Stingers win 11-inning thriller at Sacramento

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    By Neal Lutz

    WEST SCACRAMENTO, Calif. – Two of the hottest teams in the Pacific Coast League squared off this weekend, as the Stingers needed 11 innings to finally put away the Sacramento River Cats Saturday evening, May 10.

    Salt Lake City got on the board early for a change, and led through the first 8 1/2 innings, but it”s lead wasn”t large enough as Sacramento got three runs in the bottom of the ninth to force the Stingers to play extra innings for just the third time this year.

    The Stingers scored a first-inning run for the first time in two weeks as shortstop Alfredo Amezaga was batted home on right fielder Robb Quinlan”s fielder”s choice.

    The Stingers” scoring carried into the second inning as they got a run off of center fielder Barry Wesson”s solo home run, his third of the year.

    There was no score through the next four innings as the Stingers continued to shutout Sacramento through the bottom of the sixth. The River Cats then halved the Stingers lead with a solo homerun off the bat of outfielder Billy McMillon.

    Salt Lake City responded with two one-run innings sparked by catcher Tom Gregorio, whose single drove in one run in the seventh, and second baseman Keith Johnson”s RBI double in the eighth inning that put the Stingers up 4-1.

    Sacramento shortstop Bobby Crosby hit a two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth to put the Cats within one. Then McMillon got an RBI single to pull them even with the Stingers.

    Both teams went scoreless in 10th inning, but Gregorio”s RBI double in the top of the 11th put the Stingers back on top. Left fielder Adam Riggs added two security RBIs with his double to cap the three-run inning that put the Stingers back on top 7-4.

    RHP Elio Serrano (1-1) recorded three strikeouts in two perfect innings to get the win as the Stingers handed the River Cats just their second loss in their last nine games. Meanwhile, the win gave the Stingers their fourth win in five tries.

    The River Cats came storming back Sunday afternoon, May 11, to win game two of the four game series as they improved to 23-14 on the season, while the loss dropped Salt Lake City to 14-21.

    Sacramento”s bats were hot as they pummeled the Stingers with a seven-run third and a five-run fourth. Second baseman Esteban German hit an RBI sacrifice fly and McMillon hit a two-run single to start the bottom of the third off for the River Cats. Luis Lopez then capped the inning with a grand slam to give him five home runs on the year.

    The Cats continued to hammer the Stingers in the fourth with a three-run homer by infielder Graham Koonce, his ninth of the year. Sacramento infielder Dave McCarty then added his 11th of the year on a solo shot to end the onslaught in the sixth.

    The Stingers made a little ground back with three runs in the sixth and one in the seventh, but it wasn”t enough as the River Cats drowned the Stingers 15-4.

    The Stingers continue their series in Sacramento Monday, May 12, and Tuesday, May 13, before heading back to Salt Lake for a four game home stand against league leading Las Vegas Thursday, May 15.

    Game four of last weeks series with the Fresno Grizzlies was cancelled due to rain Friday, May 16, evening and will not be rescheduled.

    It was the last home series against the Grizzlies this year, and the two teams will already be playing a doubleheader in June to make up for the one missed in April due to rain.

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