John Brontsema led an 18-hit Lexington attack with a home run, three singles and five runs scored as the Legends pulled away late in the game for a 14-3 win over the Hagerstown Suns Friday night in front of 5,491 fans at Whitaker Bank Ballpark.
Rudy Martin drove in five runs for Lexington, three on a seventh-inning homer.
Hagerstown scored a run in the top of the first inning, but the Legends tied the game in the bottom of the second. Brontsema was hit by a pitch, Yeison Melo singled, and Marten Gasparini walked to load the bases. Brontsema came home on Martin’s sacrifice fly.
The Suns moved in front 2-1 in the fourth on a double by Jake Noll and a run-scoring single by Nick Banks.
Marten Gasparini’s two-run triple in the bottom of the fourth put the Legends ahead 3-2, but the Suns evened the score with a run in the sixth on a walk to Aldrem Corredor and a double by Nick Banks.
Hagerstown starter Carlos Pena, who pitched in college at Lindsey Wilson, was relieved by Steven Fuentes in the bottom of the sixth. Brontsema hit Fuentes’ first pitch over the wall in left field, giving the Legends a 4-3 lead. Melo singled, moved to second on a passed ball and to third on a ground out before scoring on a double by Khalil Lee. Lee went to second on a wild pitch and scored on a single by Angelo Castellano, and the Legends led 6-3.
The Legends added four runs in the seventh, three coming on Martin’s second home run of the season. They scored four more in the eighth, including three on a bases-clearing double by Melo.
Lexington starter Ofreidy Gomez (3-7) got the win. He pitched six and one-third innings and allowed seven hits and three runs. He struck out nine batters and walked two. Grant Gavin relieved Gomez with two runners on and one out in the seventh with the Legends leading 6-3. He finished the game, allowing one baserunner on a walk in the ninth. He struck out six batters in two and two-thirds innings and picked up his sixth save of the season.
The loss eliminated the Suns from the Northern Division race for the first half of the South Atlantic League season, which ends Sunday.
Game two of the three-game series will be played Saturday night. Game time is 6:35 p.m.