Saturday, June 30, 2012
GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas – A long day of baseball at QuikTrip Park that started Saturday morning with YMCA T-Ball games and ended with a Fireworks Saturday Night spectacular saw the home team win as well, as the Grand Prairie AirHogs took their fourth straight contest, scoring late for the second night in a row to beat the Amarillo Sox 4-3.
Between the T-Ball, the opening ceremonies of the USSSA World Series, the day-long “Boob-B-Cue” to support breast cancer research and the AirHogs game itself, a crowd of 6,455 came through QuikTrip Park on Saturday.
But they were quiet early, as the Sox (21-20) took the lead in the third inning with a two-out single by Jason White followed by an RBI double from Matthew Tucker off AirHogs starter Nick DeBarr (7-2).
The AirHogs (28-13) responded with a pair of runs in the fourth to take the lead, using two walks and an infield hit to their advantage, with David Thomas’s two-run, two-out, bases-loaded single to right-center providing the runs.
DeBarr held the Sox off the board in the fourth and fifth despite three walks, but after striking out the first two hitters in the sixth, he walked Van Pope, an Alberto Espinosa drove a 1-2 pitch over the leftfield wall to put Amarillo back in front.
Sox starter Jusin Garcia left after six innings of six-hit baseball, and lefty reliever Andrew Bowman (1-2) immediately got in trouble in the seventh, walking David Thomas to start the inning. With Yasutsugu Nishimoto up to sacrifice, Bowman through two pitches over the AirHogs’ shortstop’s head, one resulting in a stolen base for Thomas and the second a wild pitch to move him to third on ball four to Nishimoto.
In came Chad Povich, who also threw a wild pitch to move Nishimoto to third, before getting Keanon Simon to pop out to short. But Bryan Frichter hit a two-strike pitch to right-center for a sacrifice fly to tie the game, and shortstop Jason White could not get Brian Myrow at first on a deep grounder in the hole, allowing Nishimoto to score the eventual winning run.
Griffin Bailey kept the AirHogs on top with a 1-2-3 eighth, and closer Justin Dowdy struck out the first two in the ninth before walking Chuck Lofgren. But the AirHogs’ lefty struck out Harrison Kain looking to end it and pick up his 10th save of the season.
Notes: Dowdy has now picked up saves in the last four games for the AirHogs. His 10 saves is now tied for the league lead…After Wes Littleton did it on Friday, the first reliever for the Sox in each game of the series has failed to get an out…Amarillo manager John Harris was ejected for arguing balls and strikes with home plate umpire Andrew Carroll after a walk to Andres Rodriguez in the bottom of the sixth…The AirHogs finished June 20-8, including an 0-3 start.
The 2011 American Association Champion Grand Prairie AirHogs continue their four-game series against the Amarillo Sox on Sunday, July 1 at 6:05 p.m. It is Family Sunday, with one dollar hot dogs and a chance to play catch on the field before the game. All games are aired live and for free on Ustream by clicking on the link on the AirHogs’ home page or visiting http://www.ustream.tv/channel/airhogs-baseball with selected contests aired on Time Warner Cable’s Texas Channel. For information on tickets, promotions, advertising, and other opportunities with the AirHogs, check out the Web site at www.airhogsbaseball.com, or call the QuikTrip Park office at (972) 504-9383.