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Bees Rally Late, Sting Aviators 10-7

July 13, 2019 - Pacific Coast League (PCL) - Las Vegas Aviators News Release

On many nights, the old baseball cliché that the 27th out is the toughest to get is actually a fallacy. Not so on Friday night, at least as far as the Aviators were concerned.

Trailing 7-6 and down to their final strike, the Salt Lake Bees scored four runs off Las Vegas closer Ryan Dull in the top of the ninth inning to pull out a 10-7 victory at Las Vegas Ballpark. Designated hitter Jared Walsh delivered the crushing blow when he turned on Dull's 0-2 pitch and yanked it deep over the right-field wall for a three-run home run - his second homer of the night - to stun what remained of a sellout crowd of 8,905.

After relief pitchers Miguel Romero and Trey McNutt did a brilliant job of holding the Bees off the scoreboard for four straight innings, Dull was handed the ball and a 7-6 lead to start the ninth. However, Salt Lake third baseman Nick Franklin greeted the right-hander with a single, went to second on a balk, then catcher Roberto Perez walked on five pitches.

Dull appeared to right himself when he induced Bees leadoff hitter Taylor Ward to hit into a double play, which sent Franklin to third. Although Dull then walked Jose Rojas on four pitches, he quickly got ahead of Walsh 0-2, bringing the crowd to its feet as it prepared to celebrate the Aviators' sixth consecutive home victory. But Walsh canceled that celebration when he hammered an inside fastball for a no-doubt homer to give Salt Lake - which was blown out 13-3 on Thursday - its first lead of the series.

Michael Hermosillo and Brennon Lund followed Walsh's homer with consecutive doubles off Dull (1-4) to add an insurance run and put the game away, as Las Vegas went down in order in the ninth against Bees relief pitcher Luke Bard (2-3).

The defeat was heartbreaking for the Aviators (52-40) for multiple reasons. Not only did their five-game winning streak at Las Vegas Ballpark come to an end, but a victory would've pulled them to within 2 ½ games of first-place El Paso in the Pacific Coast League's Pacific Southern division. The loss also spoiled terrific offensive nights from infielders Eric Campbell, who went 2-for-4 and hit his third home run in two nights, and Sheldon Neuse, who went 3-for-5 with three RBI.

In fact, Las Vegas jumped out to a 3-0 first-inning lead for the second straight game when Campbell's three-run blast off Bees starter Patrick Sandoval soared over the left-field wall. Salt Lake (40-51) pulled even in the third when Aviators starting pitcher Jake Buchanan surrendered back-to-back home runs to Ward (two-run shot) and Rojas (solo).

However, Las Vegas quickly regained the lead when Corban Joseph led off the bottom of the inning with a walk and raced around the bases on Neuse's double to the left-center field wall. The Aviators tacked on two more runs the fourth, and again Neuse did the damage, ripping a two-out, two-strike, bases-loaded single to right that scored Jonah Heim and Campbell.

Once again, though, the Bees stormed back, as Ward and Rojas led off the fifth with consecutive doubles, and Walsh followed with a two-run homer to tie it at 6-6. Hermosillo then laced a single to center field to knock Buchanan out of the game. That's when reliever Miguel Romero took over and put out the fire in impressive fashion, recording nine consecutive outs on just 26 pitches.

Romero's teammates then put him in position to pick up the victory by scoring the tiebreaking run in the bottom of the seventh, thanks to a pair of Salt Lake miscues. Seth Brown led off the inning with single, moved to second on a throwing error by Franklin, took third when pitcher Parker Bidwell's pickoff attempt sailed into center field, and scored on Heim's sacrifice fly.

Trey McNutt replaced Romero in the eighth and pitched around a one-out double, striking out two. At that point, the Aviators' bullpen had pitched 7 2/3 scoreless innings against Salt Lake over two games, allowing just two hits and a walk while striking out eight. Dull stretched that scoreless string to 8 1/3 innings on Ward's double play.

However, with one loud swing of Walsh's bat, the Bees silenced both a boisterous crowd and the Aviators' five-game home winning streak.

STILL STREAKING: Campbell and Neuse stretched their hitting streaks to six games on Friday. During their hot runs, Campbell is 11-for-26 (.423) with three homers, nine RBI and eight runs, while Neuse is 10-for-28 (.357) with three home runs, 10 RBI and six runs. Meanwhile, Nick Martini went 2-for-4 and has now hit safely in four straight games and 11 of his last 14. In five games since July 3, the outfielder is on an 13-for-25 tear and has scored nine runs.

Also, outfielder Mark Payton's hitting streak stands at 10 games, during which he's 16-for-38 (.421) with five doubles, three triples, one home run, seven runs and six RBI. Payton sat out Thursday's game and entered Friday's in the ninth inning as pinch-runner but didn't get an official at-bat.

GAME NOTES: Neuse boosted his team-leading RBI total to 71, which ties him with Rojas and Round Rock's Yordan Alvarez for third place in the PCL. ... Joseph went 0-for-2 with three walks. The PCL's leading hitter (.393) failed to record a hit for just the third time in his last 29 games. ... Buchanan, who had given up two earned runs or fewer in four of his previous five starts, was charged with six runs on 11 hits in four-plus innings. On the bright side, he struck out six and didn't walk anyone, giving him a 25-2 strikeout-to-walk ratio over his last five starts ... The first five batters in the Bees' lineup - Ward, Rojas, Walsh, Hermosillo and Lund - combined to go 9-for-18, with eight runs, 10 RBI, five doubles, and four home runs ... Aviators shortstop Jorge Mateo missed his second consecutive game while recovering from food poisoning, which he suffered during his trip to El Paso, Texas, for this week's All-Star game. It's the first time all season that Mateo has sat out consecutive games. ... Friday's sellout was the 34th in 47 games at Las Vegas Ballpark.

ON DECK: The Aviators and Bees continue their four-game series at Las Vegas Ballpark at 7:05 p.m. Saturday. Left-hander Tyler Alexander (5-5, 6.17 ERA) will take the mound for Las Vegas, while Salt Lake will counter with right-hander Jaime Barria (3-1, 7.71). As part of Superhero Night, the first 2,000 fans who arrive at the stadium will receive a Captain America Bobblehead.

Catch every Aviators game throughout the season on NBC Sports Radio 920-AM, and follow us on Twitter @AviatorsLV.


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