Mertins Single Wins It in Ninth for O-Royals
OMAHA, Neb. - Kurt Mertins hit a bloop single to right with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth inning to break a 3-3 tie as the Omaha Royals beat the Portland Beavers 4-3 at Rosenblatt Stadium Thursday night.
Adam Russell (3-9) walked Ed Lucas to start the Royals' (60-53) half of the ninth and Jai Miller hit a one-out single to center to put runners on the corners. Omaha manager Mike Jirschele put on a suicide squeeze attempt with Irving Falu at the plate, but Falu's bunt rolled foul, and the Beavers (42-71) elected to intentionally walk Wednesday night's hero to load the bases for Mertins, who singled over a drawn-in infield.
Miller's third home run in two games gave Omaha a 2-0 lead in the second inning. After Portland took the lead in the third on Mike Baxter's three-run shot, Lucas tied the game in the seventh with a solo homer.
Josh Geer turned in a strong effort for the Beavers, yielding three runs on five hits, including two home runs, and two walks over eight innings while matching a season high with six strikeouts.
Josh Rupe (2-3) came in with two runners on and no outs in the ninth and bailed the Royals out of the jam for his second win.
Federico Castaneda allowed three runs on three hits and two walks in five innings as Omaha's starter.
The Beavers and Royals continue their series at Rosenblatt Friday night at 5:05 p.m. (Pacific).
NOTES: Two of Geer's three, six-strikeout games have come in his last two starts ... the Royals won in come-from-behind fashion Wednesday night against Portland as well ... Baxter also stole his 16th base ... Beavers infielder Craig Stansberry was 1-for-3 and needs only 11 more hit to tie Jon Knott for the club's modern franchise record of 395.
Beavers Game File THURSDAY'S GAME: Omaha 4, Beavers 3 WINNING PITCHER: Rupe (2-3) LOSING PITCHER: Russell (3-9) SAVE: None HOME RUNS: Baxter (13), Miller (15), Lucas (12) FRIDAY'S GAME: Portland (Cesar Ramos: 2-5, 3.79) at Omaha (Edgar Osuna: 0-1, 14.54), 5:05 p.m. (Pacific); live audio broadcast at www.portlandbeavers.com; tape-delayed broadcast on Freedom 970 AM at 7 p.m. Follow the Beavers on Twitter (www.twitter.com/PortlandBeavers) and Facebook (www.facebook.com/OfficialPortlandBeavers).
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