Granite drives home winner Thursday

Photo Credit: Joe Territo, Red Wings

Zack Littell was masterful Thursday evening against the Syracuse Salt Potatoes. He threw 6 and 1/3 innings, striking out six and spreading out four hits. However he was not the pitcher of record for the Plates, with reliever Nick Anderson earning the win by striking out the side in the 10th inning.

Photo courtesy of the Rochester Red Wings, Bare Antolos

ROCHESTER – Zack Granite is having a rough season in comparison to the one he experienced last year with the Rochester Red Wings. In 2017 the speedy centerfielder played 71 games for Rochester, batting .338 and driving in 29 runs. Thursday against the Syracuse Salt Potatoes pinch-hitting for Byron Buxton in the bottom of the 10th, Granite drove in the winning run with a single up the middle for his first run batted in of the season.

Granite entered the batters box against Josh Edgin, the fifth Syracuse pitcher of the evening, with Leonardo Reginatto on third base and one out. After fouling back a number of pitches, Granite ground the ball back up the middle allowing Reginatto, a pinch runner for catcher Cameron Rupp, to trot home with the winning run.

After the game Granite noted it was his first RBI of the 2018 campaign and said he finally had the monkey off his back.

Named the Dual of the Dishes, the game featured the Syracuse Chiefs playing as the Salt Potatoes while the Rochester Red Wings were their Thursday alter egos, the Rochester Plates. It was the first time Rochester has won a home game as the Plates.

Nick Anderson pitched the 10th inning for Rochester and picked up the win. With a new rule this season in which teams start an extra inning with a runner on second base, Anderson struck out Jaff Decker after he had attempted to sacrifice bunt Tuffy Gosewisch to third. Andrew Stevenson also struck out to bring up Adrian Sanchez. Sanchez hit a sharp single to right, but Salt Potatoes manager Randy Knorr held Gosewisch at third base. Anderson then struck out Jose Marmolejos to end the Syracuse threat.

Rochester catcher Cameron Rupp made the last out of the ninth inning, so he was due to start the bottom of the 10th at second. Manager Joel Skinner inserted the speedier Reginatto as pinch runner. Unlike Syracuse, Rochester was able to successfully complete the sacrifice bunt play when Gregorio Petit advanced the Brazilian as Edgin had to throw to first for the put out. That set the stage for Granite’s heroics.

As Reginatto crossed home, Granite’s teammates chased him toward second base where they caught him and subjected him to a Gatorade bath.

Both starting pitchers, Rochester’s Zack Littell and Austin Voth for the SSPs, were effective. Littell pitched 6 1/3 innings allowing four hits while striking out six and walking one. Voth also pitched 6 1/3 innings, allowing two hits, striking out six and walking one Plates batter.

In the Rochester half of the seventh inning, with the game scoreless, Plates right fielder Jack Cave led off with a single, only the second hit of the game for Rochester. After Chris Carter flew out, Lamonte Wade walked. At this point Voth was relieved by Chris Smith who promptly allowed a single by Willians Astudillo, loading the bases. Kennys Vargas hit a ground ball to Syracuse second baseman Sanchez who tried to tag Astudillo and then threw out Vargas at first.

Third base umpire Shane Livensparger called Astudillo out saying Sanchez had tagged him. Astudillo immediately protested the call as the Salt Potatoes headed to their dugout. Skinner joined his third baseman in protesting the call with Livensparger. Eventually the umpires, Blake Carnahan at first and crew chief and home plate ump Brennan Miller, huddled and following their discussion Astudillo was ruled safe. Cave scored the first run of the game with Vargas the second out of the inning. After explaining their call to Knorr, Rupp struck out to end the inning.

Syracuse tied the game in the top of the ninth when Tyler Duffey walked leadoff batter Jacob Wilson and Matt Reynolds followed with a single. Two fielder’s choice plays, the second by Irving Falu, brought in the tying run. Gosewisch flied out to end the inning. Rochester went quietly in the bottom of the ninth to set the stage for Granite’s heroics.

Cave also had a solid defensive game in right for the Plates. In the top of the fifth, Syracuse had runners on first and second on singles by Falu and Decker. Stevenson singled to right and Cave threw a perfect strike to Rupp who tagged out Falu to end the inning. That throw may have caused Knorr to hold Gosewisch at third in the 10th inning when Cave charged the ball and threw another laser to Rupp.

With the win Rochester moved to within one game of returning to .500, at 34-35. Syracuse dropped to 29-41. For his batting heroics, Granite was named Rochester’s Player of the Game.

The Wings stay home for three games against the Scranton/Wilkes Barre RailRiders. Friday and Saturday games start at 7:35 p.m. and Sunday, June 24 first pitch is scheduled for 1:05. Set to pitch for Rochester Friday is Stephen Gonsalves, with Aaron Slegers going Saturday and Dietrich Enns closing out the home stand.

WINGS TIPS – For the second time this season, Buffalo Bills player threw out the ceremonial first pitch. At the last home stand it was current defensive tackler Kyle Williams. Thursday it was former place kicker Scott Norwood. His pitch was not wide right.

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