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Friday, June 27, 2008

Armada win 9-6 behind a 3 HR night by Norm"Home Run" Hutchins!

What a night it was for 1B/CF Norm Hutchins. He started off the night with a 2-run bomb, then followed it up with a 3-run shot and later added a solo blast, pacing the Armada with 6 RBIs...

Big hitting by 1B/CF Norm Hutchins was the difference in this game. His three HR’s and six RBIs paced the Armada to a 9-6 victory over the first place Calgary Vipers. The win snapped a five game losing streak for the Crew.

Long Beach took advantage of a two-run home run by Hutchins, his sixth of the year, in the first inning and the Armada jumped out to a quick 3-0 lead after the first half of the first frame. Early in the season the Armada often jumped out quickly on the road, but playing away from Blair Field has not been easy on the Armada of late. Not tonight.

Ryan Claypool (2-3, 10.24 ERA) made the start for Long Beach. In a switch of positions, Ryan Lehr, who injured a groin earlier in the week, moved over from third base to first and Octavio Martinez, who is the starting catcher and has also seen some time at first, got the nod at third. Claypool walked the first two batters of the game on eight straight outside pitches—not the way he wanted to start, especially with the high ERA. Buthe held on for the win, improving his record to 3-3.

Calgary picked up a run in the second inning to slither within two runs of the Armada, but the Crew found a way to come back and once again it was Hutchins.

The CF rocked a three-run shot his next time up, in the top of the third, giving the Crew a 6-1 lead. The round-tripper was his seventh of the season and this one cleared the wall by a good 70 feet.

Viper Ryan Sherman struck out the side in the top of the fourth to keep the game at 6-1. Claypool gave up a solo HR to Travis Drader to lead off the bottom of the fourth, cutting the lead to 6-2. Three batters later, with two outs, Claypool gave up a three-run shot to Drew Miller. That narrowed the gap to just one run and the Armada led by a score of 6-5.

Not to be outdone, Lehr blasted a solo shot over the left field wall to lead off the fifth, extending the Armada lead to two runs. The Crew added another run in the inning to make it a three-run lead through the middle of five.

Lehr did not take the field in the sixth inning, instead it was left handed pitcher Nick Bierbrodt who trotted out to play first base. Catcher David Ramirez took a foul ball off the mask later in the inning, which should have concerned Yeager quite a bit, considering the fact that his starting catcher was playing third base and one of his starting pitchers was playing first base. Lehr was 3-4 with three RBIs.

Hutchins wasn’t done with the long ball yet. He stepped to the plate in the top of the seventh and blasted a solo shot to extend the Armada lead to four runs, giving them a 9-5 lead.

Reliever Garrett Murdy gave up a leadoff HR in the bottom of the eighth to C Patrick Arlis, cutting the lead to 9-6. Murdy looked strong though, striking out three batters in his two innings of work.

Closer Nick Cavanaugh closed out the game, going 1-2-3 in the final inning.

Photos By Mark Mauno

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