The K-Mets scored six runs in the fifth inning and added three more in the seventh to escape with a 9-8 Appalachian League win over the Princeton Rays at Hunter Wright Stadium.
The win was the third straight for Kingsport (11-12), which picked up its first Appy League sweep of the season.
The victory also gave Kingsport its eighth straight win over Princeton and its second straight sweep of the Rays at Hunter Wright Stadium.
Kingsport and Princeton (10-13) were scoreless through the first three innings of play until Princeton’s Gionti Turner smacked a two-run home run to put the Rays up 2-0.
Kingsport, which was held to one hit by Princeton starting pitcher Taj Bradley through the first four innings, exploded in the fifth for six runs on five hits and two Princeton errors to take a 6-2 lead.
The K-Mets led the rest of the way.
Princeton added another run in the top of the seventh inning, but Kingsport answered with three runs in the bottom of the frame.
The K-Mets highlighted the seventh-inning offensive attack with singles from Scott Ota and Francisco Alvarez and a sacrifice fly from Andres Regnault.
NOT GOING AWAY
Despite falling behind big, Princeton continued to battle.
The Rays scored two more runs in the eighth inning when Luis Leon walked and scored later in the inning on a single from Turner.
Turner added the second run for Princeton when he scored on a fielding error by K-Mets third baseman Jaylen Palmer.
DOWN TO THE WIRE
The excitement continued in the top of the ninth inning.
Leon, who finished the game 3-for-4 with two RBIs for the Rays, delivered a two-RBI double to cut the Kingsport lead to 9-7.
A single from Turner, who went 3-for-5 with two RBIs, moved Leon to third.
Leon then scored to cut the K-Mets lead to one run and Turner moved to second when Jhosner Vargas grounded out to second base.
Turner then stole third base to put the potential tying run just 90 feet away for the Rays.
After giving up a walk to Angelo Armenta, Kingsport reliever Josh Hejka picked up his first save of the season by getting Aldenis Sanchez to fly out to center field for the final out of the game.
BY THE NUMBERS
Kingsport starting pitcher Cesar Loaiza (1-0) picked up the win after five solid innings on the mound.
The hard-throwing left-hander gave up two runs on four hits with five strikeouts and one walk.
Hejka came on in relief to get the final three outs to pick up the save.
Princeton’s Bradley (0-3) took the loss. He gave up five runs on three hits with six strikeouts and two walks in four and two-thirds innings of work.
AT THE PLATE
Kingsport’s Cristopher Pujols went 2-for-4 with two RBIs, while Alvarez was 2-for-4 with an RBI. Ota went 3-for-5 for the K-Mets.
Kingsport continues its homestretch Saturday by opening a series with Greeneville.
The visiting Reds (10-13) are coming off a sweep of Danville.
Saturday’s first pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.