Johnson City Press: JC Cards earn split with Pulaski on opening night
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JC Cards earn split with Pulaski on opening night

Jeff Birchfield • Jun 19, 2019 at 10:07 PM

It was an even split for the Johnson City Cardinals on opening night of the Appalachian League baseball season.

The Cardinals defeated the Pulaski Yankees 3-1 in the nightcap of Wednesday’s doubleheader at TVA Credit Union Ballpark after falling to the Yankees 5-1 in game one.

“We got the split so let’s go win the series,” Johnson City manager Robert Espinoza said. “I like this team, the new faces and the energy those guys bring. They’re a lot of young kids, but they’re going to be good.”

Game One

The Yankees scored four runs in the top of the fifth to take the opening game win.

Johnson City started the game with a pair of singles, but lead-off batter Carlos Soler was tagged out at third trying to stretch an extra base.

After the Yankees’ Ryder Green, a third-round pick in the 2018 draft from Knoxville, sent a solo shot over left field in the second inning, the Cardinals tied it up in the third. Diomedes Del Rio led off the frame with a triple. Two batters later, the Cards’ third-round draft pick in 2019, Mateo Gil, hit a sacrifice fly to center field.

Another home run, a two-run shot by Luis Santos, highlighted the four-run inning and sent the Yanks on their way to the victory.

Borinquen Mendez, batting in the nine-hole, went 3-for-3 to lead the Yankees. Santos also had two hits, while no Johnson City batters had multiple hits.

Johnson City starter Jose Moreno suffered the loss, allowing up six hits and three earned runs over 4 2/3 innings. Wilfredo Pereria and Saniel Santana had relief appearances.

Pulaski’s Yoendrys Gomez picked up the win, throwing eight strikeouts and giving up one hit and no walks over five innings.

Game Two

Francisco Justo and Walker Robbins combined on a three-hitter and the Cardinals scored in each of the first three innings to take the nightcap.

Starter Justo gave up all three hits, two walks and one run over five innings. Robbins struck out four through two perfect innings to earn the save. Their efforts were needed as the Cardinals were also held to three hits, but made the most of their opportunities.

“The pitchers did a great job,” Espinoza said. “Our other guys battled and gave their max effort in their at-bats. It’s the first night, but you saw in the second game, they made some adjustments and that’s what we expect of them.”

Johnson City took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first when Chandler Redmond, a 32nd round pick out of Gardner-Webb, lined a RBI double to right field to score Jhon Torres. The Cardinals added to the lead the next inning with Brandon Purcell’s sacrifice fly to left field to score Liam Sabino.

Torres hit a double to left field to plate Gil for a 3-0 advantage. The Cardinals then held Pulaski to just one run in the fourth for the game’s final score.

The series finale is scheduled for Thursday night at 6:30 p.m.

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