LEXINGTON, Ky. (KT) - The Lexington Legends bounced back from their extra-inning loss Monday night, beating Lakewood 5-2 at Whitaker Bank Ball Park on Tuesday to even the South Atlantic League best-of-five championship series at a game apiece.
Just like in the series opener, the Legends jumped out to a 5-0 lead, but this time were able to hang on for the win.
M.J. Melendez got things started early for the Legends. Batting second in the bottom of the first inning, the designated hitter blasted a solo home run to right field, giving the Legends a 1-0 lead.
In the bottom of the third, Legends center fielder Kyle Isbel led off with a single to right field then advanced to second when Lakewood pitcher Kyle Young balked. 1B Nick Pratto then lined a double to right centerfield, moving Isbel to third. Left Fielder Brewer Hicklen grounded out to the third baseman, allowing Isbel to score and Lexington led 2-0.
In the seventh inning, RF Cal Jones led off with a single up the middle then moved to second on a single by Isbel. An RBI single by Melendez brought home Jones, and Isbel moved to third, then scored on a wild pitch thrown by Julian Garcia. Pratto lined an RBI single to right field and Lexington led 5-0.
Lakewood scored their only runs of the game in the top of the eighth inning. LF Matt Vierling led off with a single and catcher Rodolfo Duran hit a two-run homer to make the4 score 5-2.
Jackson Kowar picked up the win, pitching five shutout innings, allowing two hits while walking one and striking out five. Kyle Young took the loss for the BlueClaws. He lasted four innings, giving up two runs on four hits while walking two and striking out two. Tad Ratliff earned the save for the Legends, pitching the ninth inning allowing one hit while striking out two.
The two teams head to Lakewood, New Jersey, for the final games of the championship series. Game three will be played Thursday, game four on Friday, with game five, if needed, on Saturday.