09/14/05 — K-Tribe forces fifth game

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K-Tribe forces fifth game

Published in Sports on September 14, 2005 2:01 PM

KINSTON -- Things are starting to look a lot like 2004.

Adam Miller got the win in game four of the Carolina League Championship Series for the second straight year, and Kinston held on for a wild 4-3 win over Frederick at historic Grainger Stadium Tuesday night to even the best-of-five series at two games all.

The Indians will look to repeat as Carolina League champions in the deciding game five Wednesday night at 7 p.m. while Frederick will try to avoid blowing a two games to none lead like Wilmington did at the hands of Kinston last year.

Miller worked out of two key jams before the Indians exploded for four runs in the fifth. Brian Bock led off the top of the third inning with a single, and Travis Brown's sacrifice bunt moved Bock to second. Jeff Fiorentino followed with a ground ball to advance Bock to third, but Miller came back to strike out Jarod Rine on a nasty slider to end the inning. Then in the top of the fifth, Bryan Bass drew a leadoff walk and went all the way to third when no one covered second base on his steal attempt and David Wallace's throw sailed into center field. Undaunted, Miller got Bock to groundout with the infield drawn in, and then got Brown to fly to shallow right on the next pitch. Finally, Miller ended the threat by getting Fiorentino to fly out to right.

Fresh off that key stop, the Kinston offense got going immediately in the bottom of the inning. Frederick's James Johnson, the Carolina League Pitcher of the Year, had retired the first 12 batters of the game only to be greeted by Stephen Head's double to right-center on the first pitch of the inning. Rodney Choy Foo followed with a one-hopper that handcuffed Brown at short to put runners on the corners, and Mike Conroy then worked Johnson for a walk to load the bases. Ryan Goleski followed with a soft broken-bat liner that cleared Brown's outstretched glove by mere inches as Head and Choy Foo both scored to give Kinston a 2-0 lead. Wallace then put down a perfect sacrifice bunt to move Conroy and Goleski into scoring position, and Frederick countered by intentionally walking Brandon Pinckney to load the bases and set up a force play at any base. Leadoff man Argenis Reyes spoiled that plan though, lining a two-run single to right field to double Kinston's lead to 4-0.

That was all the Indians would get offensively, but Frederick was only starting. The Keys got on the board in the sixth when Branden Florence scored on Wallace's passed ball, but Kyle Collins came out of the bullpen and got Bock on a fielder's choice to end the inning with the bases loaded. A pair of bloop RBI singles by Florence and Nolan Reimold pulled the Keys to within a run in the seventh, but Scott Roehl came out of the bullpen and struck out Gera Alvarez to end the inning with runners at first and second. Roehl got into trouble immediately in the eighth, but thankfully Tony Sipp was there to rescue Kinston. Sipp entered into a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the eighth, but struck out Rine on a changeup and then got Florence to fly out to right.

Things couldn't end easily though, as Mario Delgado led off the top of the ninth with a bloop hit to left. Zach Davis came in to pinch-run, and Reimold followed with a hard ground ball to Kevin Kouzmanoff at third base. Davis was running on the play and it would have been a tough play at second, but Kouzmanoff bobbled the ball and could only take the out at first as Davis advanced. Alvarez then slapped a grounder to Pinckney at short, and Davis gambled that he could move to third. He was wrong. Pinckney threw to third, Kouzmanoff applied the tag, and there were two away on the fielder's choice. Naturally, Bryan Bass followed with a single to center which would have scored Davis had he not tried to move up, but Sipp got pinch-hitter Mike Russell to ground sharply into a fielder's choice with Pinckney making the flip to Reyes at second base in time.

Miller (1-0), who got the win in game four of the Mills Cup series last year in Wilmington, earned the win by allowing just one run and five hits in 5.2 innings. He walked two and struck out five. Johnson (0-1) was done in by that Kinston fifth and was touched for four runs on six hits in six innings. He walked two and struck out five. Sipp got the final five outs for his second straight save. Goleski and Reyes both got their first two RBI of the playoffs, and Head had two doubles. A night after Kinston stranded 17 runners on base, the Keys left 14 on base, including 10 in the final four innings.

The deciding game five in this series is scheduled for 7 p.m. today, although Hurricane Ophelia may impact things. Lefty Chuck Lofgren (0-0, 0.00 ERA) will make his K-Tribe debut.