The El Paso Chihuahuas had home runs from Will Middlebrooks and Hunter Renfroe Thursday but lost to the Fresno Grizzlies 5-4. El Paso now trails Fresno two games to none in the best-of-five series.
Jason Hagerty and Casey McElroy picked up RBI hits in the second inning to put El Paso ahead 2-0, the Chihuahuas’ first lead of the series. After Fresno tied the game with a two-run second inning, the Grizzlies went ahead in the fourth when Nolan Fontana hit a two-run home run into the right field stands.
The homers by Middlebrooks and Renfroe late got the Chihuahuas within one run multiple times but El Paso went down in order in the ninth. Chihuahuas’ starter Chris Smith allowed four runs on seven hits in six innings Thursday. Fresno’s Asher Wojciechowski also tossed six innings, allowing two runs on six hits.
Grizzlies’ starting pitching has combined for 12 innings in the Conference Finals and allowed only three total runs.
Friday’s must win game is the first of three potential playoff contests at Southwest University Park. Saturday’s Game 4 is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. and Sunday’s potential decisive Game 5 is scheduled for 1:05 p.m.
Next Game: Friday, 7:05 p.m. at Southwest University Park. El Paso LHP Robbie Erlin (0-0, -.– in postseason) vs. Fresno RHP Mark Appel (0-0, -.– in postseason). Game coverage begins at 7:55 p.m. on 600 ESPN El Paso and www.epchihuahuas.com.
Fresno 5 El Paso 4 – Thursday
WP: Wojciechowski (1-0)
LP: Smith (0-1)
S: Hoyt (1)