It was a back and forth affair, but the Armada came out on the right end of this one, beating the Calgary Vipers 8-6 on their first game of the Canadian road trip.
The Armada sent nine men to the plate in the second inning Tuesday night. They faced Evan Gruesel, one of the top pitchers in the GBL for the fourth time this season. The Armada led 4-0 heading into the bottom of the second inning thanks to a Steve Moss two-run double. David Ramirez had an RBI double and Michael Glomb had an RBI single in the inning.
Long Beach sent pitching coach and starter Rik Currier to the mound. He struck out a pair in the first inning. Currier is 1-1 with a 1.59 ERA in three starts against Calgary this season. RF Norm Hutchins helped his pitcher out, making a diving catch off a hit from Jorge Tang to rob his counterpart for the second out. Currier ended the inning with another strikeout, his third in just two innings. Currier gave up a two-run home run to Carlos Duncan in the bottom of the third to cut the Armada lead in half.
Moss knocked a two-out single in the top of the fourth, bringing up Norm Hutchins, the cleanup hitter. Hutchins hit five HR’s over the course of two nights the last time Long Beach visited Calgary. He hit a single this time around, moving Moss over to third. Lehr struck out for the second time in the game, stranding two runners.
Collin Morrow doubled with one out in the bottom of the fourth bringing up Jorge Tang. Tang singled Morrow over to third. That brought up C Patrick Arlis. Arlis squeezed Morrow in off a nice bunt down the first base line. Nelson Castro knocked in Tang with a single to center. The game was tied at four going into the top of the fifth.
Castro blasted a two-out solo home run in the bottom of the sixth inning to give Calgary their first lead of the evening, 5-4. Travis Drader followed that up with a double. Duncan knocked in another run to extend the lead to 6-4. Felix Jose came to the plate with runners on the corners, two outs and a two-run lead. He popped out to SS Michael Glomb for the third out.
With two outs and Lehr on second in the seventh inning, Evan Gruesel was replaced by Jon Huizinga. Brett Flowers, the first batter that Huizinga faced, singled Lehr home to make it a 6-5 game. Flowers moved to third off a hit by Martinez. Flowers scored on a pass ball with Dan Trumble at the plate. Martinez was tagged out at the plate off a beautiful throw by the center fielder, Colin Moro. That kept the game tied at six going into the seventh inning stretch.
Garrett Murdy came into the game to relieve Currier in the bottom of the seventh. Currier ended the game with seven strikeouts, throwing 117 pitches and facing 32 batters. Murdy kept Calgary off the board and the Armada went into the top of the eighth knotted at six.
The score remained that way heading into the ninth when P.J. Bevis took the mound and faced Norm Hutchins to start things off. Hutchins crushed his 14th HR of the season, this one over the center field wall to give the Armada the lead once again, 7-6. Flowers had an infield hit but got on base on a throwing error. Martinez hit an infield single and advanced to second on an error by Jorge Mejia. Flowers scored off a sacrifice fly by Trumble, extending the lead to 8-6. Martinez moved to third on the play. The Crew headed to the bottom of the ninth with the Armada leading by a pair.
The newest member of the Armada, pitcher Wayne Foltin, took the hill in the ninth for Manager Steve Yeager. Foltin joined the team this past Thursday after playing for Winnipeg of the Northern League. Murdy didn’t give up a run or a hit in his two innings of work.
Foltin kept the Snakes off the board and the Fleet get their first win in the three-game series, 8-6. The teams hookup again Wednesday and Thursday, with both starts coming at 6 PM local time. To listen to the games go to www.calgaryvipers.com