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Aviators win, 7-3, to hand Cats fourth straight loss

July 13, 2004 - Central Baseball League (Central League) - Coastal Bend Aviators News Release

ROBSTOWN, TX – Coastal Bend’s Jose Luis Lopez tossed eight strong innings and received plenty of offensive support – Trey Salinas had three hits including his third homer of the season and Cris Colon posted a perfect 4-for-4 night at the plate to lead the Aviators to a 7-3 victory over the visiting Fort Worth Cats in the opener of a three-game series at Fairgrounds Field in Robstown, Texas.

Prior to the game, the Aviators made two big roster moves, re-signing outfielder Eric Battersby…then swinging a deal with the Cats that sent Carlos Adolfo to Fort Worth for eight-year veteran Greg Strickland. Strickland paid instant dividends, leading off the bottom of the 1st inning with a single, stealing second and third base, then scoring on a Mike Guerrero single to give the Aviators the early lead. Following a base hit by Salinas, Colon drove home Guerrero with a base hit up the middle. The Aviators went up 3-0 with a run in the 2nd – Edwin Maldonado singled then scored all the way from first when Cats pitcher Luis Rodriguez, trying to throw out J.R. Cortez on a sacrifice bunt, sailed the ball into right field. Coastal Bend extended their lead with another run in the 3rd – Guerrero reached second on a ground-rule double and came home on a fielder’s choice grounder off the bat of Francisco Lebron to put the Aviators up 4-0.

Fort Worth climbed back into the contest, scoring three times in the top of the 5th – with two on and nobody out, Jim Essian singled home Pat Hannon…Jason Radwan scored on a sacrifice fly by Dennis Pelfrey…then Essian crossed the plate on a Ricky Gomez single to center. Coastal Bend answered with three runs of their own in the bottom of the 5th – with Guerrero aboard, Salinas cracked a 3-1 pitch from Cats reliever John Whalen over the left field wall to give the Aviators a 6-3 lead…Colon followed with a double and eventually came home on an Edwin Maldonado sacrifice fly to push their advantage to four. Lopez allowed only one Fort Worth baserunner in his last three innings of work; then reliever Kevin Seibert came on to retire the Cats in order in the 9th to lock down the victory.

Lopez (7-3) allowed just six hits and struck out two to earn the win; Rodriguez (0-1) lasted just four innings in taking the loss. With Monday’s win, the Aviators improved to 8-6 in the second half (32-30 overall) and moved to within a half-game of first place Amarillo in the West Division (the Dillas lost to Jackson Monday night 12-6)…Fort Worth dropped to 6-9 in the second half and 31-31 on the year. Game two of the series is set for Tuesday with lefthander Lavelle Morgan (4-5) on the mound for Coastal Bend; the Cats will counter with righthander Shad Williams (4-5).

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