Charlotte, N.C. – It started so well. The Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Triple-A/New York Yankees) leapt out to a 6-0 lead and starter Bryan Mitchell was dealing. Then came the comeback. The host Charlotte Knights (Chicago White Sox) roared back for a 6-6 deadlock, then answered a ninth-inning deficit with back-to-back home runs for an 8-7 walk-off win on Thursday night.
Run-scoring hits by Kyle Roller and Ramon Flores highlighted a three-run first frame for SWB against starter Kyle Drabek. Roller went opposite field for his second home run and a 4-0 margin in the third and Austin Romine began the fourth with his first home run to make it 5-0. Big-league rehabber Jose Pirela doubled in a run that same frame to round out the early offensive.
During that time, Mitchell appeared unhittable. He had allowed just one baserunner with a full-count walk through three before Carlos Sanchez sparked the fourth with a broken-bat blooper for a single. All nine men in Charlotte’s lineup came to the plate in the three-run inning that saw run-scoring hits from Dan Black and Jason Coats along with a bases-loaded walk drawn by Kevan Smith. Mitchell left the bases loaded by striking out Leury Garcia to end the inning.
Reliever Jacob Lindgren surrendered a pair of runs in the fifth with a Pirela error plating Neftali Soto and Black scoring Matt Davidson on a sac fly to left. Consecutive extra-base hits courtesy of Trayce Thompson and Black off Branden Pinder in the seventh tied the game, 6-6.
Cole Figueroa worked a leadoff walk against Eric Surkamp (2-0) in the ninth and later scored from second on Rob Refsnyder‘s single to center. However, Charlotte again responded when Soto and Davidson hit back-to-back home runs to left-center off southpaw Tyler Webb (0-2) to end it.
The four-game series continues on Friday night at 7:05 p.m. Southpaw Matt Tracy (0-0, 6.00) will get the nod for SWB against Charlotte right-hander Shawn Haviland (0-1, 3.45).
OFF THE RAILS:
Both Branden Pinder and Tyler Webb were charged with a blown save. The RailRiders have blown nine saves in 14 tries on the season.
It marked the second time this road trip the RailRiders lost on a ninth-inning walk-off homer. Gwinnett’s Cedric Hunter blasted a walk-off winner in Lawrenceville on Monday night.
The RailRiders fell to 1-3 on their road trip.
The RailRiders hit into a season-worst four double plays.
No IL team has a better record in one-run games than Charlotte (5-1).
SWB suffered its biggest blown lead in a loss in the RailRiders era (since 2013).