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Friday, June 15, 2012
GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas – Ernie Banks would have been a friend of the Grand Prairie AirHogs this season, as they have taken advantage of his “Let’s play two” mantra in 2012. For the second time in a week and third time this season, the AirHogs swept a twinbill, beating the Newark Bears 6-4 and 8-0 at QuikTrip Park in the first interleague matchup in the AirHogs’ history.
As per league rules, both games were seven innings.
In the first game, the AirHogs (18-10) used a big inning for the third day in a row – this time the fifth – to come back from early 3-0 and 4-1 holes. Lefty Cody White allowed nine hits and a walk in three-plus innings, but kept the Bears (10-18) to just the four runs
Derrick Miramontes (2-1) came in with a runner at second and no outs in the fourth and kept the Bears ahead 4-1. After Chris McMurray homered in the fourth to bring Grand Prairie within two, David Thomas led off the fifth with his first longball of the year to make it 4-3.
After a strikeout, Keanon Simon tripled to right-center, but Bears starter Matt Fitton (2-1) got Bryan Frichter to tap back to the mound to keep Newark in front for the time being. Brian Myrow then drew a walk and Fitton was pulled for righty Matt Lyons, who got ahead of but then lost Andres Rodriguez for another walk to load the bases. Up came Greg Porter, who blasted a pitch over Bryce Lane in center to clear the bases and give Grand Prairie the lead for good.
Griffin Bailey and Ronnie Morales got through the sixth without allowing a run, and Justin Dowdy got a line-drive double play to help pitch a scoreless seventh and pick up his sixth save of the season.
In the nightcap, John Brownell (4-1) pitched his second complete-game shutout of the season, striking out seven Bears with four hits and two walks to win his fourth straight decision. This time, the AirHogs took the lead early, scoring twice in the first on Andres Rodriguez’s single against Sean Campbell (0-4). The Newark lefty was lifted after loading the bases to start the second, but Luis Garcia got out of the inning without any damage.
The third was less kind to the reliever, with Zane Chavez smacking the first pitch he saw to left for a grand slam, the first this season for the AirHogs, to give them a 6-0 lead. Garcia then kept the ’Hogs at bay the rest of the way, except for another first-pitch home run, this one a two-run shot by Rodriguez in the sixth to finish the scoring.
Working on three days’ rest, Brownell retired the first 10 Bears hitters and did not give up a hit until the fifth, scuffling through the fifth and sixth before getting Newark in order in the seventh to finish things off.
Notes: Brownell’s first shutout was a three-hitter at Sioux City on May 29…The AirHogs have had an inning of four runs or more in five straight games… Eight different AirHogs scored the eight runs in the nightcap…Eight Bears had at least a hit in the first game…Newark left a combined 15 men on base in the 14 innings.
The 2011 American Association Champion Grand Prairie AirHogs conclude their three-game series against the Newark Bears, on Friday, June 15 at 7:05 p.m. It is Negro League Tribute Night, presented by Jim Austin Online, as the AirHogs will dress as the Texas Black Spiders and the Bears will don the shirts of the Newark Eagles. Both teams’ shirts will be raffled off for free after the game. It is also Dinger Bat Night, with replica autographed bats to be raffled off throughout 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.