Diablos win sluggfest in extra innings
Fronk rallies team back to victory after giving up lead
Published: Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Updated: Friday, May 17, 2013 13:05
The El Paso Diablos nearly blew a five-run lead in the eighth inning needing a comeback to defeat the Lincoln Saltdogs 18-17 in extra innings July 22 at the Cohen Stadium.
“It was a very good and intense game,” left fielder J.J. Muse said. “Some of the guys struggled out there, but fortunately in the end, we were able to come on top.”
It all started with a 3-0 lead in the first inning and the Diablos seemed to have complete control of the game. Just after five innings El Paso led 13-6 and had forced five errors from the Saltdogs.
However, Lincoln was able to turn things around in the eighth inning scoring five unanswered runs to tie the game at 15 going into the ninth.
In the top of the 10th the Saltdogs were able to get their second lead of the game after an RBI single by second baseman Stephen Holdren.
El Paso prevented the collapse as third baseman Reid Fronk connected with a two run single allowing Muse and Maikol Gonzalez to score and end the game with a walk-off victory.
“The Diablos have a very impressive offense,” Lincoln catcher Derek Coverstone said prior to the game. “We really need to play well on both sides if we want to win.”
The Diablos walked away winning two of the three games against the Saltdogs.
On the first game of the series El Paso jumped to an early 3-0 lead, but it all changed quickly as the Saltdogs closed the gap by one in the fifth inning. Things then turned awry and the Diablos gave up four more runs for a 6-3 deficit gong into the sixth inning.
The Diablos trailed by four in the ninth inning when outfielder Welington Dotel hit a three run triple to pull the Diablos within one.
With two outs, Dotel ran home after a wild pitch, but Coverstone threw him out for the final out at the plate, ending the contest with an 8-7 win for Lincoln.
For game two, once again the Diablos had a one run lead in the middle of the game, however in the top of the sixth, the Saltdogs scored five runs to take a 6-2 lead.
Despite getting six hits in the seventh and the eighth innings the Diablos were unable to produce any runs and Lincoln got two more in the top of the ninth, the game headed to the bottom of the ninth with a 8-3 lead for the Saltdogs.
Lincoln closer P.J. Zocchi had a rough start on the night with three consecutive walks allowing a double to first baseman Jermy Acey bringing two Diablos home.
Zocchi was replaced by Connor Spink, but that did not work, either as catcher Patrick Arlis got a two-run single to put El Paso once again within one run.
Designated hitter Scott Clement singled, followed by Muse, who drew a walk after working the full count. Jordan Marks’ subsequent single tied the game.
Shortstop Maikol Gonzalez stepped in the plate with the bases loaded and the game tied at eighth and produced a single to bring Clement home for the winning run of the game.
The Saltdogs were not pleased with allowing the game to slip away.
“We really need to play the entire nine innings, we lost today in the last inning, and we almost lost last night too,” Spink said. “It has been a really crazy two games, and I can’t recall another series I’ve been as crazy as this one.”
The Diablos have won six of their past 10 games but still stand in last place in their division. They will now travel to Grand Prairie to play a three game series July 24-26 against the division leader, Grand Prairie Air Hogs.
“It was a very exciting game and Reid (Fronk) came out with a great hit to give us the win,” Acey said. “We should keep playing as hard as we have been doing so far, now we got to go to Grand Prairie and we need to come back with three more wins.”
Edwin Delgado may be reached at email@example.com.