FREDERICK, MD., SEPT. 6 -- Kinston, trailing by two runs going into the sixth inning and on the verge of losing the Carolina League championship to the Frederick Keys, turned on the power tonight and forced a fifth and deciding game Friday night with an 8-5 victory before 2,781 at Harry Grove Stadium.
The Indians scored five runs in the sixth and three in the seventh, then repelled a ninth-inning rally by the Keys, who loaded the bases with two out.
Kinston's Chris Pinder (8-4), pitching on three days' rest, allowed three hits and three runs over seven innings.
Mike Oquist (9-8), who hadn't pitched in seven days, nursed a 2-0 lead into the sixth before he started to tire. After Rouglas Odor bounced out to second, Jim Thome walked and Jesse Levis smashed a single through the right side. This set the stage for Tim Costo's home run over the left field wall.
"We were confident in our hitting and knew our bats would come on later in the game," said Costo, the Cleveland Indians' first-round pick in the June draft from the University of Iowa. "I think we have the momentum based off the win. But they're at home and are going to be tough."
Marc Tepper followed by doubling off the wall in left-center field. One out later Tracy Sanders hit a monstrous shot off the right field scoreboard to extend the lead to 5-2.
Kinston, thanks to three errors in the seventh (the Keys had five for the game), added three runs on one hit in the inning to make it 8-2.
Frederick picked up a run in the seventh to trail by 8-3 when Mel Wearing hit a leadoff line drive down the left field line and two outs later scored on Dan Berthel's single to center.
The Keys loaded the bases in the eighth, but could only muster a run. Mike Lehman reached on a error and scored when Wearing legged out an infield single, but Tim Holland struck out swinging to end the Keys' rally.
With one out in the ninth, T.R. Lewis, pinch-hitting for Pete Rose, singled and scored on Lehman's double to left. Tony Beasley and Ricky Gutierrez walked to load the bases. Tyrone Kingwood, who had homered in the first, then hit a sinking liner to left field that Sanders snared with a diving catch to end the game.
"It was a do-or-die situation," said Sanders. "We came here to win two games and that is what we're going to do."
In the first, with Gutierrez on board with a walk, Kingwood homered over the left field wall to give the Keys a 2-0 lead.
Kinston threatened in the second when Tepper and Nolan Lane hit back-to-back singles with one out. But Oquist retired Sanders and Fabio Gomez, who had three hits in Game 3 on fly balls, to left and center to get out of the inning.
Oquist, the Keys' strikeout leader (170) who fanned four batters in the first four innings, escaped trouble in the fourth inning when Tepper, who was two for three, tripled to center. It looked like a routine single, but the ball took a bad hop and bounced over the head of Roy Gilbert.
Oquist got Lane to ground out to short to end the threat.