BY JIM MILLER
The Bristol White Sox used a strong pitching performance from Todd Kibby and a 3-for-4 performance at the plate from Kale Kiser to defeat the Greeneville Astros 5-2 Sunday night before 852 fans at Pioneer Park.
Bristol, which entered the game ranked next-to-last in the Appalachian League in batting average (.233), snapped a five-game losing streak thanks to Kiser, who came through with a RBI triple in the first and a two-run double in the fifth to help stake the Sox to a 4-1 lead.
Kibby (1-2), a 6-4 lefty who entered the game with a 6.75 earned run average in three starts, scattered four singles and struck out six over eight innings of work for the Sox (6-14). Former Arkansas and Southern California quarterback Mitch Mustain pitched the ninth to close out the win over the Astros (11-8), who fell to 2-3 during their nine-game homestand.
Bristol jumped to a quick 1-0 lead in the first against Greeneville starter Frederick Tiburcio (0-2). Brown led off with an infield single and came all the way around on a triple into the right-field corner by Kiser.
Greeneville came back to tie the game in the bottom of the third off Sox starter Todd Kibby. Jimmy Howick led off with a walk, Josh Magee followed with a single to left and both runners advanced on a sacrifice by D'Andre Toney. Jean Batista got the job done for the Astros, grounding out to second to bring home Howick with the tying run.
The Sox grabbed the lead with three runs in the top of the fifth to take a 4-1 lead. Steven Nikorak broke the tie with an RBI single, and Kiser added a two-out, two-run double to give the Sox a 4-1 advantage.
Bristol tacked on an unearned insurance run in the eighth off Greeneville reliever Euris Quezada as Kiser reached on a bad-hop single to first, moved to third on an error and scored on a groundout by Alex Williams.
Greeneville was unable to mount any kind of rally against Kibby, threatening only in the fifth when Michael Martinez was stranded at third base after reaching on a leadoff error. The Astros added a run in the ninth off Mustain as Terrell Joyce led off with a single and scored on a two-out pinch single by Marc Wik.
Tiburcio worked five innings for the Astros, surrendering four earned runs on five hits. The righthander struck out five and walked just one, after issuing nine walks in his first 8 1/3 innings of work this season. Scott Zuloaga, Christian Garcia and Michael Dimock each pitched scoreless innings in relief of Tiburcio, with Garcia striking out the side in a perfect seventh.
Ariel Ovando, who entered the day ranked third in the Appalachian League in batting at .373, went 1-for-4 for the Astros. Brian Blasik, who is eighth in the league in hitting at .353, was 1-for-3 with a walk and Joyce was 1-for-4 after heading into the contest ninth in batting average at .351.
The teams finish off their three-game series tonight at 7 p.m. at Pioneer Park.
ASTROS ROMP PAST SOX
In Saturday's game, the Astros used an eight-run fifth inning to defeat the Sox 14-2 at Pioneer Park. Seven different batters had two or more hits for Greeneville as part of a 15-hit attack, led by Toney who went 3-for-5 with a home run, three runs batted in and three runs scored.
Joyce added two hits, including a two-run home run in the fifth inning, and scored three runs for the Astros in the win. Francis Ramirez (3-0) scattered two hits and an unearned run in five innings of work to earn the victory.