PawSox Use Big Eighth Inning to Top RailRiders

Much like opening night at PNC Field, a five-run inning doomed the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Triple-A/New York Yankees) as they fell to the Pawtucket Red Sox for a second straight night, 9-4.

Pawtucket got off to a good start by scoring two runs in the first. Jeremy Hazelbaker led off with an infield single, and moved to second on Justin Henry‘s single. Drew Sutton then walked to load the bases, and two outs later, Brandon Snyder forced a single to center field, plating Hazelbaker and Henry to give the Red Sox a 2-0 lead.

The Red Sox punched across another run in the fifth. With one out, Hazelbaker tripled to left field, and later scored on a sacrifice fly to left field by Henry.

The PawSox lead remained 3-0 until the RailRiders evened the score in the seventh. Walks to Melky Mesa and Cody Johnson and a single by Austin Romine loaded the bases to begin the inning. Thomas Neal then doubled to right field, clearing the bases and knotting the game up at three.

The game did not remain tied for long, as Pawtucket vaulted in front in the eighth. Henry and Sutton began the inning with a single and double respectively to put runners at second and third. After Lavarnway was intentionally walked, Bryce Brentz reached on a fielder’s choice that scored Henry, and Lavarnway was tagged out at second. Snyder then singled to left, plating Sutton. Mark Hamilton received his first start of the season, and made the most of it by hitting a home run to right field, clearing Brentz and Snyder off the base paths, and giving the PawSox the lead, 8-3.

Scranton/Wilkes-Barre brought one run back in the bottom of the eighth. Zoilo Almonte singled, advanced to second when Mesa walked, and scored on Romine’s single up the middle.

Pawtucket added an insurance run in the ninth. With one out, Sutton singled, and advanced to third when Lavarnway doubled to left field. Brentz followed with a double of his own, scoring Sutton and giving the game its final margin, 9-4 in favor of the Red Sox.

Oscar Villarreal (1-0) worked the sixth and seventh innings to get the win. Josh Romanski (0-1) pitched the eighth inning for the RailRiders, and picked up the loss.

Both starters were sharp in their first outing of the year. Pawtucket’s Allen Webster tossed five scoreless innings with five strikeouts. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre’s Dellin Betances worked four innings, striking out four while shutting out the PawSox in the second, third, and fourth innings.

An exciting night of fun and giveaways awaits fans at PNC Field for Saturday night. The first 2,500 fans will receive a Greg Legg bobblehead, and a bonus fireworks show will follow the conclusion of the game. First pitch against Pawtucket is slated for 7:05 p.m., with gates opening at 6:05 p.m.

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