WINNIPEG, MB – The Winnipeg Goldeyes (14-12) fell 5-3 to the Texas AirHogs at Shaw Park on Wednesday night.
Leading 1-0 in the top of the fifth inning, the AirHogs (11-15) added four runs to take a 5-0 advantage. Brian Bistagne and Will DuPont were hit by consecutive pitches to open the inning. Michael Hur doubled to centre field to drive in Bistagne, while Juan Sanchez followed with a sacrifice fly to left that plated DuPont. Burt Reynolds worked the count to 3-0 against Goldeyes’ starter Mikey O’Brien before drawing an intentional fourth ball. Austin Gallagher flied to left field for the second out. After Hur and Reynolds advanced on a wild pitch, Devon Rodriguez singled to centre to drive in two more runs.
“It was a good game,” said Goldeyes’ manager Rick Forney. “The bullpen was fantastic. You don’t really like to work those guys four innings or more (on) back-to-back nights, but it was kind of required today. We had our chances. We weren’t able to capitalize.”
The Goldeyes answered back with two runs in the bottom of the inning. Wes Darvill drew a leadoff walk and was tripled home by Casio Grider . Grider came home with the Goldeyes’ second run when AirHogs’ starter Cody Hebner was charged with a balk.
In the bottom of the sixth, Carlton Tanabe drove in Reggie Abercrombie on a two-out, pinch-hit, RBI single to cut the lead to 5-3.
Maikol Gonzalez and Josh Romanski drew back-to-back walks against AirHogs’ reliever Tyler Ihrig to start the bottom of the seventh, but Ihrig survived a line drive to shortstop from David Rohm and a deep flyball to centre from Jacob Rogers before eventually escaping the inning unscathed.
Alan Oaks worked around a leadoff single by Darvill in the eighth, while Carlos Misell pitched a perfect ninth to earn his second save of the year.
“Tip your cap to their pitching,” said Forney. “I thought they threw really, really well today. They had some power arms. Their starter was good. He liked to work fast. He dictated the terms out there, and we just weren’t able to disrupt his timing.”
O’Brien (3-2) took the loss, allowing five runs, four earned, on six hits in five innings. O’Brien walked one and struck out one.
“He (O’Brien) was just a little loose with his command,” said Forney. “He was able to wiggle out of one of those innings early in the ballgame with only one run allowed, but in the fifth, he hit the first two guys to start the inning, and they wound up scoring. Ultimately, it was the difference in the game.”
Hebner (1-4) earned the win, allowing three earned runs on five hits in five and two-thirds. Hebner walked four and struck out seven.
Bistagne drove in the first run of the game with a two-out, RBI single in the top of the second.
Conor Spink, Brandon Shimo, Eric Eadington, and Cameron McVey each chipped in a scoreless relief inning for the Goldeyes. Winnipeg’s relievers have combined to allow one hit over eight and one-third scoreless innings in the series.
Gonzalez reached base four times with a single and three walks. Adam Heisler singled in the fifth to extend his hitting streak to 11 straight games.
The series concludes Thursday morning at 11:05 a.m. Kevin McGovern (0-1, 3.38) takes on fellow left-hander Griffin Russell (1-2, 5.47).
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.