LaPorta, AZL Indians cruise by AZL Mariners, 10-2
Tribe first baseman collects three hits including grand slam in win
GOODYEAR – The AZL Indians put together arguably their most impressive victory of the season Friday night, as they dominated the AZL Mariners for nine innings and won comfortably 10-2. AZL Indians starter Sean Brady and first baseman Matt LaPorta set the tone early, allowing the Tribe to take control and never look back.
The left-handed Brady settled into a nice groove from the outset and managed to set down the AZL Mariners in order to start the game. However, his counterpart, Melchor Urquidees, could not match these results and struggled as soon as he toed the rubber. The AZL Mariner starter walked the first three AZL Indian batters he saw, loading the bases with LaPorta stepping to the plate.
As Urquidees continued to struggle mightily with his control, LaPorta worked the count to 3-1. Urquidees, searching for a strike, then threw a slow, get-me-over fastball, which the veteran LaPorta crushed well over the left field fence for a grand slam. This ended Urquidees’, who only threw 20 pitches and just four for strikes, evening and staked the AZL Indians to an early 4-0 lead.
Brady built on this initial lead and prevented the AZL Mariners from throwing any sort of counterpunch. In fact, he pitched phenomenally, baffling each and every hitter he faced. Brady was perfect through three innings with four strikeouts before he was disappointingly lifted based on a predetermined workload.
The AZL Indians extended their lead in the bottom of the fourth with a five run inning. LaPorta, Ordomar Valdez, andGerald Bautista all smacked doubles in the inning and this in conjunction with walks by LeVon Washington and D’vone McClure pushed four runs across the plate. Catcher Shane Rowland capped off the rally with an RBI single that scored Bautista from second for a fifth run in the inning. The rally gave the Tribe a huge nine run lead and all but put the game away.
They would go on to scratch out an additional run in the bottom of the eighth on a sac fly by pinch-hitter Juan De La Cruz, but at that point the game was already well in hand.
Four AZL Indian relievers, headlined by Anthony Vizcaya, continued Brady’s dominance and gave the AZL Mariners little to work with to try to put together a comeback. The only slip up on the night for Tribe pitchers came from Vizcaya who gave up two runs on two doubles and a walk in the top of the sixth inning in the midst of his four innings of work. However, this would be the only offense the AZL Mariners could come up with against the impressive Tribe pitching staff. AZL Indian relievers finished allowing only the two Vizcaya runs (both earned) on just four hits in six innings with five strikeouts and four walks.
On the offensive side, LaPorta led the charge going 3-4 with two doubles, a home run, two runs scored, and five RBIs. Baustista and Yonathan Mendoza also put together solid evenings as the former went 2-3 with two doubles – both of which hit the fence center field fence just feet short of leaving the park – two walks, a run scored, and an RBI, while the latter collect two hits and a walk in five plate appearances. In total, six of the AZL Indians’ eleven hits went for extra bases, as Tribe hitters victimized AZL Mariners pitching throughout the night.
The AZL Indians really took care of business and beat up on a clearly inferior team, which is something they might not have done at the beginning of the season. They continue to make strides in all aspects of the game, most notably with clutch hitting offensively and limiting walks on the pitching side.
The victory pulled the AZL Indians back to .500 at 12-12 on the season. The Tribe will be off Saturday, but they will look to continue to try to keep pace with the AZL Dodgers atop the AZL Central Division on Sunday, as they take on the AZL A’s at home in Goodyear.