Thursday, July 26, 2012

Walker, Texas, And Bullpen Game Changers

SUGAR LAND, Texas – Three long balls capped a four-run comeback for the Skeeters in game one against the Riversharks Thursday night in front of 6008 at Constellation Field. With the Lancaster Barnstormers postponed, Sugar Land moves into a tie for first in the Freedom Division.

Scott Kazmir made his fourth start of the season since joining the Skeeters before the All-Star Break. The lefty stumbled out of the gates in the first inning giving up a leadoff home run (8) to center fielder Chris Walker to put the opposing side on top 1-0 early. Kazmir struck out the final two batters in the first to retire the side before the Skeeters came to bat in the bottom of the first. 

Righty Kevin Reese (3-4) got the nod for his 11th start of the season and quickly gave up the lead when Dominic Ramos scored from third on Jason Lane’s groundout to first to even it up, 1-1. After the second baseman started the inning with a single into right, Ramos was pushed to the opposite corner when Bubba Bell knocked a single through the left side of the infield.

Kazmir managed to escape the second and the third innings without allowing a run, but once the fourth started, the former major leaguer lost the lead. Alvin Colina singled into left to start the inning and was quickly pushed to second by Jake Eigsti’s single into left center. Two batters later, Lloyd Turner walked to load the bases and with one out. The lineup went back to the top for Walker, and in his third at-bat of the evening, the Mississippi native launched his second home run (9) of the game, a grand slam (1), into the picnic plaza to break the deadlock, 5-1.

Pedro Liriano (5-3) entered the game for Kazmir and retired the first two batters he faced to end the inning before the Skeeters responded in the bottom half of the inning. Josh Pressley started the home-half with a walk on five pitches, and scored during the next at-bat when left fielder Aaron Bates punched his second ticket of the season over the left-field wall to bring the Skeeters back to within two with the two-run homer, 5-3.

Liriano retired the side 1-2-3 in the top of the fifth, and Sugar Land threatened again in the bottom of the inning. With one out and the bases empty, Ofilio Castro and Bell reached with back-to-back singles. Two batters later with runners on first and second and two outs gone, Pressley tied the game with his 13th double of the season. The big first baseman hammered a high fastball into deep right-center field scoring both Castro and Bell to knot it up for the second time, 5-5. Then, Bates gave the Skeeters their first lead of the game with his second extra-base-hit in as many at-bats, a double into left-center field. Pressley scored easily to put the Skeeters ahead after five, 6-5.

After a scoreless sixth inning, Sugar Land imposed its power in the sixth. Lefty reliever Spencer Steedley entered the game to pitch for Camden but faltered early after getting the first out. Lane and Pressley used back-to-back home runs to increase the lead by two, 8-3. It was Lane’s first home run (6) since July 8 and Pressley’s 10th of the season.

Jeff Farnsworth worked a scoreless seventh and Roberto Giron a scoreless eighth before Gary Majewski came into to shut down the ninth with his 13th save of the season.

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