The El Paso Chihuahuas showed some fight against the Fresno Grizzlies on Friday by battling their way to an 8-7 extra-innings win.
The Dogs have a demoralizing five wins in the last 18 games, so the victory was desperately welcomed by the team and fans alike.
“We struggled a little bit early on with the pitching,” Chihuahuas Manager Rod Barajas said. “The bullpen was able to come in and put some solid innings of work for us and keep the game within reach. We scrap back and kept battling until that big hit by Goris that won the game for us.”
El Paso starter Jesse Scholtens (5.91 ERA) gave up five earned runs — two of them homeruns — in his four innings of work and left the game tied 4-4.
Reliever Jonathan Aro handled the next two innings and only gave up a couple of hits and one earned run.
El Paso reliever Trey Wingenter (4.74 ERA) took over for Aro in the 7th and threw an impressive 18 pitches (13 of them were strikes) in two innings. Wingenter gave up no hits and was attacking the Grizzlies with a formidable mid-90s fastball.
The Grizzlies were set to win 6-5 in the bottom of the 9th when third baseman Diego Goris nailed a hard-hit ground ball toward the Fresno second baseman who had trouble getting to his feet and making a clean throw afterwards. Goris tied the game on a well-placed double to left field by first baseman Allen Craig.
The next couple of batters left Craig in scoring position and it goes into extras.
Fresno pinch runner Drew Ferguson starts the 10th inning on second base, as per the new minor league baseball rule, and eventually scores from third base on a ball hit to deep left field. El Paso reliever was able to close out the inning without further damage.
Dogs’ center fielder Auston Bousfield started the bottom of the 10th on second base. Infielder Luis Urias singled to right center and later advanced to second on a wild pitch. Longtime Chihuahua and El Paso favorite Hunter Renfroe is intentionally walked and the bases are loaded. Left fielder Shane Peterson struck out and up came Goris, who was probably the Dogs’ best chance at getting the win with his .315 batting average.
Of course, Goris came through on a 1-2 count with a two-run single to center field.
“It was the first time I ever faced this pitcher and I was really just looking for anything I could hit and that’s what happened,” Goris said in Spanish. “You can’t imagine how this feels, it’s really inexplicable. I think this is one of the best ways to get out of a slump.”
El Paso 8 Fresno 7 – Friday – 10 Innings
WP: Castillo (1-0) LP: Boshers (2-1) S: None Time: 3:06 Attn: 7,941 Box Score | Team Records: Fresno (25-17), El Paso (21-21)
Next Game: Saturday, 7:05 pm at Southwest University Park. Fresno RHP Trent Thornton (3-2, 3.86) vs. El Paso LHP Dillon Overton (0-0, 2.00). The game will air on 600 ESPN El Paso and www.epchihuahuas.com.
Author: Larry Monarrez – El Paso Herald-Post