BURLINGTON, N.C. – Hector Soto, Francisco Justo and Tyler Peck combined for eight innings of one-run ball, but the Johnson City Cardinals dropped the second game of their three-game set in Burlington 1-0 Friday. The Cards look to salvage a game vs. the Royals Saturday before heading to Pulaski.
Soto (0-1) was excellent as the starter but suffered the loss. He struck out seven while allowing just an unearned run with two outs in the second. Justo struck out three in three innings of scoreless relief in the fifth through the seventh before Peck posted a final scoreless frame in the eighth. Peck struck out two.
The Royals scored the only tally of the game when Kevon Jackson swiped second after reaching with a base hit in the second. The throw to try to catch him by Kyle Skeels hit off the sliding Jackson’s leg and caromed into left center. Jackson leapt to his feet and went from second to home with a daring piece of baserunning just ahead of a throw from Mateo Gil.
Angel Zerpa (6-3) earned the win for the Royals with five innings of scoreless starting work. Jonah DiPoto earned his third save of the season by setting aside six in a row in the eighth and ninth. Burlington outhit Johnson City 6-5. The Royals did not reach a runner with less than two outs in the game.
Liam Sabino extended his streak of reaching base to 16 straight games by boarding with a fielder’s choice. The Cardinals came closest to scoring in the second when Jhon Torres doubled to start the frame. After moving to third on a Royals error, he tried to score on a chopper to third by Trejyn Fletcher. He was caught at the plate. The Cardinals loaded the bases thereafter but were unable to break through.
The Cardinals (28-27) will look to avoid being swept for the first time this season Saturday. RHP Luis Ortiz (0-3, 9.87 ERA) is expected to start for the Cards vs. RHP Adrian Alcantara (3-3, 2.14 ERA) for the Royals. First pitch is slated for 6:30 p.m.
Johnson City returns home August 21st to begin the final homestand of the season vs. Elizabethton