Surprise came out on top in a 23-hit slugfest Friday night, besting visiting Peoria 11-8. The win moves the Saguaros to a game and a half back of the Javelinas for the West Division play-off slot and keeps the elimination countdown at four.
Mike O'Neill, Colin Walsh and Cody Stanley helped lead the hit parade, combining for six of their squad's 12 knocks. O'Neill fulfilled his lead-off function by getting on base four times in five plate appearances via two singles, a base-on-balls and a throwing error. The latter move christened bottom half of the first, resulting in O'Neill scoring the first of two tallies that frame to put Surprise up 2-1.
The lead-off batter was driven in by Walsh on a ground out to first. Walsh matched O'Neill's on-base total of four. The pair joined forces to bring across the same result in the third when O'Neill opened with a walk and advanced to third on a double by the Mets' Daniel Munro. Walsh, hitting in the three spot, doubled to center to knock in O'Neill and move Munro to third. A free pass and a single brought across two more runners but that was all as Stanley was the first of two swinging strikeouts that left teammates on first and second.
O'Neill and Walsh singled without result in fourth and fifth respectively then watched as Stanley's second long ball of the Fall plated two to begin the five-run sixth. After a pitching change, a two-out single by O'Neill re-started the offensive onslaught. The left fielder was succeeded by another single and a base-on-balls to Walsh which jammed the sacks full. Yet another single knocked in two, including O'Neill, and Walsh touched home on a double.
Stanley powered another ball out of the field of play to kick off the seventh for Surprise's final tally. The catcher went 2-for-5 with a walk, two runs scored and three driven in on his two bombs to go with a strikeout. O'Neill singled twice in four at bats with a free pass, and two runs scored while Walsh, playing right, singled and doubled in three with two base-on-balls, two runs scored and two knocked in.
Starter Boone Whiting upped his record to 3-1, although he had his worst AFL start to date. Two of the six hits allowed by the righty were solo shots that comprised half of the four runs he yielded in four innings. Whiting fanned seven and issued one free pass with two ground outs and one fly out. He threw 74 pitches, 54 for strikes.
Saturday's game: vs. Scottsdale, 6:10 AZ time (7:10 CT), Seth Blair (2-1, 1.04)
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