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Lancaster Rallies in Ninth for 4-3 Victory

The Lancaster Barnstormers had the right man at the plate in a crucial situation.

Red hot Ariel Sandoval singled home the tying and lead runs with two outs in the top of the ninth as the Lancaster Barnstormers upended the Charleston Dirty Birds, 4-3, in the opener of a four-game weekend series at GoMart Ballpark in West Virginia.

Lancaster, which had just lost a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the eighth inning, was one out from defeat when Ricardo Gomez (0-3) hit Yeison Coca in the foot.  Melvin Mercedes took over as a pinch runner at first and moved to second on a single to left by Andretty Cordero.  A wild pitch by Gomez sent runners to second and third before Sandoval collected his third hit of the night on a liner to left.  Wilson Garcia tacked on a single to left before Ryan Clark got Trayvon Robinson to ground out, ending the inning.

Garrett Granitz (1-0) walked Yefri Perez with one out in the ninth and left after a Jalen Miller comebacker send Perez to second with the tying run.  After a nine-pitch battle, Brian Marconi set down Dwight Smith, Jr. swinging for the final out.

Sandoval homered in the first, and Coca singled home a run in the second to stake the Barnstormers to a 2-0 lead.  A sacrifice fly by Miller in the third produced the only run off Lancaster starter Spencer Johnston in seven innings.

After Lancaster left the bases loaded in the top of the eighth, Charleston went to work on Granitz in the bottom of the inning.  The submarine-style righty walked Smith, Jr. on four pitches.  Telvin Nash punched a single into center, and Granitz walked Bobby Bradley to fill the bags with nobody out.  Granitz bounced back to strike out Justin O’Connor for the first out.  Luis Roman hit a bounder past the mound.  Coca fielded the ball and stepped on second for the force.  His relay throw to first was a hair late.  Not only did Smith score the tying run, but designated runner Jose Bermudez raced home with the lead marker.  Granitz retired Yovan Gonzalez on a pop up to second to end the inning.

Lancaster will send Brent Teller (4-3) to the mound against right-hander Colt Webb (1-2) on Saturday at 4:05.  The game is scheduled early to clear the way for holiday weekend celebrations in downtown Charleston.  Fans may view the game on FloBaseball, beginning at 4:00.

NOTES:  The game was the first win for Lancaster this season when the club has trailed entering the final inning…Garcia has batted safely in 12 straight, tying the longest streak by a Barnstormer this season…Cordero, Sandoval and Garcia produced eight of Lancaster’s 10 hits…Johnston has allowed eight hits and three runs in 13 innings in his two starts…Sandoval is 9-for-20 with three homers and eight RBI on the road trip.