Nunez, Melgarejo Choke Off Red Sox

All this Gulf Coast season, Jhonny Nunez has pitched extraordinarily well for the Dodgers. Preston Mattingly has often come up with the big hit. Both did exactly that again Wednesday as the Dodgers got past the Red Sox 2-0 in the opener of their best-of-three championship series at Fort Myers.

Nunez, who was the league's top winner with a 6-0 record in the regular season went the first six innings, being touched for only two hits along the way. Lefthander Thomas Melgarejo then came on to blank the Sox for the final three to complete the shutout.

But the Dodgers hadn't scored, either-until the top of the ninth. Then Elian Herrera led off with a double and moved to third on Francisco Lizarraga's sacrifice bunt. It was time for Mattingly, the Dodgers supplemental first-round draft choice who had led the team in RBI, and he lashed a double that sent Herrera racing home.

The East Division winners weren't done, though for Brian Mathews, who had won Tuesday's first-round playoff against the Tigers with a home run, lined a single that sent Mattingly to third. He then came home on a wild pitch for the other Dodger run. There might have been even more but Mathews was thrown out trying to steal third which wasted a subsequent Trayvon Robinson single.

The South Division champion Sox had a last gasp against Melgarejo, a 19-year-old lefthander. But just as fellow Mexican Mario Gracia had turned the Tigers away the day before, Melgarejo did it this time after a leadoff single by Michael Jones. A sacrifice moved Jones to second but a fly out and ground out choked the rally off.

Nunez, a 20-year-old Dominican, walked only two and fanned eight in his six innings while Melgarejo wound up giving up two hits and walking three in his three. Mathews and Lizarraga were the only Dodgers with two hits.

The scene now shifts to Dodgertown where Michael Gardner (4-1, 2.08), an undrafted righthander from Dallas Baptist who threw 16 scoreless innings last week, goes for the Dodgers. If a third game is necessary, it will be played back at Fort Myers, Friday.
  Score by innings
Dodgers  000 000 002-2
Red Sox  000 000 000-0

  Dodgers    ab r h bi ave
Rosario RF    4 0 0 0 .222
Herrera 2B    4 1 1 0 .125
Lizarraga SS  2 0 2 0 .500
Mattingly DH  4 1 1 1 .222
Mathews 3B    4 0 2 0 .429
Robinson LF   4 0 1 0 .111
Jansen C      4 0 0 0 .125
Ortiz 1B      3 0 0 0 .143
Poole CF      2 0 0 0 .000
Schwab PH-CF  1 0 0 0 .000
  Totals     32 2 7 1
  Red Sox    29 0 4 0

  2B: Lizarraga (1), Herrera (1), 
Mattingly (1). RBI: Mattingly (1). 
S: Lizarraga. LOB: Dodgers 5, 
Red Sox 8. SB: Lizarraga (2). 
CS: Mathews (2).

  Dodgers      in h r-er bb so era
Nunez           6.0 2 0-0 2 8 0.00
Melgarejo (1-0) 3.0 2 0-0 3 1 0.00
  T- 2:39.

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