Melrose – The Middlesex Expos took a 1-0 lead in the Intercity League Finals with a 7-0 win over defending champion Lexington.
In a rematch of last year’s finals in which the Expos were swept by the Blue Sox, the same will not this season.
The Expos scored all they would need in the first inning when they scored four quick runs and Lexington was down 4-0 before it came to bat. The first five Expos batters reached base by hit or walk with Leon Paulino singling to center for two RBI for a 3-0 lead. The final run scored on a double play for the first two outs of the inning.
Roland Mendez was making his first postseason start for Middlesex and made the decision look good. He pitched five shutout innings with 10 strikeouts. He struck out six straight Sox batters from the third through fifth innings. From the last out in the second inning through the second out in the fifth Mendez struck out eight of ten Sox hitters. Mendez walked one, and scattered six hits, stranding five Sox baserunners. He left Sox runners on second and third in the first. A runner on third in the second and third innings and in the fifth a runner on second. Of the nine baserunners left on by Lexington, six of them were in scoring position.
Jose Paulino (second inning) and Mike Golankiewicz (fifth inning) each hit solo home runs for Middlesex stretching the lead to 6-0 nothing.
Lexington had its chances but could not come up with a big hit when it was needed. After two outs in the first Julian Alvarez single and Andrew Selima followed with a double that one-hopped off the fence putting runners at second and third., but they were left there.
In the second the Sox had runners at the corners with one out when Matt Chatelle (single) was picked off first on a strong throw by catcher Dionys Quezada.
The Blue Sox were only retired in order one time in the fourth inning, all on strikeouts.
Game two is Tuesday night at Morelli with first pitch set for 7:45 pm.
From the Stat Sheet – This is the Expos second year in the league. They have finished in second place both seasons and have reached the finals in both seasons. These finals are the fourth playoff series for Middlesex. In each of the first three series, two semifinals and one final’s,
the Expos lost the first game of the series, in both semifinals they came back and won. In the 2021 finals they were swept by Lexington. Middlesex is now 5-5 in the playoffs.
The 7-0 loss was the eighth postseason shutout inflicted on the Sox. It was the first shutout loss for the Sox since August 26, 2014 vs. Andre in the finals in the first year the finals were held at Morelli. The Sox had gone 44 straight playoff games without being shutout. The 7-0 loss was the biggest playoff loss the Sox have suffered since 2006. The previous mark was 6-0 accomplished twice by the Andre Chiefs in 2014 and 2009.
Written by Bruce Hack, Lexington Media Relations Director
Historical and Statistical research provided by Sportstats.
– 30 –