BURLINGTON—The Rookie Royals managed their first home win (and sixth overall) Thursday, defeating the Elizabethton Twins 5-4.
A solid four innings from rehabbing starter Nolan Watson laid the foundation for a victory the Royals desperately needed. The erstwhile Lexington Legend allowed one run on three hits, striking out five along the way.
Twins starter Melvi Acosta held serve for a while, finally succumbing to a sustained home rally in the fifth. Travis Jones notched his second of three hits on the night with a leadoff double, and was succeeded by singles from Oliver Nuñez and Michael Gigliotti. Jovani Morán came on in relief and immediately allowed two runs to score on a balk and a wild pitch. An RBI double from Reed Rohlman capped off the outburst.
Prior to the bottom of the fifth, the teams had been locked in a 1-1 pitchers’ duel, the visitors’ coming on an Andrew Bechtold single and the hosts’ courtesy of a sac fly by Jeison Guzmán. J.C. Cloney earned the win with four shutout innings, a one-man bridge to the closer.
Baseball, of course, is never that simple. Collin Snider allowed three runs in two-thirds of an inning, chased from the bump by Wander Javier’s two-run homer. Tyler Zuber came on for the one-out save, and that was that. The rubber game is Friday night, Sal Biasi making his Appalachian League debut for Burlington against Elizabethton’s lefty Charlie Barnes.