KEIZER, Ore. - The Salem-Keizer Volcanoes found themselves in a slugfest between the Everett AquaSox on a sweltering August 3 evening at Volcanoes Stadium, but were ultimately outpunched by their foes 11-10.
Salem-Keizer rang the bell of Everett starting pitcher Randy Bell vigorously with four runs in the bottom of the first inning. After a leadoff double by center fielder Malique Ziegler, right fielder Logan Baldwin reached first base on a throwing error by AquaSox second baseman Joseph Rosa.
With runners on the corners and no outs, left fielder Bryce Johnson lined a base hit to right field to score Ziegler and chalk up the Volcanoes first run of the ballgame. First baseman Ryan Kirby lined out sharply to first base and shortstop Manuel Geraldo singled to left field to load the bases for third baseman Michael Sexton.
The lefty stung a Bell offering back up the middle to drive in two runs and extend the lead to 3-0. The Volcanoes tacked on their fourth run of the inning thanks to a throwing error by AquaSox shortstop Chris Torres that scored Geraldo.
Despite the early deficit, the AquaSox had no plans of packing up their suitcases. In the top of the second inning, with the humidity rising and the wind blowing out to right field, third baseman Johnny Adams lifted a deep fly ball over the right field wall for a solo home run to kick start the inning.
Volcanoes starting pitcher Julio Benitez recorded outs of the proceeding two AquaSock batsmen before allowing a single to designated hitter Greifer Andrade. The next batter was right fielder Ronald Rosaro, who took Benitez deep for a two-run long ball to right center field that trimmed the Volcanoes' lead to 4-3.
With the AquaSox on their trail, the Volcanoes elongated their lead to 6-3 in the bottom of the fourth. Designated hitter Robinson Medrano and catcher Dylan Manwaring led off the inning with base hits and second baseman Kevin Rivera reached base via a base on balls to set up a bases loaded situation with no outs for the Volcanoes.
Ziegler flied out to shallow left field, passing the baton to Baldwin, who laced a two-run single off of AquaSox reliever Michael Suarez. The Volcanoes tallied another run in the bottom of the fifth with a RBI single off of the bat of Rivera to extend the lead further to 7-3.
However, the wheels came off of the Volcanoes' bus when the AquaSox scored eight-consecutive runs the next two innings to take the lead 11-7. Benitez pitched into the fourth inning before Volcanoes manager Jolbert Cabrera opted for the bullpen. The AquaSox eventually pounced on the Volcanoes pen by chalking up a six-spot in the top of the sixth inning for a 9-7 advantage and adding two more insurance runs in the top of the seventh inning.
Salem-Keizer showed resilience in the bottom of the seventh when they pulled within one run of the lead 11-10. Geraldo began the inning with a base hit and eventually stole second after Sexton struck out swinging.
Medrano then reached on Torres' second error of the game and the third for the AquaSox in the contest as Geraldo advanced to third. For all of the offensive flair between the two squads, the game proved to be sloppier than a bloodhound's kiss. Both teams combined for seven total errors, including four by the Volcanoes.
Manwaring lined out to first base for the second out of the inning, but Rivera kept the rally rolling with a walk to load the bases. Returning to the top of the order, Ziegler crushed a 2-2 pitch by AquaSox reliever Paul Covelle, down the right field line that landed fair. All three runners scampered home as Zeigler wound up on third base with a bases-clearing triple.
The Volcanoes put the tying run on first base in the bottom halves of the eighth and ninth innings, but were unable to advance the runner any further as the AquaSox maintained their one-run lead by the conclusion of the bottom of the ninth inning.
Suarez earned the victory in relief for the AquaSox, improving his record to 5-2 in 2017. The southpaw served up three runs, five hits and three walks in three innings while striking out one batter. Right-handed relief man Matt Clancy picked up his second save on the season, and Covelle and right-handed reliever Ted Hammond collected their fourth and second holds on the year, respectively.
Volcanoes righty reliever Luis Pino was handed the loss, which lowered his record to 0-2. Pino allowed six runs (four earned), four hits and two walks and struck out two hitters in two innings. Andy Rohloff blew his first save in his third appearance of the season.
The Volcanoes and the AquaSox will play the second game of the five-game series tomorrow at Volcanoes Stadium. First pitch is at 6:35 p.m.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.