For just the third time in franchise history, the Fresno Grizzlies (80-56) reached the 80-win plateau after defeating the Salt Lake Bees (70-66) 14-9 Friday night from Smith's Ballpark. In what was a back-and-forth slugfest ended when Fresno scored seven runs in the eighth inning, stopping any comeback. All starters recorded at least one hit and the team combined for 18 overall. With the victory, the Grizzlies jumped to 25-11 in the opener of a series.
Fresno inched out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the first when Drew Ferguson reached on an infield single, knocking in J.D. Davis (2-for-4), who doubled to right-center with two outs. In the top of the second, Nick Tanielu (3-for-6) drove a double to center and came around to score on a Kyle Tucker (2-for-3) sacrifice fly to center, making it 2-0 Grizzlies. Both Tanielu and Tucker lengthened their hit streaks to nine apiece on the evening.
A groundout to first base by Michael Hermosillo in the bottom of the second allowed Dustin Ackley (3-for-4) to scamper home and cut the advantage to 2-1.
AJ Reed extended the lead to 3-1 in the top of the third when he hammered a pitch to dead center. It was his Triple-A best 28th homer and 77th of his career in a Fresno uniform. That would place him within two of tying Damon Minor for second all-time. Reed also crept closer to the single-season RBI record that Scott McClain holds from 2008 (108).
In the bottom of the third, two solo dingers by Jared Walsh (2-for-5) and Jose Miguel Fernandez (2-for-5) knotted the game at three. Walsh's clout was to left-center, his eighth since joining the Bees. For Fernandez, his 17th of the year sailed to right-center field.
Myles Straw (2-for-5) grabbed a 4-3 advantage for the Grizzlies after racing home on a Tucker RBI single. On the night, Straw swiped two bags, bringing his professional baseball best up to 69 steals, while it was number 34 since his promotion to Fresno. That is the top mark in the PCL. Salt Lake once again answered in the bottom of the fourth, equaling the contest at four. Hermosillo skied a sacrifice fly to left field, plating Joe Hudson (4-for-4).
With two outs in the bottom of the fifth, the Bees exploded for three straight RBI doubles, cruising ahead 7-4. Alberto Triunfel, Ackley and Hudson were all recipients of the two-baggers. That would end the night for Grizzlies starter Trent Thornton (no-decision). He was charged with seven runs (six earned), on 10 hits, two free passes and five whiffs in four and two-thirds frames.
Jamie Ritchie (2-for-4) doubled to leadoff the top of the sixth and waltzed to the plate on a deep sacrifice fly to center by Davis. With a two-run lead, Salt Lake righty Dylan Unsworth exited after five and one-third innings. He scattered eight hits, five runs (earned) on three walks and five punchouts.
Unsworth would not receive the decision after Fresno evened the score at seven in the top of the seventh. Yordan Alvarez (3-for-6) smoked a double to the right field corner, notching Ferguson. Then, Alex De Goti (2-for-4) netted a sacrifice fly to left, pushing Tanielu home.
In the bottom of the seventh, Hudson bashed a double, adding a pair and rewarding the Bees with a 9-7 advantage. The Grizzlies regained the lead in the visitor's half of the eighth with an 11-batter, seven-run inning. After a wild pitch forced in a run, Alvarez punched in two more with a single to right. Then, De Goti cranked a three-run jack to left field. It was his first Triple-A big fly. Finally, Tucker nuked a double to the right field gap, squeezing in Straw, who also doubled.
Up 14-9 in the ninth, Matt Ramsey shut down the offensive outpouring, clinching a Fresno win. Riley Ferrell (2-1) enjoyed the victory while Williams Jerez (0-1) suffered the defeat. Lefty Reymin Guduan was lights out in relief, hurling one-plus scoreless frames for the Grizzlies.
Both squads continue the set with game two of four Saturday evening from Smith's Ballpark. First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 PT. Fresno has yet to announce a starter while RHP Osmer Morales (4-4, 6.57) gets the nod for Salt Lake.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.