Kinston rallies in later innings against Salem
Published in Sports on August 16, 2005 2:30 PM
KINSTON -- Sean Smith limited Salem to just three singles over six innings and Kinston broke open a pitcher's duel in the latter half of the game, rolling to an 8-4 win over the Avalanche before 737 fans at historic Grainger Stadium on Monday.
The Indians improved to 22-28 in the second half and 63-57 overall, while Salem slipped to 27-22 and 57-62.
Smith and Salem starter Josh Muecke brought out the best in one another early, as the ballgame was scoreless for the first four innings.
Smith allowed just one hit over that span and recorded six strikeouts, while Muecke surrendered just two hits and retired eight in a row at one point. Everything changed in the fifth inning though, when the Indians took a lead they would never relinquish.
After watching Smith escape a two-on, two-out jam in the top of the inning, Rodney Choy Foo opened the bottom of the fifth with a leadoff single, only to be erased on a double play by Brian Barton. Ryan Goleski made sure the Indians got something out of the inning however, lofting his team-leading 13th home run of the year to left-center to give Kinston a 1-0 lead.
The K-Tribe then broke the game open with four runs in the sixth, as two singles and an intentional walk loaded the bases with one out. Stephen Head followed with a grounder that could have been a double play ball, but Salem second baseman Jonathan Ash tried to turn two before the ball got to him and ended up booting it, allowing a run to score and keeping the bases loaded. A wild pitch by Muecke plated another run, and Barton capped the inning with a two-run single to left to make it 5-0.
The Avalanche got two runs back in the seventh against lefty Justin Pekarek who was making his Kinston debut, but the Indians rallied back with three runs in the eighth.
Kevin Kouzmanoff led off with a triple off reliever Anthony DeWitt and scored on Head's double down the left field line to make it 6-2, and an RBI groundout by Goleski and a run-scoring single by Brandon Pinckney later in the inning salted the game away. Salem got the final two runs on a two-run homer by Mario Garza in the ninth.
Smith (5-5) evened his record at .500 with six fantastic innings, allowing just three hits and three walks while recording nine strikeouts. Muecke (9-9) was tagged for five runs (four earned) in 5.1 innings with seven hits, two walks and two strikeouts. Jim Ed Warden got the final seven outs for his third save of the year. Choy Foo continued his hot hitting by going 3-3 with a walk and a run scored, while Kouzmanoff and Pinckney both finished with two hits.
Game 2 of this four-game series is set for 7 p.m. today. Tom Mastny (6-3, 2.40 ERA) will start for Kinston against Salem's Mitch Talbot (7-7, 4.20 ERA).
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