The Lexington Legends built a six-run lead, then survived a ninth-inning rally by Hagerstown and held on for a 6-5 win over the Suns on Sunday evening.
The Legends took a 4-0 lead in the third inning. Alexis Rivera was hit by a pitch, and Dex Kjerstad followed with a single. Rivera stole third and came home on a single by Carlos Garcia as Kjerstad moved to second.
After Kenny Diekroeger sacrificed the runners to second and third, a single by Frank Schwindel, the first of his four hits in the game, scored Kjerstad and moved Garcia to third. A wild pitch allowed Garcia to score, and Schwindel came home on a base hit by Elier Hernandez.
Lexington extended its lead in the fifth. Diekroeger and Schwindel started the inning with singles. Chad Johnson hit a grounder back to pitcher Jake Johansen, but Johansen overthrew third base while attempting to get a force play, and Diekroeger and Schwindel both scored, giving the Legends a 6-0 lead.
Matt Alvarez, making his first start of the year after 21 relief appearances, shut out the Suns on one hit through the first four innings. Luis Rico relieved and allowed one hit and no runs over the next four innings.
The Suns broke through against reliever Jose Rodriguez in the ninth. Isaac Ballou led off with a double and moved to third on a passed ball charged to Johnson. Austin Chubb struck out, but Drew Ward singled, scoring Ballou with the first Hagerstown run. Brian Langlois followed with a single, moving Ward to second, and Brennan Middleton walked, loading the bases. Narciso Mesa then lined a grand slam home run over the fence in left center field, and the Legends lead was down to one at 6-5.
After Mesa’s homer, Rafael Bautista singled, and Wilmer Difo was hit by a pitch, leaving runners at first and second. Tim Hill relieved Rodriguez and got Ballou on a ground out to first base to end the game.
Rico (3-6) got the win. Johansen (5-4), the Hagerstown starter, took the loss. The Suns won three of four games in the series.
The Legends will open a series in Charleston, South Carolina Tuesday night. Game time is 7:05 p.m.