L.J. Mazzilli hit an RBI double in the eighth inning, snapping a tie and triggering a four-run outburst as the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders closed their series at Norfolk with a 6-2 win Thursday afternoon.
The RailRiders took two of three games from Norfolk to move into a tie with the Tides for the wild-card spot.
Ryan McBroom opened the eighth by lining a single to left field. He moved to second on a groundout and then to third when Ronald Torreyes singled to left. Mazzilli followed with a double to left, scoring McBroom and sending Torreyes to third.
After Zach Zehner struck out, Francisco Diaz walked to load the bases. A wild pitch by Norfolk reliever Andrew Faulkner scored Torreyes and moved the other runners up one base. Mark Payton then singled to center, scoring Mazzilli for a 6-2 advantage.
Raynel Espinal pitched one inning of relief to pick up the win to improve to 7-2. Joe Harvey pitched the final two innings.
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre starter Justus Sheffield threw five strong innings, striking out five and walking one. The southpaw allowed a one-out double in the first and proceeded to retire the next 10 in the row. He allowed a double in the fourth and one more in the fifth.
The RailRiders took a 2-0 lead in the fifth. Payton singled and advanced to second when Tyler Wade walked. A single by Abiatal Avelino loaded the bases and McBroom followed with a single to left, driving home both Payton and Wade for a 2-0 lead.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Tides evened the score against Espinal, scoring two runs on four singles. Armando Araiza’s and Breyvic Valera’s base hits drove in Luis Sardinas and Adrian Marin to pin a blown save on Espinal.
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre opens a three-game series in Durham Friday night before returning to PNC Field for a seven-game homestand starting on Monday. LHP Nestor Cortes (5-5, 3.72) gets the start in the series opener against the Bulls against RHP Chih-Wei Hu (3-7, 4.83) with first pitch set for 7:05 p.m.
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