Yankees avoid sweep behind Duran grand slam

Ezequiel Duran blasted a grand slam home run in the third inning to give the Pulaski Yankees the lead, and they never looked back en route to an 11-3 win over the Greeneville Reds. The win snapped a four game win-less streak and was the first home victory of the 2018 season for Pulaski.

The Reds tallied a run in each of the first two innings courtesy of an Ernesto Liberatore sacrifice fly and a RBI single by Jonathan Willems to give Greeneville an early 2-0 lead. Into the third frame, Reds’ starting pitcher Jacob Heatherly struggled to find the strike zone. Two bases loaded walks with nobody out to Robert Javier and Cody Brown drew the Yankees even for three-hole hitter Ezequiel Duran. On an 0-1 count, Duran gave Pulaski a four run lead with one swing of the bat on a grand slam homer. 

Heatherly was removed in the third inning in exchange for Max Wotell, and also saw similar struggles with location. The Yankees reloaded the bases in the same inning and scored two additional runs on the third bases loaded walk of the inning by Terrance Robertson and an infield single by Robert Javier. 

Pulaski posted a field goal in the fourth inning to extend their season high for most runs scored in a single game to 11. Carlos Tatis reached on a fielding error to score Duran, followed by a Juan De Leon RBI double, who later scored on a balk. Yanks’ starting pitcher, Pedro Espinola concluded his first start of the season with four innings pitched, allowing two runs on five hits, three walks and four strikeouts. Carlos Espinal went three innings in relief and was nearly perfect, allowing no runs and one hit. Ron Marinaccio closed out the game for the Yankees with two scoreless games from the hill. 

Pulaski’s win improves their record to 2-4 in the young Appalachian League season. The Yankees return to the field Monday for the start of a two game series on the road against the Bristol Pirates. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m.