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Aviators Put Away Pelicans with Five-Run 10th

June 24, 2007 - American Association (AA) - Coastal Bend Aviators News Release

The Coastal Bend Aviators played Sunday's game against Pensacola like a playoff spot was up for grabs. Refusing to be swept out of town, they broke open a low scoring game with a 5 run outburst in the tenth off Pelican relievers Chris Thompson and Hunter Davis. With the win, they moved into third place and kept their playoff hopes alive. The game, which saw both starting pitchers last into the eighth inning, was not without controversy.

With the Pelicans set to host a free concert at the conclussion of the game, a temporary fencing had been placed on the warning track before the game to allow additional seating in the outfield areas of the ballpark. Any ball clearing the temporary fence but not the permanent wall would be considered a double.

With the game tied 2-2 in the ninth, Pelican starter Colin Young had retired the first two batters when Brian Fryer stepped to the plate. The Aviators centerfielder hit a ball to left that cleared the permanent wall but was initially ruled by the third base umpire to have cleared only the temporary fence. Manager John Harris came out of the dugout to argue the ruling. After checking with the other members of the umpiring crew, the call was reversed and Fryer was awarded a homerun.

That brought on Aviators closer Tom Atlee who struck out the first man he faced. But Pensacola centerfielder Nathan Warrick beat out a slow roller to second baseman Will Lewis and then stole second base. Cesar Aranguren then lined a single off Atlee's leg scoring Warrick and sending the game to extra innings tied at 3.

Facing Thompson, the Aviators got 2 singles from James Lofton and JD Foust before designated hitter Bryon Smith laid down a nicley executed sacrifice bunt to move the runners over. Closer Hunter Davis was summoned from the Pensacola pen and immediately walked Juan Figueroa to load the bases for Grant Richardson, who hit a ball hard to shortstop Bo Brown. Brown bobbled the ball and had no play. Lofton and Foust came home and the Aviators led 5-3. Steve Ketter followed with a two run triple to center and Will Lewis brought Ketter home for the fifth run of the inning. Atlee worked a perfect bottom of the tenth and earned his first win of the season. Derrick van Dusen who started and pitched well for the Aviators did not factor in the decision. He went 7.1 innings allowing just 1 earned run while striking out 4. He is tied for the league lead in strikouts with 52.

With the victory the Aviators improve to 19-22 and remain four games back of division-leading El Paso. They are just 2 back of second place Shreveport who will come to Fairgrounds Field to wrap of the first half on Friday. But first the Aviators will play four in Fort Wort beginning with a doubleheader tomorrow at 5:05pm. The game can be heard locally on KOPY 1070 AM and online.

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