09/10/04 — K-Trib evens division series -- decisive game 3 set for tonight

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K-Trib evens division series -- decisive game 3 set for tonight

By News-Argus Staff
Published in Sports on September 10, 2004 1:56 PM

KINSTON -- Adam Miller dominated for six innings and Kinston took advantage of some horrendous first-inning fielding from Winston-Salem en route to an 8-1 victory in game two of the South Division Championship Series before a crowd of 609 fans Thursday night at historic Grainger Stadium.

The Indians kept their season alive and evened the best-of-three series at 1-1, with the deciding contest slated for 7 p.m. tonight in Kinston.

Miller's only trouble came in the top of the first, when he surrendered a walk and a double to put men on second and third with two out. Winston-Salem's All-Star right-fielder Ryan Sweeney then lined a ball to left, but Kinston's Jonathan van Every made a diving grab to take away potential extra bases and retire the side.

With the momentum from van Every's catch leading the way, Kinston then essentially put the game away with five runs in the bottom of the first against Wes Whisler.

Eider Torres led off with a first-pitch single to left and then moved to second when Brad Snyder walked. Shaun Larkin followed with a roller to Tommy Nicholson at second, who tried to turn the double-play a tad too quickly and booted the ball to load the bases for Pat Osborn. He promptly gave Kinston a 1-0 lead with an RBI single to left.

After Pat Magness struck out, Javi Herrera drew a hard-earned walk to force in Snyder and make it 2-0. Van Every lined a base hit to score Larkin, and Darren Blakely fumbled the ball in center to allow Osborn to score as well.

Caleb Brock then hit a routine grounder to Josh Fields at third base, who let the ball roll up his arm as Herrera came for a 5-0 lead. All told, Kinston sent 11 men to the plate and scored five runs on three hits, three errors, two walks and a hit batter. Whisler was lifted after retiring just one of the first nine batters.

Armed with that cushion, Miller proceeded to allow all of two walks over the next five innings. The 19-year-old righthander struck out the side in the top of the second and tied a season-high with nine strikeouts on the night.

He gave way to Danny Eisentrager in the seventh, and Winston-Salem did make things interesting in the eighth. The Warthogs had runners on second and third with two out in the eighth when Matt Davis made his first appearance of the playoffs, but he issued consecutive walks to Fields and Sweeney to first load the bases and then force in a run.

With Brian Becker at the plate, however, Davis induced a fielder's choice ground out to end the inning. Larkin then provided some insurance with a two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth.

Miller improved to 1-0 in the post-season with the win, allowing just a hit and three walks over his six shutout innings. Whisler lasted just 1Ú3 of an inning and was charged with five runs (two earned) on three hits. He also walked two batters and struck out one.

The Warthogs ended up using four relievers for the final 72Ú3 innings, which will put a serious strain on their bullpen for game three. Torres, Larkin, Osborn and van Every all had two-hit nights offensively for Kinston.