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Aviators edge Pelicans, 2-1, to take series

May 20, 2004 - Central Baseball League (Central League) - Coastal Bend Aviators News Release

ROBSTOWN, TX – Right-hander Jose Luis Lopez, with relief help from Kevin Seibert and Rob Elias, held Pensacola to just a run on five hits, and a two-run 4th inning was all the offense Coastal Bend needed to slip by Pensacola 2-1 in front of nearly 2,900 fans Thursday night at Fairgrounds Field in Robstown…the Aviators taking three of four from the visiting Pelicans.

Neither side scored through the first two innings, but in the 3rd Pensacola got on the board quickly when Andy Wilson walked and came home two pitches later on a triple to right field by Tommy Joyce. Lopez was able to get out of the inning without any more damage…and stranding the runner at third with no outs would come back to haunt the Pelicans. Pensacola starting pitcher Jeff Robinson was unable to continue after the 3rd inning, so Marcos Castillo came on in relief and surrendered the Aviators only runs of the night in the 4th – Carlos Adolfo worked a leadoff walk and went to third on a hit-and-run single by Matt Mann. Trey Salinas grounded a double down the left field line to plate Adolfo with the tying run…Mike Guerrero’s sac fly to center drove in Mann with what turned out to be the winning run.

Both teams had opportunities to score later in the contest – the Aviators put the first two runners aboard in the 5th and 6th innings but came away empty, and in the 8th Edwin Maldonado slashed a two-out triple to right but was stranded at third. After giving up Joyce’s RBI triple in the 3rd, Lopez retired 15 of the next 16 Pensacola batters he faced, including 13 in a row at one point. In the 8th, though, the Pelicans put runners at first and second with nobody out. Seibert relieved Lopez and ultimately worked out of a bases- loaded, one-out jam to preserve the Aviators lead. Elias then came on in the 9th to lock it down by retiring Pensacola in order, but it took a diving catch by Mann in left on a sinking liner by Joe Espada to secure the third out and give the Aviators their fifth victory in the last six games.

Lopez (2-0) struck out seven in seven-plus innings of work to earn the victory, with Elias picking up his first save of the season…Castillo (0-1) took the loss for Pensacola. Coastal Bend outhit the Pelicans 7-5, but Joyce was the only player with a multi-hit night, going 2-for-4 for Pensacola. Thursday’s win upped the Aviators record to 8-6 on the season, while the Pelicans dropped to 4-10. Coastal Bend begins an eight-game road trip Friday with the first of two against the Fort Worth Cats…lefty Lavelle Morgan (0-1) will be on the mound for the Aviators in the series opener, with the Cats expected to throw right-hander Angel Aragon (1-1).

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