SALISBURY, Md.- The Delmarva Shorebirds got back on track with a 4-1 victory over the Savannah Sand Gnats on Tuesday evening. Delmarva evened their series with Savannah, and now they will face off in the rubber match on Wednesday.
Hunter Harvey started for Delmarva, though he was not in peak form. Harvey struggled with his command, leading to five walks in just four innings. Still, Harvey only allowed one unearned run on a throwing error by Hector Veloz in the third inning. The right-hander starter lowered his season ERA to 0.86, best in the South Atlantic League.
Delmarva trailed 1-0 after the unearned run in the third. The Shorebirds sprang into action in the fourth inning. Jeff Kemp singled to start the fourth inning, extending his hitting streak to seven games. Conor Bierfeldt doubled to put runners on second and third. After back-to-back strikeouts, Austin Wynns delivered the timely base hit, a single up the middle to score two runs.
Now leading 2-1, the Shorebirds added to their advantage in the fifth. Mike Yastrzemski led off with his team-high third triple of the year. After a walk and hit-by-pitch, Delmarva loaded the bases. Bierfeldt drew a walk to force in a run, and then Chance Sisco drove home another run on a bounceout to first.
For a brief moment, Savannah appeared to cut into the Shorebirds’ lead. With a runner on, Dominic Smith launched a high drive down the left field line. The ball sliced near the foul pole and home plate umpire Jeff Gorman initially ruled a home run. Delmarva manager Ryan Minor protested, and the umpires conferred and eventually overturned the call to a foul ball.
The bullpen gave five scoreless innings of relief, with Jimmy Yacabonis finishing off the victory. Dylan Rheault and Jon Keller each pitched two shutout frames, with Rheault picking up his fourth win of the season. Yacabonis issued a walk and a hit-by-pitch to start his outing, bringing the tying run to the plate. Yacabonis then got two grounders, the last one which Kemp and Viele turned into a game-ending double play.
The Shorebirds and Sand Gnats will decide a series winner on Wednesday. Delmarva starts left-hander Steven Brault (2-1, 4.24) against Savannah right-hander Ricky Knapp (0-2, 4.66) in the finale. First pitch at Perdue Stadium is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.