RAMSEUR — Dusty Rogers delivered a game-winning walk-off hit for the second consecutive night as the Randolph Lumberkings rallied to overcome a three-run deficit their final turn at bat to pull out …
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RAMSEUR — Dusty Rogers delivered a game-winning walk-off hit for the second consecutive night as the Randolph Lumberkings rallied to overcome a three-run deficit their final turn at bat to pull out a 5-4 Old North State League triumph over the Piedmont Whitetails Thursday evening at I. Fletcher Craven Stadium.
Posting its fourth victory in a row, Randolph raised its season ledger to 11-3, while Piedmont plummeted to 5-11.
Lumberkings’ reliever Austin Wells, who replaced starter Quin O’Hara on the hill with two away and two runners on base in the top of the fifth, hurled two and one-third innings of hitless ball while striking out four to gain the win.
O’Hara pitched four and two-third innings, giving up six hits and four runs (two earned) in addition to walking three and whiffing seven.
Whitetails’ starter Jeb Byerly went six full innings on the mound, allowing just three hits and one earned run while issuing three free passes and fanning 10.
Piedmont reliever Da’vonn Johnson faced six batters in the bottom of the seventh and failed to record an out, taking the loss after surrendering four earned runs while yielding a pair of hits and walking three besides hitting a batter.
Randolph coach Brandon Nelson said the Whitetails’ reliever “let us back in the game” after Byerly’s strong start.
“We didn’t look our best tonight but our guys never gave up,” he said. “We’ll take free passes when we can get them and big at-bats at the end allowed us to finish on a high note. We were lucky to get a win and it was a big one that let us maintain first place in the standings.”
Piedmont coach Christian Snider said it was a tough loss after entering the last frame with a three-run lead.
“Byerly gave us a great effort against the league leaders, keeping them off-balance his entire time on the mound, but we just couldn’t throw strikes at the end,” said Snider. “We got key hits when we needed them to build what appeared to be a comfortable lead, but in the end we managed to beat ourselves.”
Piedmont jumped out to a 1-0 advantage with one away in the top of the first when Trevor Fluke slammed a 2-2 offering from O’Hara over the left field fence for his second home run of the season.
The Lumberkings responded with a run in their half of the frame as Nate Vargo drew a leadoff walk, stole second and came home when Cyrus Grimes drilled a one-out opposite-field double into the left field corner.
The Whitetails reclaimed the lead in the visitors’ second as leadoff batter Greg Laspaluto coaxed a free pass, moved to second on a groundout and came around to score on a pair of two-out wild pitches.
Piedmont stretched its advantage to 4-1 in the top of the fifth as Matthew Bryant drew a one-out walk on four pitches and advanced to second when Fluke grounded a single to left.
Ethan Lageson then reached on a fielder’s choice as Fluke was thrown out a second prior to J.T. Johnson and Will Martin rapping back-to-back run-scoring hits to left.
Randolph began its seventh-inning comeback when leadoff batter Kyle Ehlers received a full-count free pass and went to second on a wild pitch.
After Vargo was hit by a pitch and Nick Roets walked to load the sacks, Grimes coaxed a full-count base on balls to force in Ehlers before Brett Stenlund stroked a two-run double to the fence in left to drive in Vargo and Roets while sending Grimes to third.
Rogers then plated the deciding run one pitch later when he grounded a base hit to left to bring in Grimes.