What started out as a pitchers’ duel through the first five innings developed into a Beavers offensive explosion in the bottom of the seventh following a two run Grizzly sixth.
After an almost twenty minute delayed start, Ryan Ketchner surrendered three runs on just five hits through 5.2 innings — all coming from solo homers — and looked counterbalanced to an initially fierce lefty in Fresno’s Travis Blackney. Aside from the three long balls allowed, the Portland hurler mixed up a variety of off-speed pitches and fastballs to unhorse Fresno hitters. The stocky southpaw permitted just one out of the infield put out while continuing to keep his pitches down in the zone, striking out six batters.
“Ketchner actually did a really nice job,” manager Rick Renteria said. “I know he gave up a couple of home runs but he was attacking the zone. He kept us in the game.”
Down 1-0 after 2006 PCL MVP Scott McClain’s homerun in the top of the second, the Beavers finally got on the board in the seventh after two more solo Fresno shots in the sixth.
It was a fruitful seventh for the Beavers who put up all four of their runs to edge Fresno 4-3. Pitchers Scott Strickland, Justin Hampson, and closer Leo Rosales (save) combined to fortify the Portland victory.
“They are self-motivated,” Renteria added. “You have to be patient and hopefully put something together. Fortunately, we were able to do that.”
Craig Stansberry led off following the seventh inning stretch with a hard hit double that was subsequently followed by a Royce Huffman single. Beaver protagonist Jack Cust then hammered a fastball to deep left over the head of former Portland leftfielder Justin Leone who misplayed the ball, allowing Stansberry to score from second. Adam Shabala’s single tied the game and a sacrifice fly brought home the eventual game-winner.
“We were able to put together some timely hitting at the end,” Renteria noted.