07/10/06 — K-Tribe falls to Warthogs

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K-Tribe falls to Warthogs

By Steve Roush
Published in Sports on July 10, 2006 2:09 PM

KINSTON -- Jose Constanza scored on a wild pitch with two outs in the eighth to give the Kinston Indians a one-run lead, but Winston-Salem rallied to score a pair of runs in the ninth as the Warthogs nipped the K-Tribe on Sunday afternoon, 6-5.

Kinston (47-24, 9-8 second half) grabbed a 5-4 lead when the speedy Constanza, a 5-foot-9, 150-pound outfielder, singled with one out, hustled to third one out later on a single by Brandon Pinkney, then raced home with Brian Barton at the plate, sliding headfirst into home after the wild pitch just ahead of the tag by Warthog reliever Fernando Hernandez (5-3).

Constanza finished up 3-for-4 with an RBI and the big go-ahead run in the eighth.

"That was great hustle by Constanza," K-Tribe manager Tony Sarbaugh said. "Going first-to-third there and then scoring on that wild pitch. That was big -- it put us in a position to win."

Winston-Salem (38-32, 10-7 second half), however, clawed back into the game against K-Tribe closer Michael Finnocchi (0-1). Jose De Los Santos opened the inning with a single to right, and was sacrificed over to second on a bunt by Rod Allen. A throwing error by Kinston second baseman Argenis Reyes put runners at first and third, and leadoff hitter Sean Smith tied the game at five with a single to right center. The Warthogs then scored what proved to be the winning run when Victor Mercedes grounded to second. It was just the second time in 44 games that Kinston lost when taking a lead into the ninth inning.

"That error there really hurt," Sarbaugh said. "We were in a position to win, but we didn't get it done today. That's baseball."

The Indians, who took a three-game winning streak into the contest, led 3-0 early after scoring two runs in the second and one in the third. A single by Matt Whitney, an RBI double by Armando Camacaro, and a run-scoring single by Constanza staked the Indians to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the second against Winston-Salem starter Carlos Torres. The Tribe added another run the next inning when Barton walked, stole second and advanced to third when catcher Donnie Lucy's low throw skidded into the outfield, and scored on a sacrifice fly by Rodney Choy Foo.

Whitney, who was in an 0-for-44 hitting slump until he came through with the game-winning hit on Saturday night, finished up 2-for-5.

"Whitney had a pretty good game," Sarbaugh said. "He had two more hits today, which is good to see. He seems to be getting a little more confidence."

After throwing three scoreless innings, K-Tribe starter Scott Lewis ran into some trouble in the fourth.

With one out, Lewis gave up back-to-back singles to Daron Roberts and De Los Santos. Allen then tied the contest with a towering home run to left.

It was the first home run of the year given up by Lewis, a Carolina League All-Star who came into the contest with a 1-1 record and a magnificent 1.22 ERA. The 22-year-old, who is on a strict 70 pitch count, left the game after the inning.

The Warthogs took a 4-3 lead in the fifth when reliever Chris "Doodle" Hicks walked the first two batters he faced, and later gave up an RBI single to Lucy.

Hicks, however, settled down nicely and retired 10 straight hitters and was in position to win the game when the K-Tribe scored the go-ahead run in the eighth.

Down by one, Kinston tied the game in the seventh when shortstop Brandon Pinckney led off the inning with a double, and scored one out later on a double by left fielder Jordan Brown.

Brown, the clean-up hitter, was 3-for-5 with two doubles and an RBI. Pinckney went 2-for-5 with a double and a run scored.

"Jordan Brown had a real nice game for us," Sarbaugh said. "He's hitting the ball well right now."

The K-Tribe is back at home today for an 11 a.m. contest against the Warthogs.