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Aviators loose lead late, Fall to Edinburg 4-3

July 29, 2004 - Central Baseball League (Central League) - Coastal Bend Aviators News Release

Robstown, TX– Coastal Bend seemed in control for eight innings, but Edinburg rallied for three runs in the 9th to post a come from behind 4-3 victory over the Aviators in front of a paid crowd of 3,489 at Fairgrounds Field in Robstown. The Roadrunners completed their four game sweep over Coastal Bend and stretched their West Division lead to 3.0 games. This marked the Aviators fifth straight loss and drops them to 3.0 games back of the West Division’s Amarillo for the second half playoff spot.

The Aviators jumped out to an early lead in the 3rd inning. Mike Guerrero led off with a double down the left field line. After Edinburg starter Ryan Harris induced two ground balls, he then surrendered a walk to Greg Strickland. With runners on first and second, Marcus Knight singled up the middle to bring in Guerrero and advance Strickland to third. Alph Coleman then laid a bunt down the third base line to plate Strickland and put the Aviators up 2-0. Coastal Bend starter Jose Luis Lopez was on cruise control through his first seven innings – he allowed just four hits and only two Edinburg runners to reach second base. In the top of the 8th, the Roadrunners started to get the bats going. Hector Garanzuay singled with one out. Neesan Zieour followed with an infield fly that fell on the edge of the dirt behind first base. With the umpires failing to call the “infield fly rule,” Garanzuay was forced out at second and Zieour went to first. Eric Gonzalez came to bat and took the 3-1 offering from Lopez off the left-center field fence for an RBI double, scoring Zieour and cutting the Coastal Bend lead to 2-1.

Lopez took the mound in the 9th, but didn’t fare well from the start. Pat O’Sullivan laced a double to left center to begin the Edinburg rally. Ryan Lehr followed with a deep fly ball to center that allowed O’Sullivan to tag and go to third. Aaron Sisk hit an RBI single to left to tie the game at 2-2. Aaron Mendoza then lifted the ball to right center for an RBI triple that gave the Roadrunners the one run lead. Lopez was relieved by Kevin Seibert, who struck out Eddie Fitzpatrick for the second out of the inning. But Garanzuay capped off the inning with an RBI single – his fourth single of the night – to extend the lead to two and provide an important insurance run. With the lead, the Roadrunners brought in reliever Steve Wilkerson to close the door. Wilkerson promptly hit Cris Colon. Colon took a few steps toward the mound and began to exchange words with the pitcher. Fitzpatrick, the catcher, tried to come between the two to calm the situation. However, as both benches began to clear, Aviators first base coach Hal Bent and Fitzpatrick began to tussle and Fitzpatrick pushed “H.B” to the ground. When the two teams were separated, Fitzpatrick, Bent, and Colon were shown the door and the game resumed. Usually the Aviators ace pitcher, Mike Smith went to first base to run for the ejected Colon. Mike Guerrero walked, advancing Smith, to put runners at first and second with one out. Edwin Maldonado then popped out to new catcher Aaron Mendoza for the second out of the inning. Pinch hitter David Bell took the first pitch he saw up the middle to score Smith and trim the lead to 4-3. With the tying run now on second base, Wilkerson buckled down and struck out Greg Strickland to end the ballgame.

Tim Vasquez (2-1) pitched a hitless eighth inning to earn the win…Lopez (8-4) went 8.1 innings and had seven strikeouts but was tagged with the loss…Harris logged seven innings while taking the no-decision…O’Sullivan recorded two doubles on the night…The Aviators collected only one extra base hit compared to four for extra bases by the Roadrunners…Edinburg continues their good play, they are now 18-10 in the second half of Central League play. Coastal Bend falls to 11-15 in the second half…The Aviators travel to Shreveport to take on the Sports for a three game set beginning Friday night while the Roadrunners head back home for a three game matchup versus the San Angelo Colts. The Aviators will return to Fairgrounds Field next Friday, August 6, to begin a four game series with the Sports.

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