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Christian, Blackley Lead Grizzlies To 7-1 Win

Christian continues to lead PCL with .553 average
April 15, 2012
Fresno, Calif. - Justin Christian entered Sunday's game against Tacoma with a .529 batting average, the best in the Pacific Coast League. It is a tough task to maintain an average north of .500, but Christian elected it was no task too tough for him.

Christian went 3-for-4 with two doubles, three runs batted in and two runs scored, helping the Fresno Grizzlies defeat the Rainiers 7-1 at Chukchansi Park. Christian is now batting .633 (19-for-30) in his last seven games, including six straight games with a double. The Grizzlies improve to 8-3 on the season, their best 11-game start in team history, and remain tied with the Sacramento River Cats for first in the Pacific Southern Division.

Christian placed the Grizzlies on the board with an RBI double in the third inning, driving in Jackson Williams. In the fifth, Christian added another RBI double, this time scoring Todd Linden and igniting a three-run inning for the Grizzlies. Francisco Peguero, who also drove in three runs, plated the two other runs in the fifth.

With Nick Noonan standing on third in the sixth, Christian drove him in with a single through the hole to left on a full count. It was Christian's third hit and RBI of the game.

Not to be lost in Christian's hot-hitting was a fine performance by Fresno starter Travis Blackley. The southpaw allowed only one run on one hit while striking out six and walking one. He picked up the winning decision in his first start for the Grizzlies since 2007.

Blackley allowed a leadoff home run in the fourth to Carlos Triunfel and walked the following batter, Mike Carp. Despite the pending threat, Blackley settled in and struck out the remaining three hitters in the inning. The three strikeouts were among the six punchouts by Blackley, his most in an outing in affiliated baseball since 2010.

Overall, the Grizzlies pitching staff recorded 10 strikeouts, one shy of the season-high of 11 set in the season opener at Tucson on April 5th. Steve Edlefsen and George Kontos each added two strikeouts.

The Grizzlies and Rainiers will return to action on Monday evening for a 7:05 pm game at Chukchansi Park. Fresno's Brian Burres (0-1, 8.10) will face Jeff Marquez (1-0, 9.00) of Tacoma.