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Saturday July 15, 2017
Photo cred: Amanda Fewer
Story by: Dustin Saracini
Okotoks, AB - In their Saturday tie-dye jersey’s, the (24-10) Okotoks Dawgs stretched their winning streak to seven over the (18-17) Medicine Hat Mavericks in a 9-3 game.
Jack Rupe Jr. (UC San Diego) earned his first win of the campaign, firing five strong innings while limiting the Mavericks to two runs. He struck out three in the victory.
“I felt good with all my pitches, really,” he said following the contest.
“My slider, I kind of lost a little bit. I was able to throw it for strikes here and there and let them know that I had it. I just went out there and threw strikes and let my defence work. I was angry that first run came in in the first because we had two outs … I just kept battling all night.”
Omar Celaya (Nyack College) came on in relief and fired a clean inning of work -- the big right-hander hasn’t allowed a run since June 8. Behind him it was the trio of Taylor Davis (Gonzaga University), Corey Jackson (New Mexico Junior College) and Tyler Burdett (Dixie State) shutting down the Mavericks the rest of the way.
Offensively, Greg Cullen (Niagara University) had a stand-out night, registering three hits while his Niagara teammate, Joel Brophy, blasted his first home run of the season.
For the second straight game of the series, however, it was Medicine Hat who took an early advantage. A two-out walk paved the way for an RBI double down the alley in right-centre, allowing former Dawg Blake Rowlett to score from first.
Keeping with the theme of the season, the Dawgs offence bounced back in the bottom half of the frame. It began with Cullen who ripped a leadoff single to right field for his sixth straight game with a hit. Matt Lloyd (Indiana University) extended his hitting streak to 15, delivering an RBI single to left field before a two-run double off the bat of Cameron Campbell (University of Oregon) made it a 3-1 contest. The inning was capped off with an RBI single from Aderly Perez (UAPB), who muscled a base-hit out to centrefield.
Medicine Hat answered in the top of the third, plating a one-out double to cut the lead in half.
Much like in the bottom of the first, Cullen got things started in the fifth. A leadoff single made room for Kody Funderburk (Dallas Baptist) to drive home his team-leading 34th RBI of the season.
It was a 5-2 contest until the Mavericks worked a two-out single in the seventh to creep within two. This would be short-lived, as the Dawgs bats kept on coming.
Funderburk beat the shift with a picture-perfect bunt down the third base line to kickstart Okotoks in the bottom half of the eighth. Behind him, it was Campbell shooting a ball to shallow right, advancing pinch-runner Jayse McLean (North Dakota State University) from first to third. Execution then handed the Dawgs a 7-3 lead. A pair of back-to-back bunts from Brendan Rose (UBC - Calgary, AB) and Perez scored two, giving Okotoks a four-run advantage. The inning was capped off by Brophy’s first home run of the season, sending a line drive over the left field wall for a two-run shot -- the Dawgs wouldn’t look back.
Okotoks goes for the three-game sweep tomorrow in Medicine Hat. First pitch flies at 2:05pm.
BY THE NUMBERS:
Greg Cullen (R): 3-5, 2 R, .340 AVG
Joel Brophy: 2-3, R, 2 RBI, .326 AVG
WP: Jack Rupe (1-1) LP: Brady Tedesco (0-1)