LOWELL -- Although Jordan Betts grew up in Wilmington, N.C., not Wilmington, Mass., he's been a fan of the Boston Red Sox for a long time.
Spinners 8, Tri-City 7
Betts is a former standout athlete at New Hanover High School in Wilmington, N.C. which also happens to be the same high school former Red Sox star outfielder Trot Nixon attended.
Betts, a third baseman who played his college ball at Duke University, has always been a big fan of Nixon's and because of that he was a member of Red Sox Nation long before Boston selected him in the 18th round of Major League Baseball's first-year player draft earlier this month.
On a wild night of baseball at LeLacheur Park, Betts went 3-for-3 with a homer, double and single, walked once, scored 3 runs and knocked in 2 while helping the Lowell Spinners top the Tri-City ValleyCats, 8-7.
Mike Meyers (2 hits) provided the winning hit in this walk-off win for Lowell, a one-out RBI-single to center field in the ninth that scored Nick Longhi, who began the winning rally with a base hit.
Franklin Guzman (2 hits) also was a force at the plate for Lowell, belting a towering homer to left field that tied the score, 7-7, in the seventh inning.
"Trot is a family friend," said Betts. "I've known him a long time. He was, obviously, a role model of mine growing up. Fortunately, I'm getting a chance to play for the same organization he did.
"Trot is great guy. I'll hear from him on occasion throughout the year. He's someone I look up to. Growing up in Wilmington, North Carolina the (Atlanta) Braves were the local team. But I loved the Red Sox when Trot was playing for them. As hard as he plays I don't think I could look up to a better guy."
Betts doubled and scored in the third, lined a 2-run homer to left field in the fourth, singled and scored in the sixth and walked in the seventh.
"I felt really good today," said Betts. "I've made some adjustments (at the plate). To square up three baseballs and get the walk feels great. Hopefully, I can keep it going. Winning like this is a lot of fun."
Betts was a four-year starter at third base at Duke. He batted .316 this season with 5 homers, 20 doubles and 32 RBI. Betts, who graduated from Duke with a degree in history and political science, had a .272 career batting average with 17 homers and 131 RBI in 217 games.
In five games with Lowell, Betts, 22, is batting .286 (6-for-21) with 2 homers and 4 RBI.
"He's starting to feel a little more comfortable and l think he's starting to get his timing back," said Spinner manager Joe Oliver. "He had some down time since the end of his college season to now. It is a big adjustment getting into a daily grind here.
"But you can see him swinging the bat better. You're seeing quality swings. You see the approach. He's starting to put things together and it helps that he's seeing some pitchers a couple of times."
Tri-City scored 5 runs in the top of the seventh to take a 7-6 lead, setting the stage for the Spinners' winning rally.
Andres Torres, a veteran of nine major league seasons, whom the Red Sox signed to a minor league free agent contract earlier this month, started in center field for Lowell and went 1-for-3 with a walk. Torres batted .318 (7-for-22) with a home run, 4 doubles and 3 RBI while helping the San Francisco Giants win the 2010 World Series.
"This team just fights, we never get down," said Betts. "They took the lead from us in the seventh. But Guzman comes out and hits the home run. We're going to fight for all 27 outs. We just don't quit. We get after it. It's a real good bunch of guys."
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