The Royals scored three runs in the first inning in a 5-1 win over the Twins Monday at Burlington Athletic Stadium. With the loss, Elizabethton (21-18) is now a half-game behind idle Johnson City in the West Division.
As the only league game on Monday, the Royals (22-18) now trail Pulaski by three games in the East Division.
Jay Charleston got the scoring started early for Burlington, leading off the bottom of the first with his first professional home run. Will Hancock and Mikey Filia tallied RBI singles before the inning ended to give the Royals a 3-0 edge.
In the top of the third, Trevor Jensen scored Elizabethton’s only run with a solo home run to left field. It was his first career home run and cut the deficit to 3-1.
Burlington added the final two runs in the bottom of the fifth when both Filia and Burle Dixon drew walks with bases loaded.
Royals right-handed pitcher Noah Murdock (2-1) earned the win throwing three scoreless innings of relief after coming in for starter Drew Parrish.
Elizabethton starter Tyler Benninghoff (2-3) was tagged with the loss, giving up five runs on five hits over 4 1/3 innings. Erik Cha finished with 3 2/3 innings of scoreless relief, allowing just one hits and three walks.
Kidany Salva led the Twins batting in the nine-hole, going 2-for-3 at the plate. Max Smith also finished with two hits. Elizabethton outhit Burlington 8-6, but went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position with nine left stranded on base.
The teams are scheduled to resume the three-game series Tuesday at 6:30 p.m.