The return of a familiar face and a brilliant bullpen was the story as Kinston beat Potomac 5-3 Monday night in Woodbridge, Virginia. With the win, Kinston has won six of their last seven games. The K-Tribe is now just five games out of first place in the Carolina League Southern Division.
Playing in his first game since April 12th, Kinston first baseman Jeremie Tice hit a three-run home run in his first at-bat. The game began with Potomac starter Cameron Selik walking Tyler Holt and Casey Frawley. With one out in the inning, Tice hit the home run over the left field wall. Tice was on the disabled list with a wrist injury since April 16th and had played only four games this season.
Toru Murata made the spot start for Kinston and carried a perfect game into the fourth inning. Back-to-back singles from Eury Perez and Jeff Kobernus, and a two-out intentional walk loaded the bases for Potomac. The K-Tribe went to the bullpen for Francisco Jimenez, who coaxed Potomac’s Sandy Leon into grounding out to end the inning and the threat. Murata ended up going 3 2/3 innings, giving up just two hits while striking out five.
The Indians would add a run in the top of the sixth. Tice would single with one-out in the inning. With two-outs in the frame, Nationals left fielder J.P. Ramirez dropped a fly ball off the bat of Tyler Cannon. The error would prove costly as a walk by Justin Toole would load the bases. Potomac pitcher Adam Olbrychowski would then walk Perez to drive in Tice, giving Kinston a 4-0 lead. Tice went 2-for-3 with three RBI and two runs scored. Tice also made a great defensive play at first base to save a run in the fourth inning.
Potomac would chip away, scoring two runs in the sixth inning and one in the seventh to trim the lead to one. Kinston reliever Jimenez went 1 2/3 innings, giving up three hits and two runs. Jimenez (1-0) struck out three for his first win of the season. Jose Flores picked up a hold with 1 2/3 innings of work. He gave up two hits and one run. Adam Miller pitched a perfect eighth inning for his first hold of the year, striking out one. Preston Guilmet picked up his ninth save in as many opportunities, striking out one in a perfect ninth. Guilmet has yet to give up a run in 16 2/3 innings of work this season. The bullpen did not walk a batter.
The two teams will meet up again for game two of the three game series Tuesday night in Woodbridge, Virginia. Clayton Cook will get the start for Kinston. Kinston returns home to Grainger Stadium for a holiday homestand May 26th through June 2nd. Find us on facebook, twitter and at www.kinstonindians.com!