The Saguaros could not hold an early 3-0 lead as they fell at Salt River 4-3 on Tuesday evening.
Kevin Siegrist bounced back from his worst AFL start (during which he yielded four tallies in two innings) by limiting the Rafters to two hits and a walk over four frames this time out. His personal shutout included four strikeouts and came on 49 pitches, 35 for strikes.
The first saw the southpaw notch two quick outs on a line out to third and a 4-3 groundout. An infield single to third preceded a fly out to left that ended the frame. Siegrist again recorded the first out in the second on another 4-3 groundout but a base-on-balls put a runner aboard for Salt River's seven and eight hitters. Neither came through as the first was called out on strikes and the last ground into a 5-3 out.
Siegrist tossed a clean third when he got the initial batter to swing through strike three. The top of the order came back around and the first two Rafters had similar results to their first at bats with a groundout to first and pop out to short.
The 23-year-old began his final inning of work by striking out the opposition's number three hitter swinging. A pop out to third followed before a play arose in which the batter hit the ball to third and Surprise was unable to get the force due to a throwing error by the Saguaros' third baseman. The play was scored as a single to third, E5. Siegrist quashed the threat by fanning his final batter swinging. He departed with his squad up 3-0 thanks to a three-run third.
Kolten Wong, Cody Stanley and Mike O'Neill all started for Surprise, although two of them were not in their usual batting slots. Wong was moved from second to third in the batting order while O'Neill went from lead-off to the eighth hitter. The results simply were not there as none of the three got a hit although Wong did drive in a run.
Wong reached on a fielder's choice in the first, advancing to second on a play at the plate that resulted the second out of the inning. On a wild pitch, he raced to third, where he was stranded. The second baseman came up in the third with runners at the corners and none out. His groundout to first brought across a runner to put his squad up 2-0. Wong finished the 0-for-4 day by striking out swinging in the fifth and popping out to third in the eighth.
Stanley went 0-for-3 with a walk and a strikeout, batting in the six hole. He ground out to first to start the second then made the final out in the third when he K'd swinging, stranding a runner at first in the process. The catcher got on in the sixth when he hit into a potential 4-6-3 double play that instead became a force at second and throwing error on Salt River's shortstop that put Stanley at second. He was left there when the next batter ground into a 6-3 out. Stanley represented the tying run when he worked a free pass with one out in the ninth. A fly out to right did not allow him to advance and he was forced at second when O'Neill hit a grounder to short for the game's final out. Defensively, Stanley was charged with a passed ball that set up a subsequent score in the Rafters' two-run sixth.
O'Neill followed up a 3-for-3 performance against Peoria on Saturday by going 0-for-4 with a strikeout. The K came as the last out in the second. O'Neill, getting a rare start in center for Surprise, popped out to short in the fourth then popped out to the catcher in foul ground in the top of the seventh. He was the final batter in the ninth as was previously noted.
Wednesday's game: vs. Peoria, 12:35 pm MT (2:35 pm CT), Ben Henry (0-0, 0.00)
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