Mark Vientos, the Mets’ 2017 second-round pick, got his first hit of the Appalachian League season Wednesday.
After seven scoreless innings, Vientos delivered a single to score Shervyen Newton from second in the bottom of the eighth inning to give the Kingsport Mets (2-0) their first run of the game against the Princeton Rays.
From there, the floodgates opened.
The K-Mets proceeded to add seven more runs in the eighth on nine total hits in the inning on the way to an 8-0 victory over Princeton (0-2) at Hunter Wright Stadium.
“We finally woke the sticks up in the eighth. That was good for Mark. He was off to a little bit of a slow start. He came up in a big spot for us and got a big drop for us and drove that one run in and broke it open,” said K-Mets Manager Sean Ratliff.
Vientos, who was hitless against Princeton in the first game of the series on Tuesday, said there is some pressure on him. But his focus is on winning.
“I was just trying to drive in a run. Anything I could do to get a run in,” said Vientos. “I was just trying to hit the ball hard somewhere in a gap, in a hole. To drive in a run. That was the most important thing, and that’s what was on my mind.”
The game was evenly played through the first seven innings.
Both teams put the ball in play throughout the game, but neither squad could produce any offense.
Through the first seven innings, Kingsport put three runners in scoring position, while Princeton had two runners in scoring position.
Jose Butto pitched a solid six innings for the K-Mets, holding Princeton scoreless while giving up five hits with two strikeouts and one walk.
The start was Butto’s first time pitching in the U.S.
“That kid can really pitch. He’s got a really good demeanor on the mound, and he always wants to compete. He spun six quality innings for us and kept us in that ball game,” Ratliff said of Butto.
Dedneil Nunez (1-0) picked up the win in relief. Nunez pitched two innings and did not allow a hit. He struck out three and gave up one walk.
Princeton’s Juan Carlos Arias (0-1) took the loss. He was one of four P-Ray pitchers used in the game.
For the second game in a row, Newton had three hits for the K-Mets. He added two RBIs.
Luis Santana added two hits and an RBI, while Anthony Dirocie had two hits and two RBIs. Hayden Senger gave the K-Mets two hits and an RBI and Guillermo Granadillo finished with two hits.
No Princeton player had more than one hit in the game.
Going to Thursday’s game?
Princeton Rays (0-2) vs. K-Mets (2-0)
Where: Hunter Wright Stadium, Kingsport
When: 6:30 p.m.
Starting pitchers: Princeton, TBA; K-Mets, Nate Peden (0-0)
For the fans: City of Kingsport Employee Appreciation Night