LEXINGTON, S.C. – A six-run fourth inning for the visiting side made the difference on Opening Day, as the Forest City Owls (1-0) defeated the Lexington County Blowfish (0-1) 10-9 in the first game of the regular season at Lexington County Baseball Stadium.
The Blowfish wasted no time getting started, drawing a walk to lead-off the home half of the first with Luis Acevedo, followed by a base hit to left field by Marcelli. After advancing to second and third, the duo was driven in on an error by the Owls' Jake Lyles, giving the Blowfish an early 2-0 advantage.
The Owls responded quickly in the second inning, with Chaston Gordon drawing a pitch that hit his left shoulder to begin the frame. After a fielder's choice and an error charged to the Blowfish, Gehrig Christopher singled to center field, scoring Paul Salata and cutting the Lexington lead in half, 2-1.
After a scoreless third, Forest City came out unhinged in the fourth, with Paul Salata and Jake Lyle netting two hits off Brett Fulk in the first two pitches of the inning. Matthew Lumsden scored both runners just after on a line drive to center field, pushing Forest City into the lead for the first time in 2019, 3-2. After Lumsden was caught stealing and Christopher struck out, the green and gold laid an onslaught on the home team with two outs, rattling off four hits from Elwood, McGowan, Blaylock and Kirby Lambert, the latter two being deep home runs to right field. The Owls left the 4th with a 7-2 lead that they never relinquished.
The Owls added one insurance run in the eighth and two in the ninth, with Jake Lyle accounting for one and Christopher for two of those runs.
Forest City totaled fifteen hits on the evening, with every starter reaching base at least once. Lambert and McGowan led the team with three hits apiece, pairing with three more Owls who had multiple hits.
The Blowfish didn't go quietly though, as a couple of Owls errors in the ninth nearly brought them all the way back. The Blowfish pulled within one run of the Owls advantage, plating fiven runs in the frame, until Josh Gregory who doubled to left field tried to stretch it into a triple, but was thrown out in plenty of time to end the ballgame.
Lexington County will hit the road tomorrow to Savannah, GA in a Friday night divisional contest to take on the Bananas.
Forest City returns to McNair Field tomorrow night to take on the Gastonia Grizzlies in the regular season home opener, the first of fifteen match-ups to come between the two clubs this season.