08/19/05 — Kinston falls to Salem

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Kinston falls to Salem

Published in Sports on August 19, 2005 2:08 PM

KINSTON -- Jonathan Ash delivered the game-winning two-run double with two outs in the top of the ninth as Salem avoided a sweep and defeated Kinston 4-2 before 1,483 fans at historic Grainger Stadium on Thursday night.

The win moved Salem to 28-24 in the second half and 58-64 overall, while the K-Tribe fell to 24-29 and 65-58.

Salem picked up a pair of runs in the first two innings as Indians starter Scott Roehl struggled with bad luck and inconsistency early on.

Ben Zobrist started the game with a bloop single to right field on a 1-2 pitch, and a sacrifice bunt by Jonathan Ash moved him to second. Mario Garza struck out swinging and Roehl got ahead of Hunter Pence 1-2, but Pence lunged at a slider and got just enough of it to bloop the ball into center field as Zobrist scored and Salem took a 1-0 lead.

Mike Floyd opened the top of the second with a double and scored on another two-bagger by Wilton Reynolds to make it 2-0, but Roehl escaped further damage when he got Garza to fly out with the bases loaded.

Kinston rallied back immediately in the bottom of the second, as Rodney Choy Foo smoked a one-out triple into the right field corner and Brian Barton followed with a walk. Barton later stole second base to give the Indians two runners in scoring position, and Michael Butia then delivered a clutch two-run single inches fair down the left field line to score both runners and tie the game at 2-2.

From there the pitching took over, as neither team got a runner past second base for the next six innings.

Salem had two singles and two walks over that span while Kinston had one single and two walks, but the tide turned in the top of the ninth. Matt Davis, on for a fourth inning of relief for the first time all year, got the first out but then gave up a double to Reynolds. Osvaldo Fernando followed with a single to left and Salem manager Ivan DeJesus aggressively sent Reynolds around third.

The move backfired however, as Butia delivered a strike to the plate and catcher Caleb Brock lunged to his right to apply the tag as Reynolds was called out. Fernando went to second on the throw home however, and that started a baseball chess match.

With the switch-hitting Zobrist due up, first base open, and left-hander Tony Sipp ready in the bullpen, Indians manager Luis Rivera ordered an intentional walk to Zobrist to set up a lefty-lefty match-up between Sipp and Ash. Sipp was holding left-handed hitters to just a .146 batting average but Ash was hitting .338 against left-handed pitchers and something had to give. Unfortunately for Kinston, it was Sipp. After taking a ball that barely missed the bottom of the zone on a 2-2 pitch, Ash lined Sipp's 3-2 offering into left-center field for a two-run double and the game-winning runs.

Anthony DeWitt (6-2) worked two hitless innings in relief to get the win for Salem, while Davis (3-6) was charged with the loss as he was responsible for the inherited runners.

The Indians managed just four hits offensively. Choy Foo extended his consecutive games on-base streak to 23 games, but Brandon Pinckney saw his 11-game hitting streak end.