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Saturday, May 19, 2012
LAREDO, Texas – Through eight innings on Friday, the Grand Prairie AirHogs looked poised to exactly mirror the score from Thursday’s season-opener, leading the Laredo Lemurs 5-1 after losing by that same score a night earlier. But Grand Prairie tacked on an insurance run in the ninth to make it 6-1 before the Lemurs made it interesting in the bottom half, forcing closer Justin Dowdy to come on and preserve the win, which the AirHogs eventually picked up 6-3.
After both starting pitchers exchanged perfect first innings, for the second night in a row, the AirHogs (1-1) got on the board in the second. With one out, Greg Porter walked and Trent Lockwood lined a double off the rightfield wall. David Thomas plated Porter with a groundout to second and Chris McMurray came up with the first of several big two-out hits for the AirHogs with an RBI single to make it 2-0
That was more than enough for Nick DeBarr (1-0), who shut the Lemurs (1-1) down through the first six innings, allowing just two singles, a walk and two hit batsmen, while striking out two and inducing a pair of double-play groundouts.
His counterpart, Chris Chavez (0-1), was lifted with the bases loaded in the fifth, but Edwin Walker struck out Brian Myrow to end the inning and keep the game at 2-0.
But Walker was not as successful in the sixth. After getting the first two AirHogs on pop-ups, the Lemurs lefty walked Lockwood and Thomas made him pay with an RBI double to left-center. McMurray followed with a line-drive home run to left to make it 5-0 and give Grand Prairie some breathing room.
DeBarr ran out of gas in the seventh, giving up a leadoff double to John Allen, an infield single to Jorge Delgado and a walk to Stephen Pearson. He was replaced by Griffin Bailey, who for the second day in a row gave up an RBI hit on the first pitch he threw – with Ernie Banks, Jr. singling to left to make it 5-1. But the righty reliever then got a popup, a strikeout and a groundout to hold the Lemurs to the one run.
Lefty Ronnie Morales pitched around a leadoff walk in the eighth, and Keanon Simon’s RBI triple made it 6-1 Grand Prairie, but righty Mike Hart struggled in his AirHogs debut, giving up three singles and a balk to plate two Laredo runs in the ninth.
In came the lefty closer Dowdy for his first save opportunity of the year, and he quickly dispatched the Lemurs, getting a strikeout from Jeff Vincent, a foul-out from Jimmy Mojica and a pop-up to short by Anthony Scelfo to earn his first save of the year.
Notes: After going 0-for-9 with two outs on Thursday, the AirHogs went 6-for-15 (.400) in that spot on Friady…Simon and Banks each had three hits…Lockwood and McMurray had two hits each for Grand Prairie, while Pearson picked up two knocks for the Lemurs…Counting Thursday, the first five pitches Bailey threw this year were all put into play, with three hits and two outs…The AirHogs drew six walks and a hit batter on Thursday and none of them scored, while three out of the five men who walked on Friday eventually crossed the plate.
The 2011 American Association Champion Grand Prairie AirHogs continue their four-game series against the Laredo Lemurs on Saturday, May 19, at 7:30 p.m. The 2012 home opener is Monday, May 21, at 7:05 p.m. against the El Paso Diablos with a Championship Ring Ceremony presented by the Grand Prairie Parks & Recreation Department and Balfour. 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.