The first hit of Ricky Oropesa’s Sacramento River Cats career and a top-notch outing from Ty Blach helped the Cats edge the Albuquerque Isotopes on Saturday night.
An announced attendance of 9,709 were on hand at Raley Field in West Sacramento, Calif. And all in attendance were able to see some early history for a couple Cats.
With Sacramento holding a 3-2 lead Oropesa singled a shot into right field that would send in Travis Ishikawa and Myles Schroder, who walked and was hit by a pitch, respectively.
Now with the 5-2 lead, Blach took the mound in the top of the seventh and looked to finish his night off strong. Blach sat down the side in the seventh inning, earning his eighth, ninth and 10th strikeouts in the process.
In addition to his strikeouts, Blach (8-5) went seven innings and allowed six hits. 72 of his 101 pitches on the night were good for strikes.
Blach, who pitched a complete game shutout in his prior start, began the game with two quick outs before allowing a double to Stephen Cardullo and a single to Ben Paulsen, which gave the Isotopes an early 1-0 advantage.
The River Cats (35-48) answered in the bottom half of the first as Gorkys Hernandez, who finished 2 for 4, led off the game with a double and Ali Castillo followed with a single of his own. With first and third for the Cats, Ryan Lollis stepped the plate and hit a groundball to the right side which bounced past Isotopes second baseman Jeff Bianchi. The error gave the Cats their first run of the night. Castillo would make it to third base on the play and would score on a double play ball by catcher Miguel Olivo.
With a 2-1 lead, Blach pitched a scoreless second inning while garnering two Ks.
In the third inning, however, Albuquerque (32-50) would look to tie the game after Rafael Ynoa singled and Mike Tauchman doubled to give the Isotopes second and third with one out. Stephen Cardullo hit a shot to first baseman Oropesa and tied the game with a sacrifice out.
In the bottom half, the Cats once again tried to avenge their blown lead. Blach led off the inning with an opposite field single before being thrown out at second after Hernandez hit a ground ball to Bianchi who threw to shortstop Ynoa for the force at second.
From there, Hernandez stole second and was hit in when the flaming-hot bat of Castillo singled him in. It marked Castillo’s sixth hit in eight at-bats since getting called up to Sacramento.
From the top of the fourth inning until when Blach was pulled, no Isotopes player would reach second base.
Jean Machi pitched a one-two-three eighth inning for the River Cats and in the ninth inning Machi would get the first two outs before walking Isotopes catcher Dustin Garneau.
Lefty Steven Okert replaced Machi to face the left-handed hitting Jordan Patterson and got him to fly out to center fielder Hernandez to earn his second save of the year and close out the game.
The Cats will look to win the four-game series tomorrow night against at Raley Field. Scheduled starters for the 7:05 p.m. start is Vin Mazzaro for the River Cats and Harrison Musgrave for the Isotopes.