(WHITAKER BANK BALLPARK, Lexington, Ky.) Bubba Starling’s 420-foot home run to straightaway center field in the bottom of the eighth inning broke a 2-2 tie, and the Lexington Legends went on to a 5-2 win over Hagerstown Thursday night in front of a crowd of 5,039 at Whitaker Bank Ballpark.
The Legends took a 2-0 lead into the top of the eighth, but with two outs, Tony Renda singled and Khayyan Norfork homered to tie the game.
Raul Mondesi led off the bottom of the eighth with a single, and Starling followed with his sixth home run of the year, a drive that cleared the 16-foot high center field wall near the 401-foot sign.
Lexington scored the first run of the game in the fifth inning on singles by Humberto Arteaga and Kenny Diekroeger and a double by Mark Donato.
Donato hit a solo homer in the bottom of the seventh, putting the Legends up 2-0, and setting the stage for the Suns’ comeback and Starling’s blast in the eighth.
Donato, who joined the Legends May 24 from extended spring training, has 10 hits in his first 23 at bats, a .435 average.
Aroni Nina (2-3) picked up the win in relief for the Legends. Chris McKenzie (0-1), who worked the eighth inning, took the loss.
Alec Mills, making his first start of the season for the Legends after 15 relief appearances, pitched six shutout innings. He struck out five batters and walked none.
The Legends and Suns will play the second game of the four-game series Friday night. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. Gates open at 6 p.m., and the first 1,000 fans will receive a George Brett bobblehead honoring the baseball Hall of Famer, who spent his entire 21-year career with the Legends major league affiliate, the Kansas City Royals. A Ford Fireworks show will follow the game.