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York blows huge lead to Sugar Land, trails series 2-0

STAFF REPORT
  • York blew a 7-0 lead to drop the second game of the Atlantic League Freedom Division Championship Series.
  • Sugar Land scored eight times in the bottom of the fifth to take an 8-7 lead.
  • Andres Perez had five RBIs for York, including a second-inning grand slam.

Through the first two innings of Wednesday night's Atlantic League Freedom Division Championship Series against the Sugar Land Skeeters, the York Revolution was in control.

Micah Owings, seen here pitching last season for the York Revolution, has signed with the Seattle Mariners organization.

York took advantage of an uncharacteristically wild Aaron Thompson, who issued five walks in the first two innings, the most he's allowed all year. The Revs scored six times over the first couple frames and then added another run in the top of the fourth to hold a 7-0 cushion. It had the makings of an easy night for York and a series-evening victory.

Then, the bottom of the fifth happened.

Sugar Land erupted for eight runs in the fifth, scoring six of them with two outs. Of the eight runs, six were unearned, a product of a two-out, inning-extending error by third baseman Bryan Pounds. By the time reliever Nate Reed finally ended the nightmare half inning, the Revs trailed 8-7. Ultimately, York lost Game 2 at Constellation Field, 10-9, falling behind in the best-of-five series, 2-0.

In the treacherous fifth, the Skeeters sent 12 men to the plate, seven of which batted with two outs. Revs' starter Micah Owings couldn't get out of the inning, leaving with York ahead 7-4, but with two runners on. Reed came in and produced what should've been the final out, but it turned into an error, extending the inning and eventually giving Sugar Land the lead.

The Revs did rally to regain the lead in the top of the seventh, courtesy of a two-run home run by Pounds, to take a 9-8 advantage. But, it didn't hold. Sugar Land's Rene Tosoni squared up a two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth off of Ricardo Gomez to provide the eventual game-winning blast.

With York trying to mount one final rally in the ninth, history was made. Instant replay was used for the first time in the Atlantic League because Sugar Land has a television deal with ESPN that allows its games to be broadcast online via ESPN 3. That allowed a close play at first base to be challenged by the Skeeters. The challenge failed, putting the potential tying run for the Revs at first base. York couldn't do anything with it, leaving him stranded there to end the game.

The contest couldn't have started better for the Revs, who instantly jumped on Thompson in the first, with Kevin Rivers driving in two runs on a two-out single. Then, in the top of the second, York looked to go down in order, but a pop-up for the third out was lost in the high Texas sky, extending the inning. The next two batters reached base and then Andres Perez blasted a grand slam to put the Revs ahead 6-0.

Owings was sharp through four innings, but when he ran into trouble in the fifth, he couldn't stop the bleeding. Owings wound up taking a no-decision, lasting 4 2/3 innings, allowing six runs, three earned, on seven hits, with one walk and two strikeouts. Reed wasn't credited with any earned runs, despite giving up two runs before he could get out of the fifth. Gomez took the loss for York, allowing the eventual game-winning, two-run homer in the eighth, his only mistake in 1 2/3 innings.

Rivers drove in two runs, one night after he drove in three runs in the Game 1 defeat. Perez's five RBIs were just one shy of tying the franchise record for RBIs in a playoff game.

York will need to win the final three games of the series in order to advance to the Atlantic League Championship Series. The final three games are scheduled for PeoplesBank Park, but only Friday's game is guaranteed. First pitch for Game 3 is set for 6:30 p.m.