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Gastonia Rallies for Six in Late Innings

For 6 1/3 innings on Tuesday evening, Nile Ball dominated the Gastonia Baseball Club.  A one-out single in the seventh, only the second allowed by the Lancaster right-hander in the game, led to his removal.  Gastonia pounced on the opportunity and struck for eight runs in the next two innings to overturn a Stormers lead and go on to win, 8-5, in the opener of a three-game series.

It was Lancaster’s 11th loss in the last 14 games. 

Ball struck out a career-high 11 in his 6 1/3 inning stint.  Over the first four innings, the Georgia native retired 12 of 13 with one batter reaching on an error.  He escaped a bases loaded jam in the fifth, giving up his first hit of the night, a Braxton Davidson single.  He retired the side in order in the sixth and coaxed a pop up out of Mazeika to open the seventh.  Jake Gatewood singled past shortstop Nick Lucky, and Ball was lifted for Max Green with the Stormers up, 3-0.

Green allowed a two-run homer to Eric De La Rosa on a drive down the right field line.  The ball was initially ruled foul, but the umpires met and overturned the decision.  Replays showed the ball was fair.

Jack Conley singled home a pair of runs in the home seventh, stretching Lancaster’s lead back to three, but the top of the eighth produced a series of mishaps that led to six Gastonia runs.

Jackson Rees started the inning for the Stormers and allowed leadoff singles to Jack Reinheimer and Josh Stowers around a wild pitch.  Kevin Watson, Jr. singled off the glove of first baseman Joseph Carpenter to produce the first run of the inning.  A second wild pitch moved the tying runs into scoring position before Rees struck out Justin Wylie for the first out.  Left-hander Justin Kelly was summoned to face Mazeika and issued a walk to load the bases.  Another walk to Jake Gatewood forced home the visitors’ fourth run and a wild pitch allowed the game to be tied. 

Chad Sedio made a diving catch of Davidson’s foul ball for the second out, and Lancaster again switched pitchers, this time bringing out James Hoyt.  De La Rosa hit a smash to the left of shortstop Nick Lucky, who made a sliding stop to his left, but was unable to pick the ball out of his glove cleanly allowing the lead run to score.

Dean Miller added the clinching blow, a two-run double to left center.

Bryan Blanton (1-1) threw 1 1/3 scoreless innings for the win.  Phoenix Sanders followed and tossed a clean ninth for his fourth save.

The same two teams will meet on Wednesday evening.  Right-hander Noah Bremer (1-1) will pitch for the Stormers against lefty Zac Lowther (2-0).  Fans may tune in on Blue Ridge 11 or Flo Baseball, starting at 6:30.

NOTES:  Cristian Santana went 4-for-4 to extend his hitting streak to 11 games…He has hit safely in 21 of 22 and leads the league with a.409 average…He homered for the first time since May 4…Lancaster stole five bases off Gastonia reliever Zach Vennaro in the seventh inning…Sedio had his third straight multi-hit game…The Stormers left 14 runners on base.