Preston Mattingly, son of former major leaguer, and current Dodger “skipper,” Don Mattingly, hit an RBI sacrifice fly ball in the bottom of the 8th inning to give the Loons a win over the Peoria Chief’s in the first of a 3 game series. The Loons beat the Chief’s in front of a sellout crowd of 5,482 fans Friday evening at Dow Diamond. Friday’s win makes it 3 in a row for the Loons, who had lost 10 of 11 before their recent 3 game winning streak. Christian Lara walked to start the 8th inning, and moved to 2nd base after a wild pitch by Chief’s pitcher, Su-Min Jung. Blake Dean’s sacrifice bunt moved Lara over to 3rd base. Mattingly drove in Lara with the RBI sac fly. “I was just trying to get a pitch in the zone, to drive in the gap,” Mattingly said. “When I first hit it, I was just hoping it would carry far enough, I thought I wasn’t going to get the run in, but it worked out great.”
The Loons had tied the game, scoring 2 runs in the bottom half of the 6th inning. Joc Pederson reached base after being hit by a pitch to lead off the 6th. Thursday night’s hero, Bobby Coyle followed with a single to right field, moving Pederson to 2nd base. With no outs, Loons 3rd baseman, Christian Lara ripped a double to the gap in right center field, scoring Pederson, and moving Coyle to 3rd base. Loons 1st baseman, Blake Dean then singled to score Coyle. After Preston Mattingly popped out, Loons catcher, Mike Pericht walked to load the bases. With 1 out, Bryant Hernandez popped out to right field. Lara tagged up and was gunned down trying to score at home by the powerfully impressive arm of Anthony Giansanti, stranding 2 and ending the Loons threat.
Earlier, Peoria had stretched their lead to 3-1 in the top of the 3rd inning when David Macias scored on a Ryan Cuneo RBI. The Loons fell behind early on when starter, Zach Lee gave up a 2 out, 2 run home run in the top of the 1st inning to Peoria 3rd baseman, Greg Rohan. Lee initially gave up a 2 out single to Cuneo in the top half of the 1st. Rohan then went “yard” on a 1-1 fastball that hooked just inside the left field foul pole. Rohan’s dinger traveled 398 feet, completely out of the ball park.
The Loons got to within one run in the bottom of the 2nd inning when 3rd baseman, Christian Lara scored on a Bryant Hernandez RBI. Lara singled to start the bottom of the 2nd inning. Lara then advanced to 2nd base on a wild pitch by Peoria starter, Grahm Hicks. Preston Mattingly moved Lara over to 3rd base on a sacrifice ground ball. Great Lakes catcher, Mike Pericht walked, putting runners on 1st and 3rd with 2 outs. Hernandez ripped a line shot to right field, scoring Lara. This time it was Pericht who would fall victim to the laser arm of Peoria right fielder Anthony Giansanti, as he threw a “seed” to get Pericht at 3rd base, ending the 2nd inning.
Zach Lee got the Start for the Loons, but was limited (due to his recent injury) to a 55 pitch minimum, or 3 innings, whichever would come first. Lee ultimately threw 42 pitches, in 3 innings of work. Lee gave up 4 hits, 3 runs, and no walks, while striking out 4 batters. Angel Sanchez came in to relieve Lee in the 4th inning. Sanchez was “lights out” as he pitched 5 scoreless innings to earn the win for the Loons. Sanchez gave up only 2 hits, no runs, and 1 walk, with 4 strikeouts in his 5 innings of work. The “Cherry on the Sundae” came when Loons closer, Logan Bawcom made quick work of Peoria and struck out the side in the bottom of the 9th inning to secure the win for the Loons, and earn the much deserved save. “That’s kind of what you want to do, just go out there, throw a zero and get the win,” Loons closer Logan Bawcom said. “I throw very quick, I used to be a position player so I know what it’s like to be out there standing around, waiting between pitches, it gets pretty boring.”
The Loons will try to extend their winning streak Saturday as they play game #2 of a 3 game home series against Peoria at Dow Diamond. Left hander, Cam Greathouse (3-3, 3.53 ERA) will get the ball for Peoria, while the Loons will send out a “Leftie” of their own in Ryan Christenson (5-3, 3.08 ERA). Christenson is a good example of having the benefit of some college experience. Christenson was initially drafted by the Dodger’s in the 40th round of the 2009 MLB draft, but chose not to sign a contract. Instead, he played a year at South Mountain Community College (Az.) to improve his game, and was drafted again by the Dodger’s, this time jumping 35 rounds to the 5th round of the 2010 MLB first year player draft. The game starts at 7:05 p.m. we hope to see you down at “The Dow.” Dow Diamond, that is….