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Friday July 07, 2017
Story by: Hunter Julius
OKOTOKS, AB – The Okotoks Dawgs (18-10) took over sole possession of first in the west with an 8-5 win over the Fort McMurray Giants (10-17) due in part from the commanding seven inning performance Justin Vernia (Gonzaga University) had with nine strikeouts in his third start with the Dawgs.
Fort McMurray took an early 2-0 lead over the Dawgs in the first inning after a couple throwing errors and a single hit was allowed, with another run scoring for the Giants in the third before the Dawgs were able to put a tally on the board. Ryan Humeniuk (Indian Hills CC) started an explosive bottom of the third with a single before stealing second and third base. Eddie Sanchez (University of Central Arkansas) drew out a walk to put runners on the corners. A double from Matt Lloyd (University of Indiana) was enough to score both Humeniuk and Sanchez, drawing the Dawgs within one run. Cameron Campbell (University of Oregon) jumped in on the action late in the third, singling to right to score Lloyd and tie the game at three
The fourth inning saw the Dawgs turn up the heat, as Humeniuk drove a pitch to deep center field to earn a one out triple. Sanchez worked the Giants for another walk and stole second, but neither of the two runners would get comfortable with their current position. Jayse McLean (North Dakota State University) took a 2-2 pitch and was able to warrant a single that scored Humeniuk from third and moved Sanchez to the next open base, but more importantly this gave the Dawgs their first lead of the night. McLean attempted to steal second, but was thrown out, allowing Sanchez enough time to rush home from third for the second run of the inning, putting the Dawgs up 5-3.
Kody Funderburk (Dallas Baptist University) started off the fifth inning advancing on a throwing error by the shortstop and proceeded to take second base as well. After advancing to third on a groundout from Campbell, Funderburk advanced home on a fielding error by the left fielder on the first pitch Brendan Rose (University of British Columbia) saw in the at bat. Joel Brophy (Niagara University) drove a single out to right field, advancing Rose to second. In his third plate appearance, Humeniuk earned a walk to load the bases. During Sanchez’s at bat, a wild pitch allowed Rose to advance from third, making it a 7-3 ballgame.
Fort McMurray was able to score two more times in the sixth and eight innings, and were only able to get within two runs of the Dawgs due to the stellar relief pitching of Taylor Davis (Gonzaga University) and Tyler Burdett (Dixie State University).
In his third start with the Dawgs, Vernia went seven innings while allowing six hits, four runs, one earned, walking none and striking out nine to pick up his second win. Davis pitched one inning, gave up one hit and one run. Burdett closed out the game, striking out two and allowing no hits or runs to earn his eighth save of the year
Okotoks is on the road tomorrow as they battle the Brooks Bombers at 7:05 p.m.
Players to Note:
R.Humeniuk- 2-3, 1 3B, 3 SB
C.Campbell- 3-4, 2 RBI
M.Lloyd - 2-4, 1 2B, 2 RBI, 2 R
J.Vernia – 9 K’s
W: Justin Vernia (2-0)
L: Samuel Hersh (1-2)
S: Tyler Burdett (8)