The El Paso Diablos scored seven unanswered runs in an 11-7, comeback defeat of the Sioux Falls Pheasants on Wednesday night at Sioux Falls Stadium.
El Paso broke a 7-7 tie in the top of the eighth on Jack Van Leur's bases-loaded wild pitch that scored Mitch Einertson. Reid Frost added a two-run double later in inning for a 10-7 lead. All three runs were charged to Thomas Heithoff (1-1), who suffered the loss in relief.
J.J. Muse scored the final Diablos run in the ninth inning when an error by Cristian Guerrero brought him in from second base.
After taking early leads of 5-0 in the first inning and 7-4 in the second, the Pheasants did not score again. The Diablos used four pitchers in relief of starter Juan Peralta to slow down the Pheasants offense. Ronny Morla, Drew Graham (1-0), Kyle Cremers and Marcel Prado held the Birds to five hits in the final four innings. Graham earned the victory, pitching the seventh inning and allowing only two hits.
Sioux Falls sent ten men to bat in the first inning. Cristian Guerrero highlighted the scoring with a three-run home run, his eleventh of the year, for an early 5-0 lead.
El Paso bounced right back in the top of the second. Reid Fronk hit an RBI single and Scott Clement belted a three-run home run to cut the Pheasants lead to 5-4.
Cesar Nicolas countered with an RBI single in the second inning to extend his career-high hitting streak to 18 games. Later in the inning, Mark Shorey also cracked a run-scoring single to extend the lead to 7-4.
"Our guys had a good approach and got good pitches to hit," said Pheasants hitting coach Andy Juday about the fast start. "It came down to having good pitches to hit and bringing in the guys who were on base."
Jared Bolden paced the Pheasants offense, going 4-for-5 with an RBI. Joe Anthonsen, Cory Morales and Mark Shorey each had multi-hit nights.
But a 7-4 lead didn't hold long. After back-to-back walks in the fifth, Brian Joynt smacked a three-run home run to tie the game.
After a string of five consecutive quality starts, Pheasants southpaw Mitchell Clegg lasted just 4 2/3 innings, giving up seven runs on eight hits and walking four. Walks plagued Pheasants pitchers, who issued a season-high nine base on balls.
"We have to be better than that. We have to throw the ball over the plate," said Pheasants pitching coach Mike Meyer. "We have one of the best infields in the league; we just have to be better."
El Paso (10-27) clinched a series win and won their third game in a row for the first time this season.
The finale of the three-game series is at 4:05 p.m. on Thursday, June 28. It's the Pheasants' annual Bark in the Park night, your chance to bring your canine friend with you to the ballpark, sponsored by Hidden Paradise Kennels and Your Pet Stop.
Dog tickets are $5 with 100% of the proceeds going to benefit the Sioux Falls Area Humane Society.
It's also Throwback Thursday. Fans wearing their favorite Sioux Falls baseball gear get a ticket in the grandstand for just $5.
Kids FREE in June also continues. Two children 12-and-under can get in free with the purchase of every regular adult-priced ticket, courtesy of Sanford Children's.
Courtesy: Sioux Falls Pheasants