Augusta Township, NJ—The Empire State Greys (14-61) defeated the Sussex County Miners (40-34) 7-6 in the first leg of today’s doubleheader.

Empire State got off to a blazing start in the top of the 1st. Jaylen Smith and Manny Garcia were both hit by Mark Moclair (L, 3-6) pitches. With Josh Sears at the dish, the duo pulled off a double steal to give the Greys RBI leader a prime opportunity. The slugging first baseman delivered with a blast to straight away centerfield to give Empire State an early 3-0 lead. In the bottom half of the frame, the Miners were able to scratch one back. Juan Santana drove in a run with a sac fly, which was the only earned run given up by Garrett Sutton tonight (W, 2-3).

In the 3rd, the Miners were able to tie up the game. The two runs came across on an Oraj Anu ground out and Juan Santana’s second sac fly of the game. This was the last time the Miners were able to get to Garrett Sutton. The righty had arguably his best start of the season going 5 strong innings, allowing just 1 earned run, allowing 6 hits, and striking out 5.

With 2 outs, the Greys were able to put up a crooked number in the top of the 5th. Once again, Josh Sears delivered with two runners on base. This time he drove an RBI single to give Empire State the lead, which they would not give up the rest of the game. The clutch two-out hits continued. J.R. DiSarcina doubled in a run and Walner Espinal delivered an RBI single of his own to make it a 6-3 ball game.

The Miners would not go down easily. Gavin Stupienski hit a home run to right field and with two outs Edwin Mateo had an RBI single to cut the deficit to 6-5.

In the top of the 7th, Jordan Scott added what turned out to be a much-needed insurance run. The switch hitter singled home Manny Garcia, who came across for the third time, to stretch the Greys’ lead to 7-5.

Nathan Holt was given the opportunity to close out the game in the 7th. The righty got into trouble giving up a pair of singles to start the bottom half of the inning. However, he showed his poise and got Jason Agresti to ground into a double play. A run came across in the process, but it did not make a difference in the outcome of the game as Holt struck out the final batter and earned his first professional save.

Empire State will take on the Miners at 6:05 EST tomorrow night in game three of the four-game series.

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