Charlotte 8, Lehigh Valley 6: A nightmare ninth inning left the IronPigs (34-26) on the wrong end of a walk-off Saturday.
Lehigh Valley led 6-3 entering the frame, then saw RH Pedro Beato suffer only his second blown save of the year (19 chances) in stunning fashion. Beato allowed a season-worst five runs, three coming on a game-ending homer.
It meant another no decision for Ben Lively, who went a solid six innings with just an unearned run on five hits. The righthander struck out six and walked three.
The IronPigs had a five-run inning of their own to build an early lead. They went up 5-0 in the second, taking advantage of four walks. LF Damek Tomscha (1-for-4) and SS Dean Anna (2-for-4) each had RBI singles.
DH Matt McBride (1-for-4) homered in the fifth inning for a 6-1 lead.
The Knights two innings later cut the deficit to three runs against LH Hoby Milner to stay close.
The teams will play the rubber match of the series Sunday at 2:05 p.m.
Reading 8, Erie 5: Three homered in a strong night for the Fightin Phils (26-34) at the dish.
CF Jan Hernandez, DH Cord Sandberg, and RF Jiandido Tromp each went yard, leading the charge of seven runs through the first four innings.
It was the second consecutive game with a home run for Hernandez, who put Reading ahead 2-0 after the first and finished 2-for-4. Sandberg (4-for-4) homered in the second, and Tromp (3-for-4) followed two innings later with a runner on.
LH JoJo Romero tossed six innings, battling past a four-run frame. He allowed three of the runs earned on six hits, adding seven strikeouts.
Reading can win the three-game series Sunday at 1:35 p.m.
Charlotte 6, Clearwater 5: The Threshers (27-33) failed to get the last out, instead being burned for a three-run, ninth-inning rally.
The final two Stone Crab runs scored on a bloop single to shortstop.
LH Aaron Brown (L, 1-4) blew the save, his third in five closing opportunities. He allowed the tying and winning runs — as well as an inherited runner to score — after coming in for LH Josh Tols, who got the first two outs of the inning.
Clearwater had a 4-0 lead through two innings thanks in part to homers from LF Luke Williams (2-R) and DH Gabriel Lino (solo), his first.
CF Adam Haseley went 3-for-5 with a double from the two-hole. He's batting .378 over the past 10 games.
With the lead reduced to 4-3, the Threshers got an insurance run on a sac fly from 1B Austin Listi (0-for-3) in the top of the ninth.
The teams are back at it Sunday at 12:35 for the series finale.
Lakewood 6, Greensboro 5: 2B Daniel Brito and C Rodolfo Duran each homered, and the BlueClaws (35-26) held on after scoring six runs through the first three innings.
Lakewood did enough over the opening frames to survive a three-run fourth inning from the Grasshoppers. Neither team scored from that point.
3B Jake Scheiner had an RBI double to put the BlueClaws in front in the first.
RH Connor Brogdon picked up the win (2-2) in relief, despite surrendering the three-run frame. He gave up five hits in 3 2-3 innings with five strikeouts. The save went to LH Kyle Dohy, his seventh in nine tries.
Lakewood goes for the series win in Sunday's 2 p.m. rubber match.
DSL Rockies 5, DSL Phillies Red 1: CF Johan Rojas (1-for-2, BB) drove in the lone run for the Phillies (1-6) in a tough day at the plate.
DSL Cubs2 6, DSL Phillies White 4: The Phillies (4-3) led into the seventh, where a three-run inning set them down.
3B Juan Herrera went 3-for-4, while 17-year-old CF Carlos Mendoza added two hits with a run scored.