PCL baseball: Salt Lake Bees falter in ninth, lose to Las Vegas
The Bees were nostalgic on Friday night, donning the pinstriped Buzz jerseys they wore when the franchise started two decades ago.
They won't be nearly as eager to remember the ninth inning of their loss to the Las Vegas 51s.
Poor pitching at the finish cost the Bees a back-and-forth affair at Spring Mobile Ballpark, as the club fell 6-4 to Vegas.
The game had been tied in the seventh when Eric Campbell singled in a run against the Bees' normally stoic reliever Jeremy Berg. The game seemed to promise a dramatic finish in the eighth, when Drew Heid's tied it up again at four with a double that hugged the left field foul line to score Robbie Widlansky.
But the pitching broke down for good in the ninth, when closer Cory Rasmus struggled mightily on the mound. He gave up a single, a walk and then let the winning run score on a base hit to right. He sent home an insurance run with a balk.
Rasmus didn't finish the inning the club sent out Chad Cordero to get the final out.
Any hopes for a rally were quickly extinguished: Closer John Church knocked out Roberto Lopez, Luis Jimenez and Efren Navarro in order without much fuss.
The teams, both leading their respective divisions, never were separated by more than a run until the end. With the exception of Lutz's homer for Las Vegas in the second inning, both clubs got their runs by stringing precious hits together.
The Bees were the first to break it open, with Matt Long scoring on a single by Jimenez. The 51s got two runs themselves in the second, as Francisco Pena crossed the plate after a groundout to add to the homer.
The third inning followed the punch-for-punch pattern: Andy Marte doubled in Navarro, before scoring himself on a single by Widlansky. Tommy Hanson, making his first start in Salt Lake after 13 starts for the Angels this season, held onto the 3-2 lead in five strong innings of pitching.
Dustin Richardson lost the slim edge in the sixth, as Pena doubled in Matt den Dekker to knot it up.
Pioneer League roundup
Brewers 12, Owlz 7 • Orem scored five runs in a sixth-inning rally on the road, but was outdone by Helena's four scores in the seventh. Michael Fish and Ryan Dalton each had two RBIs.
Voyagers 15, Raptors 12 • Great Falls scored three runs in the top of the ninth to break a tie and beat Ogden. The Voyagers poured in 21 hits to top the Raptors, who had 13, four of which came from Adam Law.
O Cory Rasmus surrenders a pair of runs in the ninth for the loss.
• Andy Marte and Scott Cousins lead the team with a pair of hits apiece.