Winnipeg Goldeyes Sweep Double-Header Behind Late Rallies
The Winnipeg Goldeyes showed that they have a true flare for the dramatic, sweeping a double-header from the Grand Prairie AirHogs with late runs in each contest. The Goldeyes won in the ninth inning in Game 1, but needed extra innings in the Game 2 contest, as twice the AirHogs responded to runs in the top half of the inning to keep that game alive. That sent the game to the 11th inning where history was made.
In Game 1, the Winnipeg Goldeyes trailed entering the top of the seventh inning but plated a run to tie the game, and scored two in the top of the ninth to walk away with the victory.
Winnipeg jumped out in front in the top of the first when Adam Heisler singled with one out and stole second two batters later. With two outs Josh Mazzola walked and Brad Boyer followed with a single that drove home Heisler to make it 1-0.
In the bottom of the second Victor Diaz tied the game when he began the inning with a home run off of Goldeyes starter Kyle Anderson. For Diaz it was his first home run of the season, and ended a personal 25 game homerless drought dating back to last season.
From there the two pitchers took over the game for the next three innings. Grand Prairie AirHogs starter T.J. Bozeman responded to giving up the first inning run by retiring nine straight batters starting with the second out in the second. Anderson was nearly as effective, giving up just a one-out double to Diaz in the fourth and a single in the fifth before being replaced. Raul Rivera relieved for Winnipeg in the fifth and retired the final two hitters he faced to end the inning.
In the sixth the AirHogs took the lead against reliever Brendan Lafferty. Chris Elder led off with a single, stole second, and moved to third on a wild pitch. Zane Chavez hit a sacrifice fly to score Elder and Grand Prairie had their first lead of the game.
The lead did not last long for the AirHogs. In the top of the seventh with Dakota Watts on the mound, Luis Alen singled with one out. Ramon Ortega ran for Alen and moved to third when Casio Grider doubled. A walk to Heisler loaded the bases, and Casey Haerther followed with a fielder’s choice that scored Ortega to tie the game.
That set up the dramatic ninth inning. With Logan Norris pitching for Grand Prairie, Grider singled to start the inning. Adam Heisler then reached on a two-base error that moved Grider to third. Norris intentionally walked Haerther to load the bases and John Mazzola followed with a single that plated Grider. Two batters later Brady Wilson’s sacrifice fly scored Haerther.
In the ninth Jailen Peguero came in to close out the game for Winnipeg. He retired the AirHogs in order, striking out two, which closed out the 4-2 win.
Anthony Smith (1-0) earned the victory for Winnipeg. Peguero got the save, his first of the season. Norris (0-1) took the loss.
In Game 2, it was a pitcher’s duel for eight innings. Grand Prairie’s Bennett Whitmore and the Goldeyes Rob Nixon allowed just one run each through the first six innings. Grand Prairie jumped out on top in the third with three straight hits from Hayden Jennings, Robi Estrada and Elder. Elder’s hit plated Jennings to make it 1-0. In the sixth, Winnipeg tied the score against Whitmore. Heisler led off with a single and after stealing second was driven home by Mazzola.
The score remained tied at one until the top of the ninth when Winnipeg would take the lead. TyRelle Harris came in to pitch for the AirHogs and walked the first two hitters of the inning. A perfect punt by Aaron Baker moved both runners into scoring position, and Brad Boyer hit a sacrifice fly to score a run and put the Goldeyes up by one.
In the bottom half of the ninth Peguero came in to close out the Game 2 affair, but he was unable to do so. Estrada’s double scored Hayden Jennings to tie the game and send it into extra innings.
In the top of the tenth the Winnipeg Goldeyes took the lead again. Three straight hits by Grider, Heisler and Haerther put the visitors back on top. The lead would not hold again as the AirHogs scored a run in the bottom of the tenth when Norris scored on a wild pitch.
That sent the game into the 11th inning and this was an historic moment for the American Association. This season the rules were changed so that if a game reached the 11th inning each team started with a runner on second base to begin their half of the inning. This was the first game under the new rules.
Brady Wilson started on second base for the Goldeyes and Blake Oliver came in to pitch for Grand Prairie. Boyer singled and Alen followed with a single of his own to send Wilson home and give the Goldeyes the lead again. In the bottom half of the inning Smith (2-0) retired the Goldeyes in order for his second win of the day. Oliver (0-1) took the loss.
By Robert Pannier