Bombers rally for two in the eighth to push past Tigers
STATEN ISLAND, NY- A two-run eighth inning rally was enough to get their six-game homestand started on the right foot.
Jose Gil's two out RBI single to right center scored Braedyn Pruitt for the winning run in a 3-2 comeback victory over Oneonta before 2,749 on an overcast night at Richmond County Bank Ballpark Monday night.
The win was Staten Island's third in four and improved the club to 22-17, allowing them to remain five behind first place Brooklyn. More importantly, they gained a game on Oneonta in the wildcard race to pull within half a game of the Tigers and a game behind Vermont and Lowell who are tied for first in the Stedler Division.
"That was huge. That's a big game. We needed that. These guys are one game ahead of us for the wildcard. So it's a good win," centerfielder Taylor Holiday pointed out after leading off the eighth with a bunt single down the third base line before coming around to score the tying run on a one out Pruitt RBI single to right.
"I looked horrible on the pitch earlier in that at bat. He gave me a curveball. Just stayed with it. Luckily, I managed to get one hand on it and get it out there," Pruitt said after digging out of an 0-2 hole to deliver the tying hit off losing Oneonta reliever Jacob Ramos (1-1).
As it turned out, the first baseman's only hit of the night proved to be a big one. Ramos was replaced by Erik Crichton. The reliever just got David Williams on a comebacker which he knocked down before rifling a strike to first which put Pruitt in scoring position setting the stage for Gil. The catcher went with a pitch to right serving it to the opposite field to plate Pruitt for the winning run.
The two run rally helped pickup comebacking reliever Jason Stephens and closer Jonathan Ortiz after they gave up two runs in the top half of the frame on a hit batsman (Jorge Patino) and a four pitch walk to Kody Kaiser.
"Both of those guys have been doing great for us. They're coming in and really really closing the door," added Pruitt.
For much of the game, pitching dominated the night. Bomber starter Ryan Pope turned in his best outing in his third start by working the first four scoreless on just one hit while walking two and striking out six.
The 22 year-old Savannah Georgia native was staked to a one-run lead thanks to a D.J. Hollingsworth fly ball bloop which just dropped in front of Oneonta centerfielder Mike Sullivan to score Williams for the game's first run.
Jason Kiley and Stephens tossed three consecutive scoreless innings in relief of Pope before Oneonta rallied for two to go ahead in the eighth with two outs. Fortunately, the S.I. bats awakened in time to pull out the victory.
After walking in the lead run, Ortiz settled down to strike out three (all swinging) of the last four he faced including Cory Middleton to end it, picking up his first win in the process.
Notes: Former Baby Bomber shortstop Luis Nunez was promoted to Single-A Charleston Monday night to take the place of one-time S.I. Yankee Eduardo Nunez who got moved up to Tampa. Utility man Justin Snyder played short in his place and finished 1-for-4. ... With a hit in three plate appearances, second baseman Damon Sublett has hit in eight of his last nine games. ... Despite a walk and run scored, Williams had an eight-game hitting streak snapped. ... Even though it was a lowscoring game, it still took three hours and 13 minutes to complete. ... SP Chris Farley takes the hill in the second game of the series later tonight with first pitch scheduled for 7:10.