By Bruce Hack
Melrose – Lexington flexed its muscles Tuesday night hitting three home runs on the way to an 11-4 first game win over Middlesex at Morelli Field.
The Blue Sox have 1-0 lead in the best of five finals with game two tonight at Morelli at 7:45.
Julian Alvarez started the power show with a first inning solo shot, his second home run of the playoffs, that knotted the score at 1-1. It was the fourth straight playoff game that the Blue Sox have scored in the first inning.
Gage Gaunt made it 3-1 with a solo home run in the third, his first of the playoffs.
In the fifth it was Dom Zaher’s turn to take a jog around the bases as he hit a two-run shot to give the Blue Sox a 5-1 lead. The next four Sox batters all singled with Luke Hall driving in two runs for a 7-1 lead. Alvarez scored on an infield out and Lexington had put up a big crooked number with five runs to take an 8-1 lead.
Ryan O’Rourke was the beneficiary of the Sox offense. The lefty pitched six innings for his second win of the playoffs. He gave up six hits, one run, walked one and struck out five. The strikeouts came in the third and fourth innings as he struck out four straight, two to end the third and two to start the fourth.
Both teams had at least one hit in every half inning. The teams combined for 21 hits in seven innings.
Middlesex had a single in each of the first six innings, but only scored one run and left eight runners stranded.
The Expos took a 1-0 lead in top of the first. Kebler Peralta started the game with a single to left. Jose Paulino walked and the Expos had runners on first and second with no out. A double steal moved both runners into scoring position. With one out, Kenny Higgins popped up down the right field line that was caught by second baseman Brendan Jones. Peralta tagged up and trotted home for the 1-0 lead.
Middlesex was kept off the scoreboard for the next five innings, but finally broke through in the seventh. The Expos scored three runs on three hits and three walks off Sox reliever Jack Schwartz. Michael Oliveira singled, his second of the night, to drive in two.
Alvarez, Gaunt and Zaher combined to score eight runs, knock out eight hits and drive in six runs along with their three home runs.
Peralta had three hits for the Expos and scored twice. Oliveira added two hits and drove in two.
Michael Smith started for the Expos and five innings. He gave up 10 hits, eight runs, walked one and struck out five.
The two teams return to Morelli Wednesday night for game two switching sides as Lexington will be the visitors.
All of the action of the finals can be seen at Beyond Sight Sports on You Tube. The games are broadcast live and can also be watched later. Check the ICL website and twitter for the exact URL for game two.