JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. – With two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning, Austin Conner (Sevierville, Tenn.) hit Jimmy Rice (Middlesex, N.J.) on the left bicep with the bases loaded to score Ryan Addington (Cincinnati, Ohio) and propel Brandon Roberts's Blue Bantus to a 9-8 victory and a 3-1 series win over Lee Haeberle's Juicemen Monday afternoon at the Silver Diamond Baseball Complex.
The Juicemen struck first with a pair of runs scoring in the second inning. Cade Snapp (Seymour, Tenn.) looped a double into the left-center field gap to begin the stanza. Following a punch out, Kai Storm (Simi Valley, Calif.) walked back-to-back hitters to load the bases. Jordan Hinshaw (Elizabethon, Tenn.) popped a 0-1 pitch into right field that was not played to score Snapp. A passed ball on a strikeout allowed the game's second run to cross the plate.
Juicemen starter Reece Westmoreland walked Mark Treadway to begin the bottom of the third inning. After fouling off pitches, Storm helped his own cause with a two-run home run over the right-center field fence to tie the score at two.
In the top of the fourth frame, the Juicemen batted around and scored five times against three pitchers. Hinshaw and Eric Lynch (Boonton, N.J.) notched RBI doubles sandwiched around an RBI base hit from Westmoreland. The inning was capped by a two-run triple from Hunter Wood (College Grove, Tenn.) to make it 7-2.
The Bantus sent 10 men to the dish and score six times to take the lead in the bottom half of the fourth. After a strikeout began the frame, the next eight batters reached safely with Will Findley (Wilmington, Del.) doubled home a run. Pinch-hitting Ethan Goforth (Blacksburg, Va.) knocked home two with a double down the left-field line. Addington followed with a two-run double. Joey Selitto (Newton, N.J.) put the Bantus ahead with a base to center field.
Haeberle's group tied the score in the top of the sixth inning with Wood capping a string of three straight singles to score Trever Lee (Garner, N.C.) and equalize the game at eight.
Grant Rabbitts picks up the win on the mound for the Bantus tossing three frames of relief allowing one earned run on three hits, one walk to go along with a strikeout.
Selitto and Rice each went 2-for-4 for the Bantus. Catcher Greg Jones (Maryville, Tenn.) reached base four times with two walks and being hit by a pitch
The Juicemen's pitching staff walked 10 batters and hit two more in the contest. Wood led the Orange side with two hits and three RBIs.
The Bantus win a t-shirt and are in the driver's seat for the meal at Gondolier with a 41-24 lead in the scoring for the series.
Game five will be broadcast on the Eagle Sports Network Tuesday afternoon at 3 p.m. with the first pitch at the Silver Diamond Baseball Complex.