WINNIPEG, MB – The Winnipeg Goldeyes (14-11) beat the Texas AirHogs 5-3 at Shaw Park on Tuesday night.
For a second straight game, the Goldeyes rallied late to win. Trailing 3-2 in the bottom of the seventh, Casio Grider battled AirHogs’ starter Matt Shepherd for nine pitches before ripping a one-out single to left. Tanner Murphy followed with a line drive double to centre that sent Grider to third and put the tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position. After Shepherd retired Adam Heisler on a groundout to first–and with Ridge Hoopii-Haslam pinch-running for Murphy– Maikol Gonzalez doubled into the left field corner to give the Goldeyes a 4-3 lead. David Rohm added an RBI single to make it 5-3.
“Maikol had a big game for us today,” said Goldeyes’ manager Rick Forney. “He’s been swinging the bat really well the last 10 days, and coming in with some big base hits for us when we needed to drive in some runs. He seems to be heating up. Hopefully we can ride him out through September.”
“Our team has been like that the whole year,” said Gonzalez. “We don’t give up at bats, we don’t give up innings, because that gives us the chance to fight for the game.”
Brandon Shimo recorded a perfect top of the eighth on just nine pitches. Jailen Peguero struck out two in a perfect ninth to earn his fifth save of the year.
“All of the (bullpen) guys were throwing strikes with more than one pitch,” said Forney. “When your command is that crisp and you have the ability to expand the zone the way Jailen and Shimo did…they’re out there making pitches right now.”
The Goldeyes broke a scoreless tie in the bottom of the third. Gonzalez stole second base with two outs and came home when Josh Romanski pulled a double to right field.
The AirHogs (10-15) responded in the top of the fourth inning on a two-out, three-run homer by Will DuPont that just cleared the right-centre field wall.
Jacob Rogers pulled the Goldeyes back within one run, with a line drive, solo homer to right-centre leading off the bottom of the fourth. It was Rogers’ team-leading fifth of the year.
Kyle Anderson started for the Goldeyes and went the first four and two-thirds. Anderson allowed three earned runs on 10 hits, walked one, and struck out five in a no-decision. Zach Dando relieved Anderson in the fifth and stranded a pair of runners. Dando worked two shutout innings. Conor Spink took over for Dando in the seventh and retired left-handed batting Austin Gallagher on just two pitches.
“I’m happy for Zach Dando to get out there in a tough situation in the fifth inning,” said Forney. “He came in and got some big outs for us. Spink came in for one big out and got a left-hander. He’s been scuffling in that role, but he got the left-hander that we needed to close out an inning. We rewarded him with a couple of runs, and wouldn’t you know, he’s the winning pitcher today.”
Dando, Spink, Shimo, and Peguero combined for four and one-third hitless innings. Spink (1-1) picked up the win in relief.
Shepherd (0-3) took the loss for the AirHogs, allowing five earned runs on nine hits in six and two-thirds innings. Shepherd walked two and struck out three, routinely hitting the mid-90s on the Shaw Park radar gun. Gonzalez’s seventh-inning double marked the final batter Shepherd faced, who finished the night on 116 pitches.
Heisler had two hits, and has hit safely in 10 games in a row. Rohm had three hits for the Goldeyes who have won three straight for a second time this year. Eight different Goldeyes had hits in the victory, while all nine starters reached base at least once.
The series continues Wednesday night at 7:05 p.m. Mikey O’Brien (3-1, 4.25) takes on AirHogs’ right-hander Cody Hebner (0-4, 7.18).
Tickets for all Goldeyes’ home games are on sale now by calling 1-855-GOLDEYE, visiting www.goldeyes.com, or stopping by any Ticketmaster location, including the box office at Shaw Park. For information on season tickets, 10-Game Mini Packs, or group outings, call the Goldeyes’ office at (204) 982-2273.