 win.

The formula in the latest victory was like the first two, with the Royals scoring first — then Elizabethton answering and then some.

“They say hitting is contagious,” Twins manager Ray Smith said about his team’s offense. “We have some guys at the top and the middle of the order who can put swings on the ball. You never know, you strive for consistency with no weak spots in the lineup top to bottom.

“I think we’re capable of putting swings on the ball. Who knows how long we can do it? It isn’t easy all the time. It can change from one day to the next.”

The Twins and Kingsport are the only teams left undefeated after three games.

Royals lead first, again

Burlington’s Juan Carlos Negret provided a pop in the second inning. The second-year professional fell behind 0-2 before powering a 1-2 pitch over the fence in left center. It was the first homer for the Royals this season.

Montesino starts rally in third

Ariel Montesino supplied a one-out, third-inning single before Ryan Jeffers singled to join him on the bases. Chris Williams followed that up with an RBI single through the hole in the left side of the infield.

After Trevor Casanova walked to load the bases, Ricky De La Torre delivered an RBI single on a soft roller toward third base. Angel Medina fielded the ball but threw it into right field, enabling Williams to race around the bases before Casanova was thrown out at the plate.

Going 3 for 4 with a double, three RBIs, two runs and a walk, Jeffers posted his third multi-hit game of the season. He went 7 for 13 with five RBIs and four runs in the series.

Twins benefit from stretch

After the seventh-inning stretch, Elizabethton broke a 4-4 tie with back-to-back, two-out doubles.

Montesino sent a ball through the left side, where it hit Rafael Romero’s glove to allow him to second. Jeffers followed that up with an RBI double over left fielder Montae Bradshaw.

Jeffers would score on Williams’ sharp single up the middle for insurance. Williams tacked on the final run of the frame thanks to a RBI single laced by De La Torre.

Twins strike out Royals

The third game of the season saw the third straight double-digit strikeout performance from Elizabethton’s pitching staff. Burlington fanned 11 times to give the Twins’ staff 37 in the series. Eight of the nine batters in the Royals’ lineup struck out in the finale.

Blair Lasko earned the pitching victory with 1 1/3 innings of relief work, in which all four outs were strikeouts. He was tagged for two hits and scattered three runs. Johan Quezada picked up the save as he threw the final 1 2/3 innings, yielding no runs.

Hit parade

Entering the day with a league-best 21 hits, the Twins added 16 to that total. Seven players had multi-hit efforts, led by Jeffers with his 3-for-4 effort. Adding two hits apiece were Jared Akins, Montesino, Williams, Trevor Casanova, De La Torre and Lean Marrero.

Elizabethton’s team batting average improved to a league-best .395 and the Twins rank second (behind Bristol) in runs scored with 30.

Road trip

Elizabethton now hits the road for a three-game series against the Bristol Pirates. Friday and Saturday games are scheduled to start at 7 p.m., followed by a 6 p.m. first pitch on Sunday.

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