Asheville Tourists Win Pitcher’s Duel, Playoff Series On Luis Jean’s Home Run!
By Bobby DeMuro
The Asheville Tourists are moving on to the South Atlantic League Championship Series after defeating the Savannah Sand Gnats 2-1, and winning the best-of-three series 2-1!
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Luis Jean, batting ninth on Saturday night for the Asheville Tourists, decided that the 90th game (and 306th at-bat!) of his 2015 campaign would be a good time to hit his first home run.
He did just that at the most important time, broke a 0-0 tie for the Tourists against the Savannah Sand Gnats, and behind his unlikely power, the Tourists won the deciding game of their South Atlantic League Playoff Series, 2-1.
Tyler Chatwood (yes, that Tyler Chatwood) started the game for Asheville, and threw 0.2 innings of relief. He faced five batters, allowing two hits and a walk before being pulled on a pitch count. Jared McCrummen worked out of the early jam to keep things scoreless, and from there, Sam Howard took over for the Tourists.
Howard was absolutely dominant on this night, throwing six scoreless innings, allowing just three hits (and no walks!) while striking out six Sand Gnats. He — and Sand Gnats starter Casey Delgado — took the Tourists’ scoreless tie with Savannah into the eighth inning, when Luis Jean came to the plate with a runner on and one out.
Jean, the most unlikely player to hit a home run on the entire Tourists’ roster, did just that, spoiling Delgado’s great start and making Howard the pitcher of record for Asheville.
As it turned out, the Tourists would need both of those runs. After Howard departed, Jerry Vasto tossed a scoreless eighth inning, and Josh Michalec came on for the ninth. Michalec immediately got into trouble in the inning, allowing three hits and a run, but eventually induced the save.
With that, the Tourists clinched the series, and their spot in the South Atlantic League Championship Series. The Championship Series will begin Monday. We’ll have a series preview soon!