By: Alex Morales
Fort Worth, TX – The El Paso Diablos came into the game looking to earn a split in the series against Fort Worth and the Diablos had their opportunities in the game as the victory was in their grasp, but mental mistakes on the base paths ended their hopes as they fell 4-3 Friday night at LaGrave Field.
El Paso (35-61) sent Jae Jung to the mound and he pitched a scoreless first inning, but in the second frame he ran into trouble as he allowed the Cats to tag him for two runs. Second baseman Aljay Davis reached on a fielding error by Albenis Machado. He was then moved over to third on the base hit by short stop Corey Morales.
The next batter was Steve Vranau and during his at bat Jung threw a wild pitch that scored Davis to make it 1-0. Vranau walked and center fielder Clifton Thomas delivered an RBI base hit to make the score 2-0 after two innings of play.
Fort Worth (45-51) gave starting pitcher Daniel Schmidt a two run cushion, but in the top of the third he gave up a one-out double to center fielder Kory Drew. Next batter was shortstop Maikol Gonzalez who laid down bunt that was fielded by Schmidt. His throw sailed down the right field line.
Drew scored on the error, but Gonzalez was thrown out at third as he tried to extend the error which was the first base running mistake of the game.
The Cats scored one more in the bottom of the fourth inning to take a 3-1 lead and the scored remained the same until the top of the sixth when the turning point of the game occurred.
El Paso had the bases loaded with one out when designated hitter Alberto Espinosa was at the plate. He hit a little dribbler to third baseman Will Calhoun and on his attempt to field the ball Calhoun collided with the runner on second Uriak Marquez who was trying to advance to third.
A run came in as Calhoun was unable to field the ball which made the score 3-2, but after an umpire meeting the play was ruled runner interference and the runner that scored had to return to third and Marquez was called out. The next batter was Nelson Teilon and he singled to bring home two to tie the game at three.
The Cats did not wait long to answer back as in the bottom half of the frame, Davis drew a lead-off walk to start the inning. He scored on a base hit by Thomas to give the Cats a 4-3 lead.
El Paso had their chances to come back in the game, but in the top of the seventh they stranded a runner on third to end the inning. In the top of the eighth, Espinosa was up against reliever Robert Manuel and had runners on first and third with one out and he struck out.
Javier Brito the runner on first was running on the play, but catcher Kelly Gulledge faked a throw to second base and was able to draw Marquez off of third. Gulledge threw to third and was able to get Marquez out to end the inning.
In the top of the ninth Manuel struck out the side to give the Cats the win and record the save in the game. Winning pitcher was Scott Vander Weg (3-2) and the losing pitcher went to Jae Jung (3-6).
Tomorrow is the first game of a four-game series as the Diablos take on the Wichita Wingnuts as they try to play spoilers and kept the Wingnuts out of the playoffs. Game time is set for 7:05 pm at Cohen Stadium.