08/25/04 — K-Tribe newcomer shines in win

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K-Tribe newcomer shines in win

By News-Argus Staff
Published in Sports on August 25, 2004 1:56 PM

KINSTON -- J.D. Martin went six shutout innings and Luis Cotto plated both runs with a fifth-inning double as Kinston blanked Frederick 2-0 in the opener of a three-game series Tuesday night at historic Grainger Stadium.

Kinston improved to 36-19 in the second half and kept its two-game lead over Winston-Salem in the South Division. The Indians also sit a season-high 38 games over .500 at 81-43 overall and have won five in a row. The Keys fell to 26-31 and 46-80.

Martin allowed just three singles (including two infield hits) over six innings as he moved into second place in the Carolina League with his 11th win of the year. Coupled with Brian Slocum (14 wins), the Tribe has the two winningest pitchers in the league. But matching Martin pitch for pitch was Frederick lefthander Zach Dixon, who delivered seven strong innings in his Carolina League debut. After allowing just an infield single through the first four frames, however, Dixon stumbled slightly yet significantly in the bottom of the fifth.

Javi Herrera started Kinston's rally with a one-out base hit to center, and Nathan Panther followed with a soft single to left. A wild pitch moved the runners to second and third, and Cotto then laced a double inches fair down the left field line to score both men standing up. It was Cotto's first game for Kinston since being called up from Class A Lake County on Monday, although he did appear in 39 games for the Indians last season.

After Martin cruised through the sixth, Juan Lara worked a perfect seventh and Danny Eisentrager threw a quick eighth to set up closer Todd Pennington. He struck out B.J. Littleton to open the inning, but two singles and a wild pitch put the tying runs in scoring position for Frederick with two out. Pennington did not falter though, striking out Cory Keylor to finish it off for Kinston's eighth shutout of the year.

Martin (11-9) struck out four batters and did not walk a man in his six innings, while Pennington earned his 16th save of the season. After going 9-4 with the Delmarva Shorebirds of the South Atlantic League prior to his promotion, Dixon fell to 0-1 with the loss. He allowed two runs on four hits in seven innings. He walked one and struck out four. Cotto finished 1-3 with the two RBI to lead the way offensively, but Kinston had just four hits all night. Frederick had only six hits in the game, and neither team got the leadoff man on in an inning all night.

Game two in the series is set for 7 p.m. Wednesday. The game will also be a Military Appreciation Night, with free admission to all fans with a valid military ID.