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Chihuahuas fall to Oklahoma City despite comeback attempt

Nina Titovets

The visiting Oklahoma City Dodgers kept true to their four-score first inning with a 4-3 win over the El Paso Chihuahuas. The Dodgers survived a late-game Chihuahuas surge despite having a mediocre day in terms of pitching.

The opening inning for the Oklahoma team consisted of three hits (one home run), three batters walked and all nine batters stepped up to the plate to give the Dodgers 4-0 lead before the Chihuahuas offense could step onto the field. This marked the seventh time in the last eight games that the opponents scored before the Chihuahuas.

During the first inning, Chihuahuas’ starting pitcher Tyrell Jenkins showed poise on the mound, however, that was not reflected on the box score. In Jenkins’ five total innings pitched, he gave up seven hits, walked six batters and was handed the loss at the end of the contest.

“We fought and made it interesting at the end, but we need to make sure to attack the strike zone a little more and not walk so many batters. It’s not a formula of success,” said Chihuahuas manager Rod Barajas. “We have to be ready from pitch one.”

On the other hand, OKC’s starting pitcher Fabio Castillo seemed to call the right pitches at the right times and did not give up a single run on four hits the Chihuahuas snagged off of him. Castillo was responsible for six batters striking out.

“He (Castillo) has a big arm, and a mid-to-high 90’s fastball guy. If he has his secondary pitches where he throws strikes, he’s going to be tough,” Barajas said. “He controlled the strike zone.”

It wasn’t until the bottom of the sixth inning that the Chihuahuas got going on offense, as Castillo’s day came to a close and his relievers were up on the mound.

Coming in for Castillo was reliever Patrick Schuster, who saw action for 1.2 innings before he was pulled out of the game. In under two innings, Schuster allowed a home run hit to the first batter he faced, El Paso’s starting first baseman Jose Pirela.

Pirela, along with two of his teammates, recorded a team-high of two hits each. He also hit his fifth home run of the series during the sixth inning (ninth of the season).

“I’ve been putting in a lot of hard work,” Pirela said. “Earlier in the season, Rod (Barajas) and Morgan Burkhart (hitting coach) talked to me about my hitting, and they told me I was hitting too many ground balls, so they worked with me to hit it higher.”

The Dodgers continued their inconsistency pitching even after Schuster left for the bench. Joe Broussard allowed a team-high of three hits in 1.1 innings pitched, including a two-run homer to El Paso’s pinch hitter Jabari Blash with two outs remaining in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Despite turning into a close game in the last few innings, the Chihuahuas missed their opportunities in the end to either tie or win the game. During the bottom of the eighth and ninth inning, El Paso had runners in scoring positions, but failed to capitalize.

The Dodgers would prevail and overcome the Chihuahuas 3-1 in the four-game series. Next, El Paso will travel to Salt Lake City to face the Bees, starting May 23.

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Chihuahuas fall to Oklahoma City despite comeback attempt