South Atlantic League – July 28, 2014 – Savannah Sand Gnats/Lexington Legends Split DH
It was a night for big hitting and big pitching – for both teams, as both the Savannah Sand Gnats and the Lexington Legends got quality outings from their pitchers as well as big run support in their wins. The win in the second half of the double-header ended Savannah’s four game losing streak, and moved them to within 5.5 games of the first place Asheville Tourists.
In the first game of the double-header Lexington starter Alec Mills (1-0) dominated the Sand Gnats for six innings, yielding just one hit and two walks, while striking out seven. Robinson Yambati came on to close out the shutout, and send the Legends to the 7-0 win. RF Dexter Kjerstad was the big hero at the plate, going 3-3, with two runs scored and three RBI. He fell a single short of hitting for the cycle, including hitting his fourth home run of the year in the fifth inning. Savannah starter Alex Panteliodis went the distance, but gave up 10 hits and seven runs in six innings of work.
The night cap was a pitcher’s duel for much of the game, until Savannah was able to score four in the fifth. The Sand Gnats loaded the bases on a hit and two walks, before Matt Oberste delivered the big hit, a three-run double that cleared the bases and gave Savannah a lead they would not relinquish. Cole Frenzel would follow with his fourth double of the year, scoring Oberste, and it was a 4-0 Sand Gnats lead.
Lexington would attempt to battle back however. After Kjerstad walked with one out, and Fred Ford would hit his 10th home run of the year, to cut the lead in half. Starter Miller Diaz was immediately relieved, despite the fact that the home run was the first hit he had allowed in the game. He had also walked two and struck out six. Brett Mitchell replaced Diaz, and gave up two hits, before retiring the final two batters of the inning.
The Sand Gnats would put the game out of reach when they would score three runs in the top of the seventh to improve their lead to 7-2. 3B Cole Frenzel would have the big blow of the inning, a two-run shot that put Savannah ahead 6-2 at that point.
The Legends had a particularly tough night at the plate getting just three hits and two walks. Legends’ batters would also strike out 13 times, including three times by SS Humberto Arleaga and LF Alexis Rivera.
By Robert Pannier
Senior Baseball Editor