WEST SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Game four of the series between the Sacramento River Cats and the Sugar Land Space Cowboys was another closely contested battle that was separated by just two runs, but in the end, Sacramento rode a trio of home runs to victory on Friday by a 4-2
WEST SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Game four of the series between the Sacramento River Cats and the Sugar Land Space Cowboys was another closely contested battle that was separated by just two runs, but in the end, Sacramento rode a trio of home runs to victory on Friday by a 4-2 final.
Despite threatening with a pair of runners on and one out in the first, the River Cats (64-77) came away from the rally empty handed after an inning-ending double play. That left the door open for the Space Cowboys (55-87) to score the game’s first run in the top of the third, which they did by putting runners at the edges after an inning-opening double and single before pushing across the run on a throwing error during a stolen base attempt.
It took until the top of the fifth for the Sacramento offense to awaken, but it did so with a bang as the River Cats launched back-to-back home runs for the sixth time this season. The pair of solo blasts started with a dinger from Wade Meckler, his second of the year as he took a 2-0 pitch into the bullpens in right field to tie the contest.
One batter later and it was Marco Luciano leaving the yard, crushing a no-doubt homer that left the bat at 107.7 mph and traveled a distance of 431 feet into left field. For Luciano it was his third homer in a River Cats uniform, and one that gave Sacramento the lead for good.
Sacramento added one to its lead in fifth, sandwiching a walk with a pair of singles to move in front of the Space Cowboys, 3-1. The first knock came from Bryce Johnson, who moved to second on the free pass to Brett Wisely and easily scored on an RBI single from Armando Alvarez.
Continuing into the sixth, the River Cats made it three consecutive run-scoring innings with their third dinger of the contest. Doing the damage yet again was Luciano, who this time uncorked a 2-2 pitch 106.7 mph off the bat for his second homer of the evening. That homer made Luciano the 10th River Cat to record a multi-home run game this season, while it was the 12th two-homer overall by a River Cat.
Sugar Land trimmed the deficit to just two runs with their response in the top of the eighth, tallying a run thanks to a Shay Whitcomb double to left field that scored Cesar Salazar who had begun the inning with a free pass.
However, that was as close as the Space Cowboys could come as the Triple-A wins leader Nick Avila entered for a save opportunity, converting his third save of the year in as many tries by working the final 1.1 innings. Avila was clean through his outing, facing the minimum four hitters while striking out one.
That preserved the victory for Sacramento starter Mason Black (2-4), who earned his second win of the campaign after he went 5.0 innings and yielded only one unearned run on a pair of hits with six strikeouts. Picking up a hold for working the middle innings was Parker Dunshee, his first of the campaign after he allowed a single run on two hits with a season-high five punchouts.
Charged with the tough-luck loss for Sugar Land was Misael Tamarez (1-10), who gave up only two runs on five hits in 4.2 innings of work.
Leading the way at the dish for Sacramento was Luciano, who ended the night with his first Triple-A three-hit performance that included a pair of solo dingers. Also posting multiple hits was Meckler, who was 2-for-5 with his own big fly, while Johnson was 2-for-3 with a run scored and a double.
Having secured at minimum a series split, the River Cats will look to take the series outright when they line up against Sugar Land for game five on Saturday, with first pitch at 6:37 p.m. from Sutter Health Park.