Kingsport’s Johander Saez got the biggest hit of the night.
The 21-year-old left fielder from Margarita, Venezuela, delivered a two-out, two-RBI single to left field to lift the host K-Mets to an 8-6 win over the Princeton Rays.
The win was the second straight for Kingsport and clinched the three-game series with Princeton.
It’s the first series win of the season for the K-Mets since the club won the series at Burlington June 24-26.
MAKING IT COUNT
Saez finished the night going 2-for-3 with a walk and three RBIs for Kingsport (10-12).
The most important plate appearance of the game, and perhaps of the season thus far for Saez, came in the bottom of the eighth inning.
Batting in the ninth spot, Saez stepped to the plate with two outs, the score tied 6-6 and Christopher Pujols at third base and Gregory Guerrero on first.
Saez answered with a line drive off Princeton pitcher Mitchell Walters to deep left field. The shot was deep enough to score Pujols from third and the speedy Guerrero from first and put the K-Mets back on top of a game that saw the lead see-saw between the two squads.
Kingsport closer Reyson Santos came to the mound to shut down Princeton (10-12) and pick up his fourth save of the season.
K-METS JUMP AHEAD EARLY
Kingsport wasted little time taking a lead in Thursday’s game.
The K-Mets got back to back home runs in the bottom of the first from Francisco Alvarez and Brett Baty, the Mets’ No. 1 pick and 12th overall pick in the 2019 MLB draft.
Baty, who came to Kingsport on July 2, has come out of a hitting slump the last two nights. After starting his career in the Appy League going 0-for-14, the 19-year-old had a single in Wednesday’s win over Princeton and went 2-for-4 with a homer, a double, two RBIs and scored two runs in Thursday’s win.
Alvarez also had a big night for Kingsport, finishing 2-for-2 with a home run and a single, two walks and two RBIs and two runs scored.
After jumping ahead on the power of Alvarez and Baty in the first inning, Kingsport added another run in the second and two more in the third to build a 5-0 advantage.
Princeton turned things around in the fourth inning.
The Rays scored five runs on five hits, a walk and two Kingsport errors.
Princeton took a 6-5 lead in the sixth inning when Angel Armenta reached on an error and later scored on an RBI single from Nick Schnell.
Kingsport answered in the seventh inning when lead-off hitter Kennie Taylor singled, moved to third on a single from Alvarez and then scored on a passed ball to tie the game at 6.
ESCORCHA GETS THE WIN
Jefferson Escorcha (3-0) picked up the win after throwing three innings of relief pitching.
The lefty gave up one run with no walks and one strikeout while working the sixth, seventh and eighth innings.
Princeton’s Angel Felipe (2-2) took the loss after surrendering three runs on two hits with two walks and two strikeouts in one and two-third innings of work.
The teams are scheduled to conclude the three-game series Friday at Hunter Wright Stadium.
First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m.