Lialios Hypnotizes Bats Batter Apollos in 16-1 Victory
Jake Lialios, fresh off being named the Minor League Sports Report Picture of the Week on Monday, took to the hill in the early contest in the Pecos League on Wednesday. The right-hander was dazzling, allowing one run on five hits in 7.1 innings in a 16-1 victory for the Tucson Saguaros over the Houston Apollos. Chris Caffery drove in four runs and Nathan Etheridge scored five times and drove in three in the victory.
Houston scored their lone run of the game in the top of the first inning. Lialios struck out the first two batters, but Tevin Brown kept the inning alive with a base hit. He then stole second base and scored on a double by Esteban Gomez to give the Apollos a 1-0 lead.
Tucson responded right away in the bottom of the first. Gary Mason led off with his second homerun of the season. Tyler Baumann followed by drawing a walk and moved to third when Etheridge delivered a base hit. A misplay by the leftfielder allowed Etheridge to reach second. Caffery then drew a walk to load the bases for Noah Mahoney, who doubled, bringing in both Baumann and Etheridge. A sacrifice fly by James Prockish scored Caffery, and the Saguaros lead, 4-1.
From there, it was all Tucson. They added two runs in the bottom of the third. A single by Etheridge and a walk to Caffery put two on with one down. Mahoney followed with a double to drive home Etheridge and Caffery scored on the second sacrifice fly of the day by Prockish.
An inning later, the Saguaros added three more. Mason doubled with one down but was thrown out at third on a base running blunder, putting Baumann at first. He stole second and scored on a single by Marcus Catalano. After Etheridge reached on an error, Caffery drove in two runs with a double. That gave Tucson a 9-1 lead.
In the fifth, the Saguaros blew this game open. Lialios was hit by a pitch to begin the inning. Carlos Francisco then drew a walk and, two batters later, Baumann walked to load the bases with one down. The second straight walk to Catalano drove home Lialios. Next up was Etheridge, who drilled a double into the gap, bringing two runners home. An RBI single by Caffery and a fielder’s choice by Prockish plated the final two runners of the inning.
Tucson added two more runs in the bottom of the sixth. Three consecutive doubles by Catalano, Etheridge, and Caffery led to two runs. That made it 16-1, which would be the final.
While the hitters were battering Houston, Lialios was in complete command. After giving up the first-inning run, he retired the next six batters and had eight strikeouts through the first three innings. That included striking out the side in the first and the third. He gave up a two-out hit in the third, then retired the next nine batters.
After giving up a one-out single in the top of the eighth, his day was over. Lialios had been absolutely devastating, striking out a season-high 14 batters. The right-hander allowed five hits and a run. He did not walk a batter. Jack McNellis tossed the final 1.2 innings, striking out one. The 15 total batters fanned by the two Tucson pitchers was a high for the season.
Etheridge finished 4-5 with five runs scored and three RBI. Caffery was 3-3 with two runs, two walks, and for RBI. Prockish drove in three and Baumann scored three runs. Brown had two hits for Houston.
By Robert Pannier