Gibbons' Big Game Boosts Albuquerque

Jay Gibbons knocked in five runs, including the winning run in the last of the 10th, as Albuquerque topped New Orleans 7-6. Chattanooga was crushed 15-2. Two of the Dodgers brightest pitching prospects, Scott Elbert ('Topes) and Chris Withrow (Lookouts), had sub-par outings. Inland Empire topped High Desert and Great Lakes edged South bend by identical 2-1 scores.

'Topes Win on Ninth-Inning Rally

Albuquerque fought back from a 5-2 deficit, scoring four in the seven and the winning run in the ninth inning on a single by outfielder Jay Gibbons to top New Orleans 7-6.

Starter Scott Elbert was banged around four five hits, including a home run, and five runs over five innings, leaving the game trailing by three.

Travis Schlichting worked three scoreless innings in relief, Tim Corcoran added a scoreless eighth and John Link earned the win after blowing a save by giving up a run in the ninth.

Second baseman Nick Green homered in the first to jump-start the Isotopes and after New Orleans tied in the third on a home run, Green opened with a double and scored on Gibbon's double.

Elbert surrendered a run in the fourth and three in the fifth and the 'Topes trailed 5-2 into the seventh.

Pinch-hitter Michael Restovich and shortstop Chin-Lung Hu singled and with one out, Xavier Paul drove in Hu with a single. Gibbons then smashed his first homer of the season, a three-run shot.

Link allowed a pair of doubles in the ninth to tie the game 6-6 but in the bottom of the inning, Hu singled and Paul walked. With two out, Gibbons picked up his fifth RBI with a game-winning single.

Gibbons finished with four hits, Hu had three and scored twice.

Lookouts Blasted 15-2

Chris Withrow and two relievers were battered by Tennessee and Chattanooga lost the first of five games against the Smokies by a 15-2 margin. Four errors compounded the Lookouts problems.

Withrow couldn't get out of the third inning, allowing seven hits, six runs, five of them earned. Tim Sexton didn't fare as well, allowing eight hits and eight runs, six earned, before Jesus Rodriguez pitched the final two innings, allowing the final run.

Chattanooga managed only four hits, singled by second baseman Elian Herrera, Andrew Lambo and Lucas May and a triple by Trayvon Robinson. Robinson and May had the Lookouts RBI.

66ers Tie in Ninth; Win 2-1 in 10th

Inland Empire received excellent pitching and clutch hitting in dropping High Desert 2-1 in 10 innings. Third baseman Pedro Baez's RBI singled tied the game in the ninth and Johan Garcia scored the winning run on a wild pitch.

Andrew Miller earned his initial win on his second start of the season, allowing four hits and a single run over six innings. After fanning 10 in his first start, he had only two in this game but lowered his ERA to 2.45.

Miller surrendered his only run in the sixth inning on a squeeze bunt that scored a runner from third.

First baseman Austin Gallagher had the only 66ers hit over the first four innings, a single with two out in the second. Baez singled in the fifth and outfielder Alfredo Silverio singled in the sixth.

Robert Boothe took over in the seventh after Miller opened the inning with a walk. He didn't allow a hit over his two innings of work. Paul Koss (1-0) allow only a harmless single in the ninth and earned the victory.

Outfielder Nick Buss singled in the eighth for Inland Empire but was left stranded. Outfielder Kyle Russell grounded a single to center field with one out in the last of the ninth, moved to second on Steve Caseres's ground ball and scored on Baez's sharp single to center to tie the game.

In the last of the 10th, shortstop Johan Garcia doubled and third baseman Cesar Suarez lived on an error with one out. With Silverio at the plate, a wild pitch allowed Garcia to cross the plate with the winning run.

Baez singled and doubled for the 66ers.

Loons Top Silver Hawks Again

Chris Mundhenk
Great Lakes Loons

After starting the season with a sweep against South Bend and then dropping three to Lansing, the Loons got back their winning ways, defeating the Hawks 2-1.

"It's always nice to get a win at home, especially for the fans out there," Loons closer Steve Smith said. "We've been struggling and had three opportunities to get a win [earlier in the homestand] ... but it's really nice for the fans out there to finally see us get a win at home."

With the Loons up 2-1, the final innings brought out a bit of strategy and one clutch performance by Smith.

In the middle of the eighth, Manager Juan Bustabad brought in lefty Jordan Roberts out of the bullpen with one purpose in mind: to have him retire left-handed Silver Hawk Bobby Stone. Without much trouble, Roberts struck out Stone, and then it was Smith's turn to close out the final 1.1 innings.

In the ninth, Lansing left fielder Victor Estevez hit a double to lead-off the inning and Smith walked Ender Inciarte to put two runners on with no outs.

"It was a tough one there and I made it a little interesting," Smith admitted after the game. "But I had all the confidence in the world to get out of it."

Smith retired the next two batters and then hit second baseman David Nick with a pitch to load the bases. Clean-up batter Bobby Borchering, who was 1-for-4 leading up to his final at-bat, fisted a pop-up to Loons third baseman Brian Ruggiano, who ran in to make the catch for the game's final out.

The Loons earned their first win at Dow Diamond and Smith earned his first save of the year.

"That's what you want out of a closer," teammate Blake Smith said. "You want confidence in him, that he's going to come in and throw strikes and get guys out, and I think everybody knows he's going to do that when he comes out."

South Bend scored in the game's first inning on Borchering's RBI-double to the left field corner, but never scored again, having only two hits on 13 chances with runners in scoring position.

The Loons tied the game in the bottom of the first when Brian Cavazos-Galvez doubled in Christian Lara. The team took the lead in the sixth with Jerry Sands' groundball that got behind second baseman David Nick and allowed Brian Cavazos-Galvez to score from second.

The run in the first inning was the only one allowed by Loons starter Brett Wallach, who had six strikeouts over five innings. Justin Miller (1-0) pitched 2.1 scoreless innings to earn his first win of the season, twirling three strikeouts along the way.

The Loons snapped a three-game losing streak and drop the South Bend Silver Hawks to 0-7 on the year. The teams meet again tonight at Dow Diamond, with Matt Magill (0-0, 0.00) on the bump for Great Lakes and Eric Smith (0-1, 3.60) pitching for South Bend.

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