Twins pound out 12 hits, top Bristol

By Wes Holtsclaw
STAR STAFF
wholtsclaw@starhq.com

   After losing a pair of games against the Bristol White Sox Saturday night, the Elizabethton Twins wanted some hometown revenge against their West Division rival.
   Bristol took a 2-0 lead early in Sunday night's contest, but a total of 12 hits broke Elizabethton loose with a 7-2 victory at Joe O'Brien Field.
   "We got 12 hits off a good club and we're happy with that," said Twins manager Ray Smith. "The pitchers did a good job out there and we put good swings on the ball, especially late in the game. We'll see if we can keep it up."
   Elizabethton's ace bullpen held Bristol to one hit, with nine combined strikeouts in the outing.
   Dennis Medina began on the mound for Elizabethton (13-5), which got started with two quick outs. A walk to Chris Young set up a shot from Thomas Collaro over the STAR sign in left-center field to take a 2-0 lead for Bristol (13-6). That was all the White Sox could muster.
   The Twins crept through the first four innings with some token singles, but things got kicking in the fifth inning after a Ryan Spataro single. Spataro scored on a sacrificed fly from Kyle Phillips to pull things at a 2-1 advantage.
   Elizabethton continued in the sixth inning after a Justin Sims walk and Brock Peterson single. A wild throw advanced the runners for Angelo Fermin, who sent a shot into left field, which scored Sims.
   A J.R. Taylor grounder spotted Elizabethton with a quick out at second, before Peterson was caught in a pickle between third base and home plate. A juggling act between Bristol shortstop Robert Valido and catcher Matt Lenderman allowed the Minnesota native to take a 3-2 lead.
   The 'Betsy Bombers took advantage with a Felix Molina double in the seventh inning, with a Sims single adding the insurance run.
   Elizabethton capped things off in the eighth inning after singles from Fermin and Molina when Phillips blasted a ball onto the building in right field, securing a 7-2 victory and reclaiming the West Division lead by a half-game.
   "We were up there hacking it and we put some good swings on the ball," Smith added. "They hit some rockets at our guys, but we were able to put them down. Everybody hit a few good shots tonight. We put some offensive swings in offensive counts and situations. We acquaint the bat to the ball well."
   After a stellar collegiate career, including the first 9-inning perfect game in Auburn University history, Eric Brandon picked up his first professional victory after a pair of relief innings.
   "It was 2-1 when I went in and I wanted to hold the game close," said Brandon, a Nashville native. "I had a pair of good innings on the mound and I've had a lot of fun so far."
   Molina led the Twins with a 4-of-5 performance, while Spataro added a pair of clutch hits for Elizabethton.
   "I hit it well tonight," said Molina. "They had good pitching and it felt pretty good out there. We're having a good season and this is a great team. We feel like we can win a lot of games this year."
   Tonight, the Twins host the Johnson City Cardinals for "Chamber of Commerce Night," with free admission provided courtesy of the Chamber of Commerce after the Youth Baseball Camp, which takes place earlier in the evening.