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Saturday July 22, 2017
Regina, SK - In an absolute clash of the titans -- one that saw the best in the East up against the top ranked club in the West -- the (29-11) Okotoks Dawgs scored in bunches in a 6-3 victory over the (27-13) Regina Red Sox.
With their fifth straight win, the red and white are now seven games ahead of the second place Edmonton Prospects in the West.
Liam Stroud (UBC - Maple Ridge, BC) was tasked with limiting one of the most potent offences in the WMBL tonight, and the UBC product did just that. In his first start since June 29 in Lethbridge, Stroud tossed five innings of shutout baseball -- his longest outing of the campaign. Number 25 struck out three Red Sox, allowing just one hit on the night. It was more than a quality appearance for the veteran Dawg, as Regina came into the game leading the league in hits, runs, batting average, doubles and RBI.
“My first pitch strikes and getting ahead, I thought I did that pretty well,” Stroud said following the win.
“Mixing in my off-speed stuff, today I don’t think I threw a single slider for a strike but lucky I had my change up, which was nice. It’s easy to pitch when we have offence like we do and defence like we do.”
Aderly Perez (UAPB) hit his first home run of 2017 -- moving the needle to a collective ten blasts in the last five days for the Dawgs -- while Matt Lloyd (Indiana University) earned his 19th multi-hit game of the season with a pair of doubles. Behind him, Kody Funderburk (Dallas Baptist) stretched his hitting streak to six with a 2-5 night -- nine hits over that span -- driving in one in the victory.
“Pitching when we’re up 6-0 in the fourth, it’s pretty easy,” Stroud discussed the bats.
“All we have to do is go out there and pound the zone and get outs. It makes it a lot easier knowing we have that offence and I can afford to make a mistake, because my guys are going to pick me up.”
The offence came to play in the opening frame. With one out, Eddie Sanchez (Central Arkansas) drove a 1-2 pitch down the alley in right-centre for a double, later scoring after Griffin Keller in left field lost a battle with the sun. Sanchez moved his hitting streak to five with the first inning base-knock. Funderburk then doubled the lead with an RBI single to left field, handing Stroud and the Dawgs a 2-0 advantage.
The red and white used small ball in the second to plate their third and fourth run of the contest. Ryan Humeniuk (Indian Hills - Calgary, AB) laced his third hit in the last two nights before swiping his 11th bag of the season, advancing to third off a wild pitch. After a sac-bunt plated Humeniuk, Okotoks made it a 4-0 contest off a double steal with runners on the corners.
For the third consecutive inning, the offence kept coming in front of a packed crowd at Currie Field. Lloyd stretched his hitting streak to 20 straight games with a double off the right field wall. Jayse McLean (North Dakota State University) exchanged spots with the Indiana product, barrelling a 0-2 breaking ball to the fence in left field for an RBI double, handing Okotoks a 5-0 lead.
Coming into tonight’s contest, the 39 home runs the Dawgs had hit this year was the most in franchise history. In the fourth inning, Perez made it a solid 40, lining a 0-2 pitch over the wall in left field for a 6-0 edge.
The bullpen for Okotoks did their job the rest of the way, allowing just three earned runs. Zach Demchenko (Northeastern Junior College) pitched two frames, fanning three with one run to his name. After the Red Sox tacked on an additional run off Omar Celaya (Nyack College) and Corey Jackson (New Mexico Junior College), Tyler Burdett (Dixie State) came in to work a two-pitch save -- his WMBL-leading 12th of the campaign.
The Dawgs wrap up their Saskatchewan road trip and their two-game set right here in Regina tomorrow. 2:05pm start time.
BY THE NUMBERS:
Liam Stroud: 5 IP 1 H 0 ER 3 BB 3 SO
Aderly Perez (R): 1-2, R, RBI, HR .273 AVG
Matt Lloyd: 2-5, 2 R, RBI, .417 AVG
WP: Liam Stroud (1-0) LP: Will Moore (3-2) SV: Tyler Burdett (12)