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Aviators Split Doubleheader to Close First Half

July 1, 2007 - American Association (AA) - Coastal Bend Aviators News Release

Coastal Bend split a Sunday doubleheader with the Shreveport Sports, winning the first game 4-1 and dropping the second 5-0. The Aviators finished the first half of the season with a 21-25 record but look to get off to a flying start in the second half when they open a 3 game set at Fairgrounds Field Tuesday night against the Sioux Falls Canaries.

In game one, JR Pickens turned in his finest outing of the season, throwing a complete game and allowing just a solo homerun to Shreveport newcomer Jack Joffrion. In the bottom of the fifth with the game tied at 1, the Aviators scored 3 times. Brian Fryer led off with a single, stole second, moved to third as Matt Spencer reached on a fielder's choice, and scored on James Lofton's sacrifice fly. JD Foust then singled to right moving Spencer to third and Bryon Smith put a double ball off the base of the center field to bring them both home. Pickens allowed only 1 hit the rest of the way and improved his record to 3-1 on the season.

In game two, Derrick Van Dusen struggled to perform at the level Aviators fans have seen him reach most of the season, and the Aviators could not capitalize on their best scoring chance of the game. Shreveport right fielder Chad Gambill homered in the opening frame before Joffrion singled with the bases loaded to push the Sports lead to 2-0. Mal Winters, who has been used all season as a reliever, made his first start for the Sports and pitched well. He worked out of a jam in the third when the Aviators loaded the bases on two singles and a walk with no one out. Phillip Grau popped out to short, Lofton flied out to shallow left, and Foust grounded out to third. In the next half inning Joffrion, an ex-Aviator, burned his old club again by belting his second homerun of the doubleheader to left field. He finished the game 3 for 3 with 2 RBI and 2 runs scored. Shreveport tacked on another in the inning and one more in the sixth for the 5-0 margin of victory. Winters was replaced in the bottom of the fifth by Grant Wilson who picked up the win (1-0) while Van Dusen took the loss (5-4)

Coastal Bend will begin the second half of the season Tuesday when they welcome in the Canaries for the only regular season series of the year between the clubs. The Aviators will play 10 of their first 13 second half games at home. Pedro Flores (2-3, 4.89 ERA) will take the ball for Coastal Bend. Former major leaguer Pat Mahomes will pitch for Sioux Falls. The game can be heard locally on KOPY 1070 AM or online at aviatorsbaseball.com.

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