The Kinston Indians ushered in the final home stand of 2011 in dramatic fashion Tuesday night, beating the Keys 2-1 in walk off fashion at Historic Grainger Stadium.
Marty Popham was cruising early, retiring the first 12 men he faced in a perfect first four innings. With two outs in the fourth, however, his night came to a close. Popham was drilled in the left leg on a comebacker to the mound off the bat of short stop Manny Machado. Popham finished the play to end the inning but never returned.
The Indians snapped the scoreless tie in the seventh. Keys starter Scott Copeland started the inning and with one out, gave up a single and walked a man before departing. Reliever Justin Moore did not offer much help, walking the bases full and walking in the K-Tribe’s first run before getting a fluke double play to end the inning. A squeeze bunt attempt went bad for Kinston. Argenis Martinez popped the bunt to Moore, who caught the ball, turned and fired to third to double off Casey Frawley, who was moving on the play.
Kinston’s Trey Haley entered in the eighth for his second inning of work and gave up a single to leadoff man Miguel Abreu. Haley was promptly pulled for lefty Chris Jones. Jones could not get out of the inning before allowing an rbi double from Brian Ward to tie the game. The K-Tribe was held scorless by Frederick’s Ashur Tolliver in the eighth. Tolliver would not benefit from the same luck in the ninth.
Casey Frawley began the frame by singling. Justin Toole promptly laid a sacrifice bunt down in front of the mound and saw Tolliver opt to try to get Frawley at second. Frawley slid in safely on a close play, leaving the Keys defense without a play at first. Roberto Perez drew a walk and with the bases loaded Tyler Cannon came to the plate in a pinch hitting role for Argenis Martinez. Cannon drew a 2-2 count before lacing the game winner, a deep drive to center field that easily cleared a drawn in outfield.
Chris Jones picked up the victory with two innings of one hit baseball.
The K-Tribe gained a half game on Winston-Salem to draw within one game of the idle first place Dash.
Game two in the final four game home series in Kinston’s regular season starts Wednesday night at 6:30 pm.