The Asheville Tourists rallied to erase a four-run deficit in the bottom of the ninth inning and forced extra innings Thursday night against the Rome Braves. Asheville’s tenth inning rally came up just a few feet short and the Tourists dropped a wild one by the final score of 11-9.
Wilyer Abreu teed off with a pair of monstrous home runs in the game. His first was a two-run bomb in the second inning; however, it was his second home run that sent McCormick Field into a frenzy. Abreu launched a game-tying, solo home run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning to force extras.
Earlier in the ninth, Yainer Diaz hit a two-run home run to bring Asheville within one. Diaz came back to the plate with two outs in the bottom of the tenth. Two runners were aboard and the Tourists trailed by two. Diaz launched the first pitch he saw deep into centerfield. Rome’s outfielder, Michael Harris, raced back to the wall and made a leaping catch with no room to spare to end the game.
Asheville fell behind early 3-0 and also trailed 6-2 and 8-4 at different points in the game. The Tourists never quit and used timely pitching to keep the game within striking distance. Abreu paced the offense with his two home runs as well as an RBI double. Diaz finished 3-for-6 from the cleanup spot. Zach Daniels delivered two key hits late in the ballgame.
After the Tourists tied the game 8-8 in the ninth. The Braves received a gift in the top of the tenth. Freylin Garcia balked twice before throwing a pitch to allow their runner to score from second base. Shean Michel then hit a clutch two-out, two-run home run that gave Rome a three-run cushion. Despite everything, Asheville still came within a few feet of pulling out what would have been one of their craziest wins of the season.
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Written by Doug Maurer, Asheville Tourists.