Twins survive duo Cardinal power splurge

Published 6:00 am Tuesday, August 13, 2019

On Saturday night the Elizabethton Twins survived a combined six-for-seven hitting splurge with four home runs by the Johnson City duo of Mateo Gil and Aaron Antonini in a 13-7 win at Northeast Community Credit Union Ball Park.
It was Star Wars Night and the ‘force’ was undoubtedly with the hitters as six baseballs left the yard on the fly between the two clubs.
The Twins (26-24) got a 3-for-3 outing from third baseman Seth Gray and a three-RBI night by left fielder Max Smith to offset the Cardinals power duo.
Twins first baseman Parker Phillips hit his third homer of the season and right fielder Matt Wallner his fifth as he seems to be finding his college power stroke where he led Southern Mississippi in career home runs.
“We’ll take an ugly win over a clean loss,” Twins manager Ray Smith said. “Those are the kind of games you are going to get at this level, sometimes you’re on the delivering end and sometimes the receiving end. “Typically, in the last couple weeks of August in this league, it seems to me the games kind of clean up a little bit.”
Tyler Benninghoff got the start and he pitched 4.1 innings giving up four runs (all earned) on four hits with six walks and four strikeouts.
He surrendered two of the four blasts by the Cardinals and in the fifth, he gave up Gil’s first homer and issued walks to both John Torres and Malcolm Nunez before being replaced by Ryan Shreve.
Elizabethton jumped out to a 6-0 first-inning lead with all the runs coming across with two outs in the stanza. Wallner singled and came home on Phillips home run to right-centerfield for a 2-0 Twins advantage.
The Twins hit parade continued with Gray’s single to right and Smith walked before a single by first baseman Trevor Jensen loaded the bases.
An infield tapper on an excuse-me swing by shortstop Will Holland plated the third run of the frame and Willie Joe Garry, Jr. belted a two-run single to cap off the inning.
Antonini’s first shot came in the top of the second and was a three-run blast with Trejyn Fletcher and William Jimenez on board to cut the Twins lead to 6-3. Antonini finished the game 3-for-3 with four runs batted in.
Shreve (1-2) got the win with 2.2 innings of work. He gave up two runs (earned) on four hits, including a solo shot from Gil in the seventh.
“Shreve came out and got that slider working,” Smith said. “He was able to command that breaking ball where Benninghoff struggled and I think he tried to force things a little. “We sent Erik Cha up to Cedar Rapids earlier today so I didn’t have him to call on which made us a little short in the pen.”
Wallner hit a solo blast in the second and Smith’s sacrifice fly brought home Gray who doubled in front of him for an 8-3 Betsy lead.
Smith had a two-run, bases-loaded single in the fourth as Elizabethton extended to a 10-3 lead.
Right-hander Tyler Beck – in just his third appearance since his call from the GCL – surrendered Antonini’s second homer in the seventh – a solo shot that made it an 11-6 contest at the time.
“My ERA in the GCL was a little inflated,” Beck admitted. “My strikeout numbers were good and it was a good way to bounce back from Thursday when I gave up a long one on a 3-2 pitch. “I feel like I definitely bounced back from that.”
Beck pitched two innings in this one giving up one run on the Antonini blast while striking out six and issuing just one free pass as his earned run average dropped to 1.29 for his time in the Appalachian League.
Twins 13-7
JC Cards 030 011 110 –   7 10 3
E-Twins  620 201 20x – 13 13 0
W – Shreve (1-2). L – Ortiz (0-3).

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