BRISTOL, Va. - Batting practice broke out at DeVault Stadium.
During a game.
Bristol batted around three times in the opening five innings, finishing the game with 16 hits in scoring a season-high in runs for a 19-5 Appalachian League beating of the Kingsport Mets on Saturday night in front of 625 spectators at Boyce Cox Field.
“That was a good win for us,” Bristol third baseman Matt Morrow said. “Everybody was on all cylinders and it was good. It was a good game. We needed that. It was a good team win.”
Morrow, batting second in the order, had three of those hits and reached base five times. He singled and scored in the first, doubled and scored in the third and was hit by a pitch and scored in the fifth. He also had an RBI single in the seventh and drew a walk in the second.
“We were going around and around and it was like, ‘Man, I might end up with eight at-bats or something like that,’” said Morrow, a product of Wright State, who was signed as a free agent last June by Pittsburgh. “It was a good game. It was definitely fun. It was fun to do it with the team.”
Eight of the nine Bristol starters reached base at least twice and scored at least two runs. The Pirates also drew six walks, had five batters hit by pitches and took advantage of four Kingsport errors to split the four-game series with the Mets.
Three Pirates drove in four runs apiece, including Francisco Acuna, whose two-run double highlighted a five-run first inning, forcing the Mets to remove starter Christopher Dominquez after just six batters. Daniel Rivero and Jesus Valdez also had four RBIs, with Rivero’s big blast being a three-run home run in the seven-run third. Valdez also had a two-run double in the same frame.
Bristol added four runs in the fifth, keyed by a two-run single by Ernny Ordonez and three more crossed in the seventh on a trio of RBI singles from Rivero, Morrow and Valdez.
Morrow, whose dirty uniform was evidence that he had played in a game, continues to adjust in his second season of professional baseball after a successful stint at Wright State.
Really it is just the focus day in and day out. You play every day so it is just really coming with that consistency every single day,” Morrow said. “I think a lot of it is just taking care of your body on and off the field is really what it comes down to. It is just your job now.”
Kingsport, which had just one infield hit through four innings, got on the board in the fifth off winning pitcher Luis Arrieta with an RBI single from Jaylin Palmer and a two-run home run from Wilfred Astudillo. Andres Regnault hit a solo homer in the fifth, and a fifth run scored on a an error in the sixth after a double from Regnault and a single by Gregory Guerrero.
Morrow said it was a key win for the Pirates, especially after the Mets scored six runs in the eighth on Friday and then held on for the win.
“Definitely to bounce back…, that was a big win for us so, no doubt,” he said.
Bristol starter Jose Maldonado worked the opening four innings, allowing just one infield hit. He struck out five and walked three. The first two Kingsport batters reached base, but Maldonado picked Brett Baty off second base and Eli Wilson caught Anthony Dirocie trying to steal second. Wilson also picked off Scott Ota at first in the second.
Arrieta picked up the win in relief, while Matt Eardensohn was credited with a save after working the final three innings.
Bristol (24-26) moved back into third place in the West Division, moving a half-game ahead of the Mets (24-27). Elizabethton, which trails Johnson City by one game in the West, is still two games ahead of the Pirates for the second playoff spot in the West.
“We want to win, no doubt,” said Morrow, whose Pirates still have 17 games left this season, including just eight of those at home. “We came here with a goal to win so no doubt we are definitely going to be on their heels and if they slip we will take advantage of it.”
Up next for the Pirates is Bluefield, who Bristol has yet to play this season. The first of a three-game series begins today at 6 p.m.
“We have not played Bluefield yet,” Morrow said. “We will see. We will just play against ourselves and let’s not beat ourselves and we have got a good chance of winning.”
NOTES: Nick Leyva, who managed the Bristol White Sox to the 2002 Appalachian League championship, threw out the ceremonial first pitch. Leyva also managed the Phillies and was a coach for five teams, including the 1993 Toronto Blue Jays that won the World Series...Kingsport manager Rich Donnelly, who spent nearly 30 years as a major league coach with seven different teams has written an inspiring book called “The Chicken Runs at Midnight.” It is the story of his 17-year-old daughter who died of cancer in 1993 at age 17. Donnelly was the third base coach when the Florida Marlins defeated the Cleveland Indians in the 1997 World Series…Donnelly’s staff includes former major leaguers Mariano Duncan and Jerome Williams.