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Aviators hold off Diablos

June 17, 2007 - American Association (AA) - Coastal Bend Aviators News Release

The Coastal Bend Aviators jumped out to a 9-1 lead against El Paso and held on for a nail biting victory, 9-8. Coming into the game the Aviators had won just 2 of 10 games against El Paso and had lost the last 8 meetings. Solid pitching from starter Kevin Hull and big performances at the plate from JD Foust and middle infielders James Lofton and Will Lewis would help snap that streak.

The Aviators scored 3 in the first, 2 in the second, and 4 in the fourth for their 9 runs. In the first, RBIs by JD Foust and Grant Richardson helped build a 3-0 lead. In the fourth, 3 straight singles stretched the advantage to 6-2 and left Brian Fryer at third. He scored on a passed ball by catcher Matt Kent to give Coastal Bend a 7-2 lead before Foust launched a 2-run homer, his first of the year, to left center giving the Aviators a 9-2 cushion. Foust finished the night with 2 runs scored and 3 RBI. Lofton had 4 singles, a run scored and a RBI, while Lewis had 2 singles and a double with 2 runs scored.

After the nine runs chased Diablos staring pitcher Charles O'Neal from the game, the El Paso bullpen shut the Aviators offense down. The Diablos began chipping away at the big deficit using 3 singles and a double to score 3 times in the sixth to stay within shouting distance at 9-5.

Hull gave way to Jonathan Hunton who worked the bottom of the eighth and was touched up for his first 2 earned runs of the season. 3 walks (1 intentional) and 2 singles put 2 on the board for the Diablos and loaded the bases for utility man Joel Izquierdo who popped out to left field to end the threat.

In the bottom of the ninth leading 9-7, Tom Atlee come on to close the game for Coastal Bend. He hit the first batter he faced in Walter Olmstead and allowed a single to catcher Matt Kent before recording a strikeout and a groundout. With 2 gone and runners at first and third Jordan Belcher hit a single up the middle scoring Olmstead and leaving Evan Conley at third with the tying run. But after a bunt attempt on a 2-1 pitch evened the count at 2-2, El Paso leadoff hitter Albenis Machado struck out on a check swing third strike to end the ballgame.

With the win Hull improves to 4-2 while O'Neal falls to 3-3. Atlee earned his 5th save. Coastal Bend now trails El Paso by 6.5 games in the Southern Division standings and can earn a split of the 4 game series with a victory tomorrow. Gametime is 6:05pm and can be heard locally on KOPY 1070 AM or online.

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