LEESBURG — A pair of three-run innings can often lead to victory.
But, they weren’t enough on Wednesday night for the Leesburg Lightning.
The Winter Garden scored two runs in the top of the eighth inning and fought off a rally in the home half of the frame for a 7-6 win against the Lightning at Pat Thomas Stadium-Buddy Lowe Field. With the win, the Squeeze improved to 5-3 and maintained a share of the league lead, while the Lightning fell into the league cellar with a 2-4 record.
The Squeeze took a 4-3 lead in the third inning and extended their advantage to 7-3 after plating a pair of unearned runs in the eighth against Lightning reliever Ryan Allain. Kyle Corbin and Evan Harold reached on errors — two of six miscues committed by the Lightning — and came around to score.
In the Lightning’s half of the eighth, the home team caught fire against reliever Dean Niarchos.
After Peyton Faulkner struck out to open the frame, Cage Cox worked Niarchos for a walk. Cox was thrown out at second on a fielder’s choice by Tristan Gagan and Camden Williamson singled to right.
Ethan Jones came on in relief of Niarchos and surrendered a three-run homer to left off the bat of Bubba Sangster to close the Lightning deficit to one. That, however, was as close as the Lightning could get, as Jones retired Tucker Rayburn on a infield fly out to end the inning.
In the bottom of the ninth, the Lightning had the tying run — Alex Ray — on second base and Faulkner — the potential winning run — at first with two outs, but Cox hit into a game-ending fielder’s choice.
click here to read more.