Chihuahuas walk off

Infielder+Tommy+Medica+is+introduced+in+the+starting+lineup.+

Michaela Román

Infielder Tommy Medica is introduced in the starting lineup.

Luis Gonzalez, Sports Editor

The Fresno Grizzlies had been giving the Chihuahua’s opportunities all series long and tonight El Paso finally took advantage it. Shortstop Benji Gonzalez came to the plate in the bottom of the ninth with the game tied, bases loaded and the Chihuahuas walked off with the 6-5 win.

“It seems like we make a habit when we win we like to do a walk off,” said El Paso manager Jamie Quirk. “It makes for exciting baseball but it gives you grey hair.”

The Grizzlies got on the board first when Fresno’s shortstop Jonathan Villar hit a ball over the left field wall. The Chihuahuas answered right away off a Jason Goebbert homer with a man on board to take the lead 2-1.

After losing the zero on the board in the second, Chihuahua starting pitcher Robbie Erlin went two more innings before allowing four runs in the top of the fifth. He allowed four of the eight hits in that inning, including a three-run home run to Fresno’s Robbie Grossman.

Erlin would not survive the fifth, but would avoid the loss leaving the game without a decision.

“I know Robbie probably isn’t the happiest with his outing, but he battled,” said left fielder Jake Goebbert.

Once Erlin was in the dugout, the bullpen took over. The two relievers Quirk sent to the mound delivered four and a third scoreless innings that ultimately allowed the Chihuahuas to make a comeback.

Jay Jackson pitched the remainder of the fifth, plus the sixth and seventh allowing just two hits and recording three strikeouts. Jerry Sullivan came in to close the game, pitching two perfect innings and earning the win.

“The bullpen was huge,” Quirk said. “When the bullpen can do that for you it gives your offense to have an inning like that.”

After Gonzalez doubled in the sixth and Goebbert scored to bring the Chihuahuas one run closer, El Paso seemed headed to a third straight loss.

Down 5-3, Cody Decker was the first to the plate in the ninth and took a walk. Then Rymer Liriano singled, setting the table for Jason Hagerty to double and make the score 5-4. With runners on the corners, Goebbert walked to load the bases. Rocky Gale followed with a single off the visiting pitcher to tie the game up.

That’s when Gonzalez came to the plate. It was not the first time the 25-year-old had had the bases loaded. Last night and tonight he’d had a chance to put runs on the board and failed both times. Playing in just his third game as a Chihuahua, after just being called up from Single-A, Gonzalez hit a line drive to right field to end complete the El Paso ninth-inning comeback.

“It was nice for him(Gonzalez) because I know he is trying to belong here,” Quirk said.

Gonzalez got his first hit as a Chihuahua tonight and finished the night 3-4 at the plate with two RBI’s.

As a team, El Paso got production from everybody in the lineup racking up 15 hits on the night.

“It was a great team win, everybody contributed,” Goebbert said. “Obviously nobody did it on their own.”

With the win the Chihuahuas are back at .500 and will look to finish off the series with the Grizzlies on a positive note as they keep searching for consistency and chasing the division leader Las Vegas. First pitch tomorrow night is scheduled for 7:05 with Colin Rea scheduled to make his first start on the mound for El Paso.

“I know we haven’t had the best production in the last few games,” Goebbert. “But to win this game tonight I think its gonna help us turn the corner for tomorrow and the rest of the week.”

Luis Gonzalez may be reached at [email protected]