Augusta Township, NJ—The Empire State Greys (15-63) defeated the Sussex County Miners (42-35) 7-6 in large part due to Luis Atiles and his late-inning heroics.
The Miners got off to a hot start in the bottom of the 1st and 2nd innings against Greys starter Nick Trabacchi. In the first Oraj Anu doubled in the first run of the game and came around to score on a Gavin Stupienski single. Willie Escala got the Miners offense going in the bottom of the second with an RBI single and Oraj Anu added on another run with a fielder’s choice making it 4-0.
Empire State was able to get on board in the top of the 3rd. Jaylen Turner led off the inning with a double and was able to advance to third on a wild pitch. Luis Atiles drove him in with a fielder’s choice to second base to cut the Miners’ lead down to 4-1.
In the top of the 5th, the Greys’ offense got going again. After the first two Greys in the inning struck out, Ed Niemann got hit by a pitch and was immediately followed by a Luis Atiles walk. J.R. DiSarcina came to the plate and delivered his biggest hit of the season. DiSarcina took a Trent Thornton pitch deep over the wall in right field and tied the ball game at 4-4.
Sussex managed to take the lead again in the bottom of the 8th. Edwin Mateo drove in the go-ahead run off of Zach Gettys (W, 2-3) to give the Miners a 5-4. However, in the process, he was thrown out at second base on a great throw by Manny Garcia which disrupted any momentum the home side may have had.
Robbie Hitt (L, 3-2), who has been dominant all season, entered the game in the 9th for the Miners to attempt to close out the Greys. Walner Espinal reached base to start off the inning on an error and was pinch-ran for by Jaylen Smith, and Smith promptly advanced to second on a Jordan Scott single. Eric Jenkins then attempted a sacrifice bunt, but an error by the third baseman loaded the bases. Hitt was able to strike out the next two batters and brought up Luis Atiles. In a 2-2 count with 2 outs, Atiles roped an opposite-field double to right center field and cleared the bases making it 7-5 Empire State.
Nate Holt was called upon for the second time this series, and season, to collect the save. Oraj Anu led off the bottom half of the inning with a solo shot to left field, his third RBI of the game. That was all of the damage the Miners were able to do against Holt as the righty proceeded to set down the last three hitters, striking out two, to record his second save of the season.
The Greys will look to carry today’s momentum into their next series against the New York Boulders. Game one of that series will begin Tuesday evening at 7:00 PM EST at Clover Stadium in Pomona, NY.