Runs prove scarce as Twins, Tribe split

  By Marvin Birchfield
  star staff
  mbirchfield@starhq.com
  Friday night's double-header between Elizabethton and Burlington ended in a pitching duel, with the Twins capturing game one 2-0 and the Indians coming back to win the second contest 3-1.
  Elizabethton struggled from the plate in both meetings, but a liner to left-center field from Trevor Plouffe in the first contest gave the Twins the edge they needed.
  "I was 0-for-2 at my first two times at bat -- the guy they had was pitching well, and I got a fast ball left with a runner on third and just put it in play," said Plouffe.
  It was a strong performance from the mound by Steven Duguay, who went six of the seven innings without giving up a score.
  A single from Jose Ortega in the top of the first and a shot to left field in the fourth frame was all the hits that Duguay allowed in his six innings at the mound.
  "We had some pitches where they popped up, and we made some good plays on them, which helped us out a lot," said Duguay. "The guys played really good behind me today and made the plays when we needed them, and then we got the hits when we needed them. It was a good win for us."
  The Twins struggled from the plate as they faced Paul Lubrado, who didn't give up a hit until the fourth frame when Deacon Burns connected on a grounder to right field.
  Lubrado was replaced by Daniel Guzman in the fifth inning, while Jesus Soto came into relieve during the sixth.
  Soto was unable to finish the sixth, as a walk to leadoff batter Luke Hughes led to the Twins' first score.
  "They had the left-hander in the first game, and we were kind of glad to see him take a hike after the fourth inning," said Smith. "He kept on changing speeds and that's the key to pitching -- to upset the timing -- and he was sneaking some fast balls and change-up counts with a few breaking balls in as well."
  After Hughes advanced to third base, and a hit from Plouffe drove in Elizabethton's first run on the evening.
  The second and final run scored when a frustrated Soto threw a wild-pitch with Plouffe on third, allowing him to come home.
  "It was one of those nights where the bats were silent on both sides of the ball, but hopefully we'll come back and get some more hits," said Plouffe.
  Frank Mata closed out for the Twins to help assure the win in the first contest.
  In the second match-up, the Twins' lack of hits came back to bite them.
  Burlington came out to strike quick in the top of the first, when a walk to Ortega led to the first score of the contest.
  A throw from Twins pitcher Kyle Asleton to first base resulted in Ortega making the break toward second, but the toss from Johnny Woodard and drop by the shortstop set up the Indians' run instead of the out.
  P.J. Hiser came through for Burlington by knocking a single to center field, bringing in Ortega.
  Asleton went five innings for Elizabethton before being pulled to start the sixth.
  A total of four hits were given up by Asleton, and even though we allowed a run it was unearned since there was an error at second on the Ortega steal.
  Just like in game one, it took the Twins a while before finally connecting on a hit which came in the bottom of the fifth when Woodard crushed a shot to the center-field wall.
  The triple from Woodard set up the Twins' only score when Matt Tolbert smacked a grounder to right-field to tie the game at one apiece.
  After striking the first batter in the top of the sixth and a walk to the next hitter, the Twins elected to bring Jason Bowlin to the mound to replace Asleton.
  It was not a good inning for Bowlin, who gave up a hit on the first batter he faced, as Hiser ripped a liner to center field.
  A fielding error at shortstop kept the Twins from turning a possible double-play, which resulted in Boodle Clark making his way home for the go-ahead score.
  The Indians struck again when Justin Holmes popped a hit to shallow center to drive-in Hiser and give Burlington a 3-1 advantage heading into the last frame.
  Elizabethton finished up the last frame by bringing in Jeffrey Mousser for pitching duty.
  The lack of bat contact still plague Elizabethton in the bottom of the seventh, as it went three and out to finish the night at 1-1.
  "We had only four knocks in two games, and we had been swinging the bat fairly well," said Elizabethton manager Ray Smith. "We had good hit plans with 2-0 counts and had been doing some damage. We had so many of those counts tonight, but we had a hard time making contact -- like the bats were in hibernation or something."
  Elizabethton improves to 30-20 on the season, falling one and a half games back behind Greeneville in the Eastern Division, while Burlington is now 23-28 on the year.