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Tuesday, June 26, 2012
WORCESTER, Mass. – On Monday, the Grand Prairie AirHogs trailed 7-2 and scored four runs the rest of the way, falling one short of a big comeback. One night later, the AirHogs again faced a 7-2 deficit, this time after three frames. But this time, Grand Prairie got the job done, scoring the final eight runs to beat the Worcester Tornadoes 10-7 at Hanover Insurance Park at Fitton Field for their biggest comeback of the season, forcing a rubber match of their three-game series.
Andres Rodriguez had the first and last big swings of the night for Grand Prairie (25-13), hitting a solo home run off starter Zach Zuercher before Greg Porter followed with the AirHogs’ first back-to-back home runs to make it 2-0.
Rodriguez then capped the comeback in the ninth, hitting a wall-scraping three-run home run to left-center just beyond the leap of Brendon Kelliher to put Grand Prairie on top for good.
In between, Teddy Nowell gave up seven runs in the third inning, issuing six walks (four that frame), before being victimized by a three-run double by Jerod Edmondson and a three-run home run by Alex Trezza to put Worcester (14-24) up by five.
But the Grand Prairie bullpen threw 6 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing just four hits and two walks the rest of the night. Derrick Miramontes allowed an inherited run in the third, but he worked 2 2/3 innings, before Ronnie Morales threw two scoreless, Griffin Bailey (3-3) had a 1-2-3 eighth and Justin Dowdy closed out the game for his eighth save.
The AirHogs began the comeback with doubles by David Thomas and Keanon Simon in the fifth, before tying the game in the seventh with four more runs. Thomas again started it with a double, before Yasutsugu Nishimoto drew a walk. Simon lined another double to score two, before Bryan Frichter struck out. Brian Myrow lined a single to put runners at the corners, bringing up Rodriguez.
The Grand Prairie cleanup hitter lofted a shallow fly to right-center, caught by the backpedalling second baseman Brandon Pinckney. Simon tagged up and tried to score, and first baseman Alex Nunez’s relay throw went awry, allowing Myrow to move to second.
That proved large when Porter lined a single to left to score Myrow, tying the game and knocking out Zuercher.
Tornadoes closer Nick Serino (2-2) walked Frichter to start the ninth, and Myrow’s would-be double play ball to second took a bad hop by Pinckney to put runners at the corners, bringing up Rodriguez for the game’s decisive at-bat.
Notes: Rodriguez now has eight home runs, tied with Chris McMurray for the team lead and the first time in three seasons he has hit more than six home runs for Ricky VanAsselberg (2009-10, 2012) In his last three seasons not playing for VanAsselberg, Rodriguez has averaged 16 home runs…The AirHogs’ previous largest comeback of the year was four runs against Laredo on June 13…
The 2011 American Association Champion Grand Prairie AirHogs conclude their three-game series against the Worcester Tornadoes, on Wednesday, June 27, at 12:05 p.m. The next home game at QuikTrip Park is Friday, June 29, at 7:05 p.m. against the Amarillo Sox. That night is QuikTrip Night, with free ticket vouchers available at local QuikTrip stores. All games are aired live and for free on Ustream by clicking on the link on the AirHogs’ home page or visiting http://www.ustream.tv/channel/airhogs-baseball with selected contests aired on Time Warner Cable’s Texas Channel. For information on tickets, promotions, advertising, and other opportunities with the AirHogs, check out the Web site at www.airhogsbaseball.com, or call the QuikTrip Park office at (972) 504-9383.