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After Delay, Aviators Rally But Fall Short

July 10, 2007 - American Association (AA) - Coastal Bend Aviators News Release

Kevin Hull was scheduled to pitch against his former team shortly before the end of the first half of the American Association season. Rain washed away those games at Fort Worth, meaning Monday night would be Hull's first chance to battle his old mates. Unfortunately things didn't turn out the way he'd have liked as he allowed 6 earned runs in just 4 innings, including a grand slam homerun to outfielder Alan Moye. He left with his team facing a 7-1 deficit.

The Aviators would battle back thanks to a rejuvenated offense that awoke after a 25 minute lighting delay halted the game in the fourth inning.

After play resumed, Fort Worth starter Nick Martin stayed in the game despite the delay. He did not pitch nearly as effectively as he had the prior three innings. Matt Spencer singled sharply and Phillip Grau unleashed his first homerun of the year to left field, cutting the Cats lead to 7-3. With two out, Will Lewis doubled and James Lofton scored him with a single, bringing the red hot Grant Richardson to the plate. He crushed his team-leading 7th dinger of the year over the left field wall and suddenly the Aviators were within a run.

Miguel Martinez came on in the top of the fifth to relieve Hull and did a superb job. He pitched four coreless innings striking out 5 while allowing just 2 hits.

Despite leaving eight runners on base to that point in the ballgame, Coastal Bend's offense kept scratching and clawing until they found a way to score the tying run in the bottom of the seventh. JD Foust reached on an error by the shortstop and advanced to second when the ball went into the visitors' dugout. He then stole third before newly acquired catcher Jason Arrowood walked. Reliever Aaron Marsden entered the game for Fort Worth and promptly walked Travis Tully to load the bases for Will Lewis. Lewis singled to right field scoring Foust and Arrowood was waived home on the play. But the throw to the plate was in time and after colliding with his Cats counterpart Kelley Gulledge, he was called out.

The Aviators grabbed the lead in the bottom of the eighth when Lofton singled and Richardson again came through with a double to bring him around. That put Coastal Bend on top 8-7 and the Aviators seemed headed for a dramatic victory.

Tim Haines was called upon to pitch the ninth. He retired the leadoff man Dallas Christison, allowed a single to third baseman Terrence Green, and got Jordan Foster to ground out to second. With Green having advanced on the ground ball, Marc Mirizzi came to the plate with the tying run on second and two out. In a curious move, the Aviators intentionally walked him to create a force at every base but home. Mirizzi was replaced with pinch runner Steve Trout. He and Green advanced a base on a wild pitch to Carlos Adolfo, putting 2 runners in coring position. Adolfo then tapped a slow dribbler down the third base line that just stayed fair. Foust picked it up but had no play as Green scored and the game was tied at 8. Gulledge then hit a grounder to short. Lofton bobbled the ball and could not get it to Lewis covering the bag and all runners were safe. Trout came home from third to give Fort Worth a 9-8 lead which would prove to be the final margin of victory.

The Aviators put a runner on in the ninth but never threatened to score. With the loss they fall to 5-2 in the second half of the season. Haines takes the loss to fall to 2-4. Hull did not factor in the decision. Marsden was credited with the win, improving to 4-4 and Lee Gwaltney, who pitched the ninth for the Cats, got his first save of the year. Game two of the three game set is tomorrow at 7:05pm. The Aviators will send JR Pickens (4-1) to the hill against Ryan Trytten (2-3). The game can be heard locally on KOPY 1070 AM or online.

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