Xavier Fernandez capped a five-run rally in the bottom of the ninth inning with a two-out, two-run single as the Lexington Legends defeated the Charleston RiverDogs 8-7 in front of 5,521 fans Sunday at Whitaker Bank Ballpark.
Charleston built a 7-1 lead after five innings. With one out in the fourth, Chris Gittens singled, Connor Spencer walked and Kyle Holder singled, loading the bases. Leonardo Molina followed with a two-run single, but was thrown out trying to go to second. Holder scored from third when pitcher Emilio Ogando committed a throwing error after fielding a grounder hit by Kendall Coleman, and the RiverDogs led 3-0.
Singles by Marten Gasparini and Amalani Fukofuka and a double by Ben Johnson produced a run for Lexington in the bottom of the fourth, but Charleston responded with four runs in the fifth. Thairo Estrada led off with a home run, his third in two games, and after Jeff Hendrix was hit by a pitch and Hoy Jun Park walked, Gittens hit a three-run homer over the wall in center field for a 7-1 Charleston lead.
Fukofuka’s two-run single in the seventh cut the lead to four, and the score remained 7-3 until the bottom of the ninth.
Cody Jones led off with a single and moved to second on a wild pitch. D.J. Burt walked, and after another wild pitch, Gasparini drew a walk, loading the bases. Samir Duenez hit a two-run single to right field off of reliever Andrew Schwaab, and the Legends trailed by two, 7-5.
Fukofuka grounded out to the pitcher as Gasparini held at third and Duenez moved to second. After Johnson struck out, Travis Maezes walked to load the bases again, and with Fernandez at the plate, a wild pitch allowed Gasparini to score as Duenez moved to third and Maezes to second. On a 3-2 pitch, Fernandez hit a fly ball to short right center field that dropped in for a hit, scoring Duenez with the tying run and Maezes with the winner.
Julio Pinto (1-2) got the win in relief. Schwaab (3-1) was the losing pitcher.
Each team won two games in the series. The Legends remain at home for a three-game series against the Hickory Crawdads, who are in first place in the South Atlantic League Northern Division.
Game time on Monday is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.