Aviator Pitchers Fan Fourteen, Top Lincoln 3-1
Coastal Bend's pitchers took the mound Friday night and mowed down the heavy hitting Lincoln Saltdogs on their way to a 3-1 victory, the team's second in a row since snapping a 12 game losing streak Wednesday night in Fort Worth. Pedro Flores had one of his most impressive outings in an Aviators uniform, punching out 10 batters in six innings of work. He allowed just 1 earned run and earned his third victory of the season (3-6). Relievers Tim Haines, Jon Hunton and Tom Atlee took the baton from Flores and added four more strikeouts to bring the total to 14, the most in any Aviator game this season.
Lincoln came into the game with the league's best team batting average (.304) and three players among the league's top ten hitters. By the end of the game two of them had been held hitless. First baseman Brett Cooley's solo homerun in the sixth accounted for the Saltdogs only run. The Aviators were facing tough pitching as well in the person of Jarrett Gardner, statistically one of the American Association's best. Gardner and Flores made sure there were only zeroes on the scoreboard until Coastal Bend broke through in the fifth. After a defensive switch left the Aviators without a DH, Flores showed his determination extended beyond the pitcher's mound. He got things going with a two out single to center past shortstop Corey Harrington that turned the Aviators batting order over. Leadoff man Brian Fryer smacked a double to left center to put runners at second and third with two out and James Lofton added to his hefty RBI total when he drove a double to right center that scored both runners and gave the Aviators a 2-0 lead. Lofton now has 43 runs driven in on the year.
In the sixth Coastal Bend missed a chance to add to the lead after three straight singles had loaded the bases with one out. Will Lewis popped up for the second out and pitcher Derrick Van Dusen came out to hit for Flores. He struck out to end the inning, but Flores left with the lead and Haines came on and worked a scoreless top of the seventh.
The insurance run came in the home half when Fryer scalded a ball to deep left center that looked like it would leave the yard. The Aviators centerfielder ended up at second base with no one out. After two fly ball outs, Bryon Smith scored him on a single and Coastal Bend had a 3-1 edge. Hunton and Atlee made it stand up facing just seven hitters over the final two frames while recording a strikeout each.
Fryer finished the night 3 for 4 with 2 runs scored and appears to be fully healthy again since being struck on the wrist by a pitch against Shreveport on July 8th. He had missed 6 games before the All Star break with the injury and the Aviators lineup sorely missed his productivity.
With the win, Coastal Bend improves to 7-13 in the second half and now trail Fort Worth by 7 games in the South Division standings. Game two of the series against Lincoln is Saturday night, with first pitch at 7:05pm. Josh Kauten (6-2, 3.29 ERA) will get the start for the Saltdogs, opposed by Derrick Van Dusen (5-6, 4.31). The game can be heard locally on KOPY 1070 AM or online.
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American Association Stories from July 27, 2007
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- Aviator Pitchers Fan Fourteen, Top Lincoln 3-1 - Coastal Bend Aviators
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