On a night when the man who hit the biggest home run in Spirit history returned to the fold, Josue Lopez picked up a big, clutch homer of his own, sending a two-run blast deep into the night in the 9th to give the Spirit a 6-4 victory over the New Jersey Jackals.
Derek Drage picked up another heart-attack save, putting on the first two men before escaping the jam with the help of a huge strike 'em out, throw 'em out double play when Dustin Yount whiffed. He got Joe Mihalics to pop out to (who else?) Nilson Teilon to end game 1 of a 4-game set that could very well be a preview of the championship series in a few weeks.
Joey Siak got the start for the Spirit. He pitched five decent innings, giving up three runs, and earned a no-decision.
The Spirit gave Joey an early lead off of Isaak Pavlik, putting up a 3-spot in the 2nd inning. Teilon (woo!) walked and came around to score on an RBI groundout by Josue Lopez. After Jerson Perez reached, John Welch hit his 3rd home run in the last 5 games, increasing the lead to 3-0.
With the score 3-1 in the 4th, Josue Lopez got another RBI on a fielder's choice - his 2nd RBI of the night.
From there, the Jackals began to claw back. They chased Joey Siak by putting a pair of runs up in the bottom of the 5th when Clay Kuklick got an RBI triple and Joe Mihalics brought him home with a single to center.
Brandon Martin came in to pitch the 6th and didn't get off to the best start, giving up an RBI double to Wilton Veras to tie the game. He was aided by some poor baserunning, though, as Veras ran into the second out of the inning trying to stretch his hit into a triple. The next man popped up to end the inning.
Martin settled down after that, keeping the Jackals quiet through the 7th and 8th and setting the stage for Josue Lopez's blast off of losing pitcher (and former Elmira legend) Kyle George in the 9th.
The Spirit have signed pitcher Luis Arroyo, who made the All-Star team in the United League this year pitching for the Laredo Broncos.
58 R/49 ER
128 K/63 BB
.259 avg against
Not bad at all, but who knows how these numbers translate.
He has 3 years of experience in the Atlantic League from 2002-2004.
I'll be tracking the big 'magic numbers' on the left-hand side of the blog.