BRISTOL, Va. — The Kingsport Mets battered Bristol’s bullpen on Thursday, but the White Sox hurlers bounced back Friday night at DeVault Stadium to help capture the rubber game between Appalachian League foes.
Spencer Arroyo fired six shutout innings, Ethan Icard worked out of a jam in the seventh and Kevin Moran slammed the door in the ninth to preserve Bristol’s 3-2 victory. The Sox have now won eight of their last 10 games.
“We try to keep it going,” Arroyo said. “(We won) five in a row, lost one, but it’s good to start another streak.”
Arroyo gave up a hit in the top of the first before settling in and retiring 15 straight batters. Facing a free-swinging lineup, Arroyo struck out nine batters, walked none and allowed just two hits in six innings of work.
“I thought early on we let that pitcher get in a good groove,” Kingsport manager Mike DiFelice said. “The first inning or two I thought we were a little loose, maybe a little excited about last night and swinging the bats as well as we did.”
While Arroyo (2-1) was busy subduing Kingsport’s lineup, his teammates were providing him with some early run support. Jeffer Patino came up with an RBI single to get things going in the second inning, while Drew Lee and Daniel Black hit back-to-back doubles in the third to push the lead to 2-0.
Lee continued his hot hitting by going 3-for-4 with a stolen base and a run scored. The switch hitter has hit .386 over the last 10 games and has been a key cog in Bristol’s recent success.
“I’ve been fortunate,” Lee said. “I’ve been seeing it really well, and even when I’m not, my bat has run into the ball, which is nice.”
Gonzalez Germen and Albert Cordero were both bright spots for the K-Mets. Germen (1-3) took the loss, but looked much better than he did in his first three starts of the season. Germen surrendered two earned runs on five hits, but also struck out nine.
Cordero came up with a two-run single with two outs in the seventh to get the K-Mets within a run, but the comeback effort fell short. Icard got a strikeout to get out of the inning, Josh Billeaud held in the eighth and Moran picked up his third save of the season by working a 1-2-3 ninth.
“We ran into some pretty good pitching, but I thought we threw the ball pretty well, too,” DiFelice said. “We got a big two-out base hit and scored two right there, but they brought a couple guys in who threw the ball well.”
Bristol manager Ryan Newman was duly impressed with Arroyo’s performance, but the competitive fire he showed at the end of his outing also caught the skipper’s attention.
“He was solid for six innings and he wanted the ball going back out there for the seventh inning,” Newman said. “If it wasn’t rookie ball, we could send him back out there, but we just have too many guys in the bullpen that need the work.”
Kingsport will head home to begin a two-game set with Johnson City tonight at Hunter Wright Stadium. The first pitch is set for 7 o’clock.