08/06/04 — Kinston rallies in latter innings

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Kinston rallies in latter innings

By Rudy Coggins
Published in Sports on August 6, 2004 1:55 PM

KINSTON -- Kinston erased a five-run deficit in the latter half of Thursday night's game and recorded its biggest comeback win of the year -- a 6-5 decision against Lynchburg in the opener of a three-game series at historic Grainger Stadium.

A crowd of 1,096 endured a 73-minute rain delay prior to the first pitch, but the wait was well worth it as Kinston improved to 23-16 in the second half and 68-40 overall. The K-Tribe won for the 18th time in their last 24 games, while Lynchburg lost for the 26th time in 36 games and fell to 12-26 and 47-61.

Things rolled right along for the Hillcats early on as both the Kinston offense and defense sputtered. Lynchburg manufactured single runs in the third and fourth on two RBI groundouts, and Ray Navarette added a run-scoring double in the fifth for a 3-0 lead. Only one of the runs was earned against Indians starter Adam Miller however, as the Tribe committed a season-high four errors in the first six innings.

The Hillcats tacked on two more runs off Juan Lara in the sixth for a 5-0 lead before Kinston mounted its rally.

J.J. Sherrill popped up to open the bottom of the sixth, but Eider Torres and newcomer Brad Snyder followed with back-to-back singles to put men on the corners. Nathan Panther then hit a ground ball to Navarette at first who bobbled it momentarily, ending any chance of a double play and allowing Torres to score Kinston's first run.

The Indians then made it a one-run game with three runs in the seventh, as Rodney Choy Foo singled to plate one run and Torres beat out an infield hit with the bases loaded to make it 5-3. Torres probably should have been out on the play, but reliever Mark Michael, who did not record an out in his Carolina League debut, bobbled the ball covering first base.

Shane Youman came out of the bullpen and walked Snyder on four pitches to force in a run, but struck out Panther and Pat Osborn to escape with a 5-4 lead intact.

The turning point came in the top of the eighth as Lynchburg tried to recapture the momentum against Tribe right-hander Landon Stockman. An infield hit and a walk put two men on base, and a groundout to the right side pushed the runners to second and third with two outs. Stockman dug in, however, and climbed the ladder to strike out Avelino Asprilla on a fastball at helmet level for the third out.

Kinston put the finishing touches on the victory with two runs in the bottom of the eighth. Shaun Larkin drew a lead-off walk from Youman, and went to second on a perfect sacrifice bunt by Javi Herrera. Jonathan van Every fell behind 1-2, but stayed calm and lined an opposite-field single to left to score Larkin and tie the game.

Van Every took second on the throw home and went to third on a passed ball, and Choy Foo capped the comeback with a double down the left field line for the winning margin.

Todd Pennington earned his ninth save with a perfect final ninth, and Stockman (1-0) earned his first win in an Indians uniform with 11Ú3 shutout innings in relief.

Choy Foo led the way offensively going 3-4 with two RBI, and van Every finished 2-4 with his team-best 57th RBI. Torres and Snyder, who made his Kinston debut after being promoted from Lake County, each had two hits and an RBI.

Youman fell to 3-2 with the loss.

Game two in the series is set for 7 o'clock tonight.