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Error-filled seventh dooms Aviators

July 14, 2004 - Central Baseball League (Central League) - Coastal Bend Aviators News Release

ROBSTOWN, TX – The usually reliable Coastal Bend defense committed three throwing errors in the 7th inning to help Fort Worth plate six runs and break open a tight contest as the Cats came away with a 9-3 victory Tuesday night at Fairgrounds Field in Robstown, Texas…Fort Worth snapping a four-game losing streak in the process.

It took exactly one batter for Fort Worth to get on the board – Jim Essian led off the game with a home run off Aviators starter Lavelle Morgan. But in the 2nd Coastal Bend knotted things up – after loading the bases against Cats starter Shad Williams, Mike Guerrero scored from third on a Francisco Lebron groundout. Morgan and Williams traded zeroes until the 6th when Fort Worth went back out in front – Ricky Gomez and Carlos Adolfo drew walks and got to second and third with two out…Morgan then uncorked a wild pitch allowing Gomez to score, and when catcher Trey Salinas’ throw went shot past Morgan and bounded into the middle of the infield, Adolfo came home to make the score 3-1. The Aviators came right back in the bottom of the 6th – Lou Ferrell delivering a two-out, bases loaded single to plate Greg Strickland and Marcus Knight and tie the game at three apiece.

That would turn out to be the last hurrah for Coastal Bend…in the 7th, Morgan hit Pat Hannon with a pitch and then allowed an infield single to Bryon Smith. Tim Ramon came in from the Aviators bullpen and induced a sure double play grounder off the bat of Eli Albertson, but Edwin Maldonado’s throw to second to start the twin killing sailed past Ferrell covering the bag into short left field…Hannon scoring to put Fort Worth back on top. Following a one-out walk to load the bases, Gomez knocked in Smith and Albertson with a single to right field as the Cats increased their lead to 6-3. Adolfo was then hit by a pitch, and Terence Green followed with a soft single to right to plate Essian. Adolfo was caught in a brief rundown between second and third on the play…then when Gomez broke from third to the plate Ferrell overthrew Salinas to allow the fifth run of the inning to score. Adolfo scored on a fielder’s choice grounder off the bat of Jason Radwan…Ferrell’s throw to the plate again going all the way to backstop. In all, 10 Cats came to the plate in the fateful 7th and six had scored. That was more than enough for Williams, who shut out Coastal Bend over the next two innings, then watched as Brandon Wood came on in relief to retire the Aviators in order in the 9th to lock down the victory and knot up the three-game series at one win apiece.

Williams (5-5) struck out four in beating the Aviators for the second time in less than a week…Morgan (4-6) fanned eight but lost his second straight decision. Strickland and Knight combined for half of Coastal Bend’s eight hits on the night…Smith went 3-for-4 in leading Fort Worth’s 10-hit attack. With Tuesday’s loss, the Aviators drop to 8-7 in the second half (32-31 overall), and with Amarillo’s 8-6 win over Jackson, Coastal Bend slipped to a game-and-a-half back of the first place Dillas in the West Division…the Cats improved to 7-9 in the second half (32-31 on the year) and stayed four-and-a-half games back of front-running Pensacola in the East. The series rubber match is slated for Wednesday with righthander Mike Smith (8-3) on the mound for Coastal Bend; Fort Worth will counter with lefty Allen Davis (6-4).

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