(photo courtesy of Joplin Blasters)
WINNIPEG, MB – The Winnipeg Goldeyes (2-0) beat the Joplin Blasters 4-3 in 11 innings at Joe Becker Stadium on Friday night.
Tied at 3-3 in the top of the 11th, Reggie Abercrombie led off with an infield single and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Abercrombie took third on a passed ball, and scored what proved to be the winning run when Blasters’ catcher Michael Pair made an errant throw down the left field line.
“We’ve been preaching with the guys from day one to ‘be aggressive,'” said Goldeyes’ hitting coachTom Vaeth after the game. “If you’re going to make a mistake, make a mistake being aggressive. We’ll take the heat if you get thrown out. Reggie is in the cages every day working hard. The bullpen battled for us, and we had a big hit from Jake to tie things up.”
Joplin (0-2) drew two walks in the bottom of the inning to put the tying and winning runs on base with one out. Eric Sim , who was the Goldeyes’ sixth reliever of the night, closed out the win by inducing a game-ending double play on a groundball from Aaron Brill. The night ended with Willie Cabrera in the on-deck circle, who earlier in the game, had improved his career RBI total against the Goldeyes to 26 in 29 contests.
Jailen Peguero (1-0) earned the win in relief, holding the Blasters scoreless over one and two-thirds innings. Peguero stranded the potential winning run in scoring position in both the 10th and 11th. Tyler Herr (0-1) took the loss for Joplin, while Sim was credited with his first save.
“Jailen was strong,” added Vaeth. “When it counts, and that pressure is on, he is a seasoned veteran, and was able to get his way out of a couple of jams. The bullpen battled and executed tonight.”
Extra innings were made possible thanks to a clutch home run from Jacob Rogers in the top of the eighth. Trailing 3-1 and facing Joplin reliever Victor Capellan, Rogers hammered an 0-2 pitch well beyond the right-centre field wall. Maikol Gonzalez opened the inning with a walk and steal of second.
“We want our guys to play nine innings and 27 outs,” said Vaeth. “Keep grinding out at bats, and if we do that, we’ll at least give ourselves a chance.”
Wes Darvill helped the Goldeyes take a 1-0 lead in the top of the fourth. Abercrombie was hit by a pitch leading off, stole second base, and took third on a wild pitch. David Rohm walked with one out to put runners on the corners, and Darvill plated Abercrombie with a sacrifice fly to left.
Joplin took its first lead of the series in the bottom of the sixth. A walk, hit batter, and fielder’s choice loaded the bases with one out. Cabrera knocked in the tying and go-ahead runs with a hard, groundball single up the middle. Will Soto added a sacrifice fly later in the inning to give the Blasters a 3-1 lead.
Duke von Schamann started for the Goldeyes and took a no-decision. von Schamann allowed three earned runs on two hits in five and one-third innings. von Schamann walked one, struck out five, and threw just 80 pitches.
Josh Hodges started for the Blasters and also took a no-decision. Hodges held the Goldeyes to one earned run on one hit over six complete innings.
Adam Heisler walked and stole second base in the top of the first. The steal was the 100th of Heisler’s professional career.
Zach Dando, Brandon Shimo, Cameron McVey, and Conor Spink combined for an additional three innings of scoreless relief.
The series continues Saturday evening at 6:35 p.m. Kevin McGovern faces Joplin right-hander Carlos Fuentes. All the action can be heard locally on 93.7 FM CJNU and worldwide at www.cjnu.ca The season’s first edition of Around the Association can be heard on CJNU beginning at 5:30 p.m. Additionally, Saturday’s game can be heard on 89.5 FM “The Lake” in Kenora, Ontario.
The Goldeyes’ 2016 home opener is scheduled for Monday, May 30th versus the Sioux Falls Canaries. Individual tickets for all home games at Shaw Park are on sale now by calling 1-855-GOLDEYE or visiting ticketmaster.ca For information regarding season tickets, 10-Game Mini Packs, or group outings, call the Goldeyes’ office at (204) 982-BASE, or visit the Goldeyes’ official website at www.goldeyes.com