LAS VEGAS, Nevada - They don't call the Pacific Coast League the "Possible Comeback League" for nothing. A wild seven-run ninth inning, all coming with two outs, propelled the Fresno Grizzlies (1-2) to an 8-6 win over the Las Vegas 51s (2-1) in front of 8,555 Saturday night at Cashman Field.
Entering the ninth down 6-1, Fresno came alive when Joe Panik drew a bases-loaded walk after fouling off five straight two-strike pitches from left-hander Josh Edgin, making it a three-run game. The free pass forced 51s manager Wally Backman to bring in right-hander Erik Goeddel (BS, 1; L, 0-1) to match up against Chris Dominguez.
The move didn't work out as planned as Dominguez beat out an infield grounder to get the club within two. Juan Ciriaco, who replaced Mark Minicozzi who left in the fourth with an injury, followed Dominguez by hitting a hard grounder that tipped off the glove of third baseman Zach Lutz and into left field, scoring Gary Brown and Panik to tie the game at six.
With the bases loaded again following a walk by Tyler Colvin, Andrew Susac (2-4, 2 RBI, BB) laced the first pitch he saw up the middle to give the Grizzlies an 8-6 lead.
"I just wanted to get a good pitch and put some wood on it," said Susac of the ninth inning at-bat. "That's what I've been doing the past couple of days. I'm seeing [the ball] well. It's a good team win overall. I thought [Joe] Panik's at-bat was huge and we were able to get to their bullpen again."
Heath Hembree pitched a scoreless ninth on zero days rest to earn the save.
Reliever Mason Tobin (1-0) earned the win by tossing two innings of one run ball.
Fresno starter Edwin Escobar (4 ER/4.2 IP, 10 H, 4 K) was touched up early for three runs on five hits in the first inning. Las Vegas added two more runs in the bottom of the third when Zach Lutz recorded his eighth RBI of the series with a single to center, and Anthony Seratelli followed with a sacrifice fly.
Vegas starter Jacob deGrom retired the first seven Fresno hitters he faced before allowing an infield single to Tony Abreu in the third. The lanky right-hander turned in a quality start by allowing only one run on four hits over 6.0 IP.
The Las Vegas bullpen has surrendered 13 runs over the last two games (6.0 IP).
The series finale begins at 12:05 p.m. Sunday with Fresno turning the ball to right-hander Jason Berken. They'll look to leave Las Vegas with a 2-2 series split as they face RHP Logan Verrett. The club will travel to Salt Lake City to open a four-game set on April 7th before returning to Chukchansi Park for the Home Opener on April 11th.