E-Twins subdue Orioles


star staff


  The Elizabethton Twins were able to ride a five-run first inning to victory Saturday night.
  In the Elizabethton's second of a three-game home series against the Bluefield Orioles, Twins third baseman Jay Yaconetti delivered his first career grand slam and first baseman David Winfree delivered a solo shot in the opening frame to head the 8-4 win at O'Brien Field.
  Bluefield had two rallies stalled and endured a 16-strikeout outing from the Elizabethton pitching staff led by reliever J.P. Martinez, who allowed just one run on one hit with nine K's on the scorecard.
  "You always want to jump out to an early lead," said Twins manager Ray Smith. "Yac got a ball he could handle and Winfree smoked one. We got off to a good start."
  Bluefield scored three runs in the third inning before Martinez shut the unit down with closing back-up from Jeffery Mousser and Frank Mata.
  "We had a hard time with command and let them get back in the game, but we got a shot in the arm with Martinez's cutter," Smith said. "He was pretty good, then he got tired and we got out of a semi-jam. Mousser and Mata punched them out and were effective in closing."
  It was Martinez's first win of the season. He relieved his sophomore season in college but fell into a starting rotation before beginning his professional career.
  He enjoys his current relief role.
  "I'm stringing (good games) together and it feels good," said Martinez.
  Elizabethton's starting pitcher Javier Martinez caught the O's in a three and out situation to set up the initial Twin scoring.
  Tarrence Patterson and Trevor Plouffe walked, with a Luke Hughes single loading the bases. It set up Yak's 390-foot rocket into left-center.
   "It felt pretty good," Yaconetti said of his swing. "I was excited that I got to play. Tonight we all came out swinging well and the pitching was excellent."
  After two outs, Winfree rode a 2-1 count with a solo jack in almost the same exact spot as his teammates earlier homer.
  The Twins held the 4-0 lead until the first Martinez fell apart somewhat in the third. Jose Zapata and Lorenzo Scott scored on walks for the Orioles, while Kevin Kotch drove in Angel Avila on a sacrificed grounder.
  Elizabethton bounced back, first in the bottom of the third stanza when Javier Lopez doubled and scored on a David Winfree fielder's choice.
  The team kept rolling in the fourth with back-to-back singles from Patterson and Plouffe, who both wound up scoring again, this time on a two-run hit from the hot bat of Luke Hughes.
  "It's a been a long time coming," said Hughes of his current success. The Australian native, who played against a handful of other former Twins in his homeland, has raised his batting average in recent weeks.
  He led the team with three hits on Saturday.
  "I've been having a good time and working a lot with Jeff Reed," the second baseman added. "I'm swinging the bat harder and the hits are coming off better."
  Bluefield got its last run in the seventh after J.P. Martinez struck out the first two he faced in the frame. Avila singled and scored on a throwing error, but Martinez got out of the inning with his final strikeout.
  Bluefield ran three on the mound with starter Jason Furrow picking up his first loss.
  For the Twins offensively, the team grabbed 11 hits led by Hughes. Plouffe and Jeremy Pickrel each added two a piece for the home team.
  KNOXVILLE'S WALDROP LANDS IN TOWN
  The big news Saturday afternoon was the arrival of Minnesota first round pick and the 25th overall selection, pitcher Kyle Waldrop of Knoxville.
  Waldrop (6-4, 190) is known as a strike pitching machine, with a rocket arm. He led Farragut High School to the 2004 TSSAA 3-A state baseball championship.
  "He's a quality young man and we are anxious to see him Monday," said Smith. "He put up good numbers (in the Gulf Coast League) and he's a strike throwing machine. He'll get you in and out (of the field) in a hurry. He's excited to be here and we hope he'll fill one of those starting roles."
  Many of the local Twins fans were hoping to get Waldrop initially on the Elizabethton team. Of his 38 innings pitched in Florida, Waldrop leaves with a 1.42 ERA with 30 strikeouts and just four walks.
  "It's good to be back close to home and near my family and friends," said Waldrop, a high school All-American. "I was getting tired of the heat in Florida. I did real well down there and I hope to do well out here on Monday or Tuesday."
  Waldrop's family and friends are a short drive away and will be able to catch his games.
  He was 6-of-12 with three doubles and a triple in his four state tournament games during his senior campaign. The former Vanderbilt signee had two wins in two complete appearances with 13 strikeouts.