Fresno, Calif. - The Fresno Grizzlies fell just short of completing their largest comeback of the season as they lost to the Iowa Cubs 6-5 on Friday night at Chukchansi Park. A new regular season attendance record of 14,023 attended Friday night's game, however, breaking the previous mark of 13,970 set on August 31, 2006.
The Grizzlies had the winning run at the plate in the bottom of the ninth after coming back from a 6-0 deficit. After Justin Christian reached first on a force out at second, Nick Noonan singled to move Christian to second. Francisco Peguero notched his third hit of the game with an RBI single to center while also moving Noonan to third.
Roger Kieschnick grounded into another force out, but it allowed Noonan to score and trim the Iowa advantage to 6-5. Charlie Culberson struck out swinging to end the game, though, stranding Kieschnick, who represented the game-tying run, on first.
The Grizzlies scored two runs in the fifth and one in the sixth to begin staging their almost comeback. Peguero scored two runs with a single to center in the fifth while Brock Bond recorded one of his two hits in the game in the sixth to score Culberson and make it 6-3 Iowa.
The I-Cubs built too tall of a lead, however, between the second and fifth innings. Leadoff doubles by Josh Vitters and Matt Tolbert in the second and third frames, respectively, each led to a run apiece. Juan Apodaca plated Vitters while Luis Valbuena drove in Tolbert.
Leading 2-0 heading into the third, Dave Sappelt grounded into a force out with the bases loaded, scoring Ty Wright.
In the fifth, Iowa hit three home runs, all off Grizzlies starting pitcher Matt Yourkin. Anthony Rizzo hit his fourth homer of the series to lead off the frame while Vitters and Wright added roundtrippers later in the inning.
After Apodaca doubled following Wright's home run, Mitch Lively relieved Yourkin for the Grizzlies. Yourkin, who suffered the loss, allowed six runs, all earned, on 10 hits in 4 2/3 innings. The three home runs surrendered by Yourkin are the most allowed by a Fresno pitcher this season.
Peguero finished the game with a team-best three RBI on three hits. He and Christian each paced the Grizzlies with three base knocks.
The loss results in the Grizzlies first series loss of the 2012 season. Fresno will start anew on Saturday, though, when they begin a four-game set against the defending PCL Champions, the Omaha Storm Chasers. In game one, left-hander Brian Burres of Fresno will face fellow southpaw Everett Teaford of Omaha. First pitch is set for 7:05 pm.