Dwight Britton hit a two-run go-ahead homer and drove in five runs as the Pulaski Mariners completed a three-game sweep of the Kingston Mets. The blast followed Britton's two home runs yesterday and brought his total to six on the season.
The Mariners swept the Mets in a tense Appalachian League series that saw the benches clear in the bottom of the eighth after Jhamidy De Jesus took a pitch to the chest. It marked the third time Mets pitchers plunked De Jesus in the series.
Pulaski broke open the 3-3 tie in the fourth when Britton hit a sailing beauty over the left field wall to gain the two-run lead. Britton's line drive in the fifth gave the Mariners a 7-3 lead, but also resulted in a scary moment on the field.
Mets' left fielder Kurt Steinhauer scooped up Britton's single and gunned it toward the mound, but instead drilled his teammate, shortstop Ryan Mollica, in the back of the head. Mollica fell face first to the dirt, and showed little movement for what seemed like an eternity. After dizzily making his way to the dugout, Mollica left in an ambulance for Pulaski Community Hospital a few minutes later. There is no official word on his condition at this time, but a severe concussion is likely.
Colin Buckborough (2-0) pitched 2 1/3 innings in relief, giving up three runs but exiting in the seventh inning with a 7-6 lead. Johnathan White (1-3) took the loss for the Mets, giving up eight hits and two walks in four innings of relief. Eric Valdez pitched a flawless ninth inning, striking out two for his second save of the year.
The Mariners (13-16) have now won four games in a row, but still trail the division leading Danville Braves by 7.5 games in the short-season rookie league. Pulaski continues their seven-game homestand tomorrow with a four-game series against the Bristol White Sox (13-17). The Mets fall to 10-19 and return home tomorrow to face the Elizabethton Twins. The Twins hold the league's best record at 22-8.
Game Notes: Britton is now tied for the Mariners' lead in both home runs and RBI, with six and 18, respectively...Mariners' first-round pick Steve Baron knocked in his seventh RBI in just his sixth career professional game...Pulaski committed four errors in the game, bringing their total to 61 in just 29 games.