GRAND PRAIRIE, TX – The Winnipeg Goldeyes beat the Texas AirHogs 5-3 at AirHogs Stadium on Tuesday afternoon.
With the Goldeyes trailing 3-2, Kevin Garcia started the top of the eighth with a double down the left field line. After Jordan Ebert sacrificed Garcia to third, Andrew Sohn drew a four-pitch walk that put runners on the corners. With Victor Cruzado at the plate, AirHogs’ right-hander Taylor Wright balked in the tying run after dropping the ball while on the mound. After Wright struck out Cruzado, Reynaldo Rodriguez ripped a two-out, RBI single to left that scored Sohn from second with the go-ahead run.
“Any time you win is good, especially when you’re not playing your best baseball,” said Goldeyes’ hitting coach Tom Vaeth. “If you can find ways to scratch one out here and there, anything that keeps your head afloat, that’s all you want to do until everybody starts to get hot and you can start turning things around.”
Cameron McVey struck out two batters during a scoreless bottom of the eighth to preserve the lead. Grant Heyman led off the top of the ninth with a home run down the right field line that made it 5-3. Victor Capellan—pitching on a third consecutive day—worked a perfect bottom of the ninth to earn his third save of the year.
“It’s a new role for him this year, and so far, so good,” said Vaeth on Capellan. “You feel pretty confident when you give him a lead, whether he’s pitching the eighth or the ninth. Like anybody else in that role, you have to come in and get the first guy out, and so far he’s done that.”
The Goldeyes took a 2-0 lead in the top of the third. Garcia led off with a single and scored the game’s first run when Ebert tripled to right-centre. Two batters later, Cruzado drove in Ebert with a groundball to second base.
Casio Grider beat out an infield single with one out in the bottom of the third and advanced to second when Chu Fujia reached on a dropped third strike. Dillon Thomas then hit a three-run, opposite field homer to left-centre that put the AirHogs in front 3-2.
Texas went on to put runners on second and third with one out in the third inning, but Goldeyes’ starter Alex Boshers struck out Lu Zhenhong and retired Meng Weiqiang on a groundout to third to keep Winnipeg within one run. Boshers worked out of a bases loaded jam in the fourth, and allowed three earned runs on 10 hits over five and two-thirds innings. Boshers walked one, struck out seven, and took a no-decision.
“I thought Alex did a real good job of minimizing the damage in the third,” said Vaeth. “He made some big pitches, and was able to keep us close with a lot of zeroes.”
Kenny Mathews (1-0) pitched one and one-third scoreless innings in relief of Boshers. Mathews struck out the side in the bottom of the seventh and picked up the win.
Wright (0-1) took the loss for the AirHogs.
Texas starter Sun Jianzeng took a no-decision, allowing two earned runs on three hits in four and one-third innings. Jianzeng walked one and struck out two.
The Goldeyes’ pitching staff combined for 13 strikeouts, and has struck out 58 batters over the first five games of the season.
The Goldeyes and AirHogs finish their series Wednesday morning at 11:05 a.m. Charle Rosario (0-0, 0.00) takes on right-hander Miguel Rosario (0-0, 0.00). All the action can be heard locally on 93.7 FM CJNU and worldwide at www.cjnu.ca