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Thursday August 03, 2017
Photo cred: Angela Burger
Story by: Dustin Saracini
Edmonton, AB - The (2-1) Okotoks Dawgs took a 2-1 series lead in blowout fashion tonight, pouring on the offence in an 11-1 rout of the (1-2) Edmonton Prospects at RE/MAX Field.
Rookie Graham Brunner was tremendous on the mound, retiring the first 13 batters he faced while carrying a no-hitter through 5.2 innings of work. The Dawgs Academy product kept everything around the plate tonight, walking just one over six complete frames. He struckout two in the shutout, earning his first collegiate postseason win.
“I was just trying to let them hit the ball, put it in play,” Brunner said.
“I was a little nervous coming in, obviously it was really nice coming out of the dugout and everyone cheering me on. [It’s the] best feeling in the world in front of that and in the playoffs.”
Okotoks opened the floodgates with a five-run fourth highlighted by a Joel Brophy (Niagara University - Burlington, ON) home run. His third of the year went just about 360-feet in the biggest ballpark in the WMBL. Cameron Campbell ( University of Oregon) followed that up with a terrific day at the plate, notching three hits and driving in two. In the end, seven of the nine starters tonight recorded at least one hit.
Following a scoreless top of the third, one that saw the Dawgs unable to cash in a leadoff single, Okotoks wouldn’t make the same mistake with the bats in their hand the next frame. It was Campbell taking advantage of a pair of walks, ripping a 2-1 fastball to left field, scoring Matt Lloyd (Indiana University - Okotoks, AB) from second base to give the red and white their first lead of the game. Brendan Rose (UBC - Calgary, AB) made it a 2-0 contest via the sac-fly before Brophy stepped to the plate. With two-on and one out, the Burlington, Ontario product launched the first home run of the postseason, a three-run shot to left field, breaking the game wide open.
“It’s really nice when your catcher hits one over the fence for you,” Brunner said following the win.
“Pitching with a lead is really nice, especially with the team we have, because we will pile up runs and continue to put up zeros as a team.”
After the Dawgs moved their lead to six off an error, Rose stayed hot at the dish, stroking a two-run single up the middle to cap off another multi-run inning. Through five it was an 8-0 contest.
Okotoks continued to score in bunches in the sixth. Ryan Humeniuk (Indian Hills) worked a leadoff single, turning on the wheels and scoring off an Eddie Sanchez (Central Arkansas) double down the alley in left-centre. With two on and one out, Kody Funderburk (Dallas Baptist) got in on the action with an RBI single up the middle, plating Sanchez to give Okotoks a double-digit advantage. The red and white moved the needle to 11 when Campbell registered his third hit of the ball game to the warning track in left field.
The fresh bullpen took over in the seventh to preserve the series lead. Taylor Davis (Gonzaga University) worked a clean inning of work before Edmonton tacked on their lone run in the eighth. Corey Jackson (New Mexico Junior College) closed things out in the ninth.
The Dawgs look to wrap up the series tomorrow in Edmonton. First pitch flies at 7:05pm.
BY THE NUMBERS:
Graham Brunner (R): 6 IP 1 H 0 ER 1 BB 2 K
Joel Brophy: 2-4, R, 3 RBI, .300 AVG
Cameron Campbell (R): 3-5, 2 R, 2 RBI, .364 AVG
WP: Graham Brunner (1-0) LP: Taran Oulton (0-1)