Savannah took advantage of three Lexington errors and scored two runs in the fifth inning and three more in the sixth on their way to a 5-1 victory over the Legends Thursday night in front of 5,912 at Whitaker Bank Ballpark. The game opened the second-half pennant race in the South Atlantic League for both teams. Savannah had won the Southern Division championship in the first half of the season, which concluded with Sunday’s games.
The Legends had taken a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth when Raul Mondesi singled, stole second, moved to third on an infield out and scored on Bubba Starling’s double to right field.
The Sand Gnats answered with two runs in the top of the fifth. Leadoff hitter Eudy Pina struck out, but a wild pitch allowed him to reach first base safely. He stole second base, and scored on a two-out single by Maikis De La Cruz. After Matt Murray relieved Legends starter Miguel Almonte, De La Cruz stole second, went to third on catcher Cam Gallagher’s throwing error, and scored when second baseman Kenny Diekroeger, who had retrieved the ball in short center field, threw past third for an error.
Savannah increased its lead to 5-1 in the sixth. With one out, singles by Chad Zurcher and Pina put runners at first and second. Brandon Nimmo was called out on strikes, but Stefan Sabol lined a triple to left center field, scoring two runs, and Sabol came home on the same play when Mondesi, the shortstop, overthrew third base on a relay from the outfield.
Savannah starter Logan Taylor (1-1) pitched the first six innings and got the win. He allowed three hits, struck out nine batters and walked two. Legends starter Miguel Almonte (3-5) took the loss after pitching four and two-thirds innings. He allowed three hits and two runs.
The two teams will meet again Friday in the second game of the four-game series. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m.