Asheboro, NC - In their first matchup against the Asheboro Zookeepers this season, the Tri-City Chili Peppers had a dominant 9-1 win.

The Chili Peppers had a hot start in their first season matchup against the Zookeepers. With hits by Kasten Furr (University of New Orleans) and Ethan Iannuzzi (Randolph Macon College) and a two-run home run by Derek Bender (Randolph Macon College), Tri-City put up two runs in the top of the first. They were able to maintain this early lead when pitcher Cole Bramhall (Howard College, TX) pitched three up, three down to end the inning.

The Tri-City home runs didn’t stop in the first inning. Brandon Eike (UNC) hit a home run of his own in the second to advance his team’s lead to three. Asheboro didn’t find the same success at the plate, failing to score in the second.

The bats for the Chili Peppers slowed down in the third, during which they batted three up, three down. The Zookeepers also batted three up, three down to keep the score at 3-0 after three innings.

Bender scored for the second time in Saturday’s game in the top of the fourth inning after hitting a single to kick the inning off. Bramhall held Asheboro to three up, three down once again in the bottom of the fourth.

Despite a single by Iannuzzi, Tri-City didn’t score in the fifth. Two errors by the pitcher allowed the Zookeepers to put themselves on the scoreboard in the bottom of the inning with one run.

Willie Havens (Elon) and Hunter Gilliam (University of Kentucky) both hit singles in the sixth, and despite stolen bases by both of them, neither scored. Bramhall pitched three up, three down for the fourth time in this face off in the bottom of the sixth to maintain the 4-1 Tri-City lead.

Furr put up another Chili Pepper run in the top of the seventh after walking to start the inning and was aided by yet another single by Iannuzzi. Coastal Carolina’s Colin Yablonski took over on the mound for the bottom of the seventh and held the Zookeepers with no hits or runs.

Hits by Eike, Greg Ryan (Longwood University) and Kyle Jenkins (Mars Hill University) in the eighth brought in another four runs for an eight run lead for the Chili Peppers.

Tri-City had another pitching change in the bottom of the eighth to Terrell Hudson of the University of New Mexico. Hudson pitched three up, three down to keep the score at 9-1 entering the final inning.

The Chili Peppers batted three up, three down in the top of the ninth, but Tri-City pitcher Wyatt Stanley (Randolph Macon University) held Asheboro with the help of Tri-City’s defense, who caught a Zookeepers player stealing.

After tonight’s 9-1 win, the Chili Peppers will return home for tomorrow’s exhibition game against the Greenbrier Knights.