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Aviators Can't Hang On, Lose Slugfest 10-9

June 30, 2007 - American Association (AA) - Coastal Bend Aviators News Release

Not a lot of baseball teams have the lead in a single game for 19 hours. Completing a suspended game from Friday night, the Aviators had the lead wrestled away from them on Saturday afternoon as Shreveport scored twice off Coastal Bend closer Tom Atlee to claim a 10-9 victory in game 1 of a 3 game series. The teams took the field to complete the game which was suspended after 8 innings due to an electrical problem with the stadium lights. Atlee took the mound for the ninth facing the 3-4-5 hitters in the Sports batting order and retired the first two men on a fly ball and a strikeout. But Atlee surrendered a single to catcher Tommy Bryant and hit Deacon Burns with a pitch to put two on for third baseman Melvin Falu. He lifted a double deep down the left field line that just stayed fair and scored both his teammates for a 10-9 lead. The bottom of the Aviators batting order went 1-2-3 in their half of the ninth.

In Friday's first eight innings, the offense came in bunches, and the firepower was provided by three men on each side. For Shreveport it was Bryant, Falu and Burns (combined 9 for 13, 10 RBI, 6 runs scored). For the Aviators it was James Lofton, Grant Richardson, and Brian Fryer (combined 7 for 12, 7 RBI, 5 runs scored). Fryer singled in his first at bat for the fifth straight game. Neither starting pitcher had one of their better outings, with Kevin Hull allowing 8 earned runs in just 4 innings of work for the Aviators, and Matt Yeatman giving up 8 runs whle lasting just 3.2 innings for the Sports.

With the scored tied 1-1 in the bottom of the second, Lofton ripped a bases loaded double to left center scoring Stephen Morales, Will Lewis, and Fryer to give the Aviators a 4-1 lead. Bryant responded in the next half inning by launching a grand slam homerun to left which recaptured the lead for the Sports, 5-4.

After the Aviators loaded the bases in the fourth on 2 walks and a bunt single by left fielder Matt Spencer, Lofton drove in 2 more with a single to left. Grant Richardson would bring Lofton home later in the inning with a single to right and the Aviators led 8-5. But as they had done before, the Sports would answer with 3 in the top of the fifth to tie the score at 8. The big blow was Falu's triple down the left field line that scored two. Richardson's RBI single to center in the sixth gave Coastal Bend the 9-8 lead they enjoyed until the game resumed.

With the victory, Shreveport remains in second place, a game and a half ahead of Coastal Bend. Reliever Brandon Hudson had pitched the eighth inning and was the pitcher of record for Shreveport when they rallied in the ninth. He gets his first win of the season (1-0) and Matt Clayman, who pitched the ninth, earns the save (3). Atlee takes the loss (1-1). The total time of the delay was 19 hours and 12 minutes, with the time of game 3 hours and 1 minute. The teams will play a doubleheader Sunday, with start time still to be determined. The games can be heard locally on KOPY 1070 AM or online.

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