Fans, Mariachis Highlight Return of Professional Baseball in Duke City
In the 18th season of Albuquerque Isotopes baseball, fans were treated to several memorable on-and-off-the-field performances in 2021. Despite facing many state government-imposed restrictions in relation to capacity and operations, the Isotopes finished 14th out of 120 Minor League teams in average attendance, averaging 5,145 fans per game.
Below is a list of notable occurrences and numbers throughout the 2021 season.
May 6: The Isotopes hosted the first large gathering in New Mexico since the start of the pandemic as 7,171 fans were on hand for Opening Night.
July 4: 13,035 fans packed Rio Grande Credit Union Field on Independence Day, the largest crowd at any Minor League Baseball game this season.
Albuquerque was 5-2 when playing as the Mariachis de Nuevo México at The Plaza, improving their all-time home record in Mariachis games to 12-4. In 16 home dates as the Mariachis (since 2018), Albuquerque has welcomed a total of 165,658 fans for an average of 10,354 per game.
The Isotopes recorded eight walk-off wins with a different player delivering the heroics each time, including a team-record tying four walk-off home runs (Brian Serven - 5/23 vs. OKC, Elehuris Montero - 9/9 vs. EP to complete 7/6 suspended game, Joshua Fuentes - 9/13 vs. EP, Alan Trejo - 9/24 vs. REN).
In the other four game-ending finishes, Eric Stamets scored on a wild pitch (6/3 vs. LV),Jose Briceño delivered a sacrifice fly (6/26 vs. TAC), while Nick Longhi (7/20 vs. SUG) and Dustin Garneau (8/5 vs. OKC) each had game-winning RBI singles in the 10th inning.
Alan Trejo, the team's MVP, hit .278 in 90 games with the Isotopes, including 34 doubles, six triples and 17 home runs. 57 of his 92 hits went for extra bases, equating to 62 percent. Trejo had three stints in the big leagues this year and connected on his first Major League home run on June 4 vs. Oakland.
Fuentes hit for the 10th cycle in team history, doing so in the minimum four at-bats and capping it with a grand slam on September 23 vs. Reno.
Albuquerque saw six players from the 2021 squad make their Major League debut: Alan Trejo, Justin Lawrence, Lucas Gilbreath, Julian Fernández, Colton Welker and Ryan Vilade. 18 total players were promoted to the Major Leagues at some point during the season.
Vilade finished third among all Triple-A players with 133 hits, behind Salt Lake's Michael Stefanic (135) and Sacramento's Jason Krizan (136).
Six members of the Isotopes reached double-digits in home runs: Greg Bird (27), Taylor Motter (24), Alan Trejo (17), Brian Serven (16), Sam Hilliard (14) and Taylor Snyder (12).
The Isotopes mounted their second-biggest comeback in team history when they rallied from a 10-1 deficit in the seventh inning to beat Oklahoma City 11-10 on May 23, capped by Serven's walk-off home run.
On September 9, right-handed pitcher Nelson Gonzalez became the all-time games pitched leader for the club when he made his 134th appearance as an Isotope, spanning the 2015-19 seasons and the 2021 campaign. He was honored with an on-field presentation in between games of that evening's doubleheader.
Right-handed pitcher Frank Duncan had an impressive stint with Albuquerque after being promoted from Double-A Hartford on July 1, compiling a 3.92 ERA in 16 appearances for the club, including a 2.16 ERA over his final six starts. Duncan led the Isotopes with six quality starts in 2021.
Isotopes Pitcher of the Year Logan Cozart worked to a 1.84 ERA over his final 18 outings of the season, with just ten hits allowed during the stretch. Cozart appeared in 54 games, second-most in all of Minor League Baseball.
Albuquerque went 14 consecutive games without committing an error from July 8-24, the longest stretch in club history.
A team-record 74 players suited up for the Isotopes this year, with 70 appearing in at least one game. Of the roster members, 23 made their Triple-A debut and 15 were part of a Major League rehab assignment.
After a 15-33 start to the season, the Isotopes were over .500 (43-39) from July 1 through the finale, including a stretch where they won 23 of 32 games from July 1 through August 6.
This will be the shortest offseason in Isotopes history as the 2022 season opener is less than six months away. Albuquerque will commence their 20th anniversary year on April 5 at Oklahoma City with the home opener slated for April 12 vs. Tacoma.
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Triple-A West League Stories from October 14, 2021
- Fans, Mariachis Highlight Return of Professional Baseball in Duke City - Albuquerque Isotopes
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