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9th inning rally falls short, Aviators fall 7-6 to Pelicans

July 11, 2004 - Central Baseball League (Central League) - Coastal Bend Aviators News Release

Robstown, TX– Coastal Bend scored four runs in the bottom of the 9th inning and got the potential tying run to third base, but Pensacola eventually snuffed out a wild Aviators rally and escape with a 7-6 victory Sunday night…the Pelicans taking the rubber match of a three-game series at Fairgrounds Field in Robstown, Texas.

Lefthander Scott Tower, making his Coastal Bend debut, battled his control and lasted just an inning-and-a-third – the Pelicans plated a run in the opening frame when Tower walked the bases loaded and then lost Josey Shannon on a 3-1 pitch to force home Andy Wilson. The Aviators answered right back in the bottom of the 1st, stringing together three consecutive hits off Pensacola starter Byron Batson to take the lead – with one out, Lou Ferrell singled and was promptly doubled home by Carlos Adolfo…Marcus Knight then delivered an RBI single to center to knock in Adolfo and put Coastal Bend up 2-1. The Pelicans went back on the offensive and sent nine men to the plate in the 2nd, scoring five times – after Tower walked Jose Salas and George Branch to open the inning, Matt Tindell reached on a bunt single to load the bases. Two batters later Carlos Mendoza knocked in two runs with a base hit to left, ending Tower’s evening. Newly-signed Tim Ramon came on in relief for the Aviators, but surrendered an RBI single to Joe Espada and a two-run single to Larry Bethea…when the dust had finally settled, the Pelicans were perched on a 6-2 lead.

Pensacola scored the run that would turn out to be the difference in the 4th – Espada coming home from third on a Mike Rodriguez sacrifice fly – and Batson, after surrending four 1st inning hits, held the Aviators to just three hits over the next seven frames. The Pelicans still led 7-2 going into the bottom of the 9th, but Coastal Bend’s bats came alive against reliever Bubba Dobson – Knight, Francisco Lebron and Cris Colon singled in succession to plate a run…then Pensacola reliever Charlie Griffin hit David Bell with a pitch to load the bases. After Carlos Castillo struck out, J.R. Cortez connected for a two-run single to make the score 7-5 and put the tying runs aboard. Righthander Gerardo Casadiego was summoned from the Pelicans bullpen, but he walked Edwin Maldonado to load the bases. Ferrell’s fielder’s choice grounder knocked in Bell to cut the Pensacola lead to one, and with two out and Cortez at third, Adolfo came to the plate…but Casadiego struck out Carlos looking to end the Aviators furious 9th inning rally and the ballgame.

Batson (4-2) went eight innings and struck out five in winning his third straight start, while Casadiego picked up his third save of the year…Tower (0-1) was tagged with the loss. The Aviators outhit Pensacola 11-8 – Ferrell, Knight, Lebron and Cortez had two safeties apiece – while Mendoza and Bethea each went 2-for-4 to pace the Pelicans. Sunday’s loss dropped Coastal Bend to 7-6 in the second half (and a game-and-a-half behind first place Amarillo in the West Division; the Dillas beat Shreveport 13-5) and 31-30 overall…the East Division leading Pelicans improved to 10-4 in the second half and 34-27 on the season. The Aviators continue their homestand Monday with the first of three against the Fort Worth Cats – Jose Luis Lopez (6-3) will be on the mound for Coastal Bend in the series opener; the Cats will counter with righty Angel Aragon (8-3).

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