Oxspring Stellar; BayBears Walk To Victory

Chris Oxspring is figuring things out, and Josh Barfield is heating things up; Double-A Mobile scores eight runs in the eighth with only three hits; Steve Baker can simply not be stopped in Lake Elsinore; and Mike Ekstrom finally loses, but doesn't deserve to.

Portland Won 7-1

Righty Chris Oxspring has had his share of troubles this season, allowing five earned runs or more in four different starts this season, but Friday there was no sign of trouble, virtually all night.  Oxspring went seven innings and gave up only one earned run, striking out seven without walking a single hitter on the evening. 

Shortstop Jesse Garcia followed up a two hit night Thursday with a three hit night Friday, going 3-4 with a double, triple, and four RBI.  It was the first time Garcia, who spent a month with the Padres, collected three hits or more than one RBI with Portland this year.  The four RBI doubled Garcia's season total, and the three hits raised his average to .188 on the year.

Josh Barfield is the first to admit that his batting average isn't where he'd like it to be, but in the last week he's taken steps to remedy that.  Barfield went 4-5 on Friday, scoring three runs, and has now hit in six of his last seven games.

First baseman Jon Knott continued his hitting streak with a 2-4 performance that included a double, an RBI, and for the seventh straight game, Knott scored a run.  Knott, who hit only .208 in April, has turned it on in May, hitting .313, and 17 of his 30 hits this month have gone for extra bases.

Mobile won 11-4

Travis Chick still isn't going deep into games, but when he's on the mound he's been very effective.  Friday Chick went five innings and pitched around four walks to only give up one run, on a solo homer.  In his last two starts Chick has given up a combined one run on nine hits in 11 innings, but has two No Decisions to show for it.

The BayBears broke the game open in the eighth inning, proving patience to be a virtue in a variety of ways.  All eight of the runs were scored with two outs, and while 10 straight reached base, only four had hits.  The BayBears drew five walks, including one to reliever Rusty Tucker, Corey Smith was hit by a pitch, Nick Trzesniak picked up three RBI with a bases clearing double, and Dustin Delucchi, coming to the plate for the second time in the inning, also had a bases loaded double that garnered three RBI.

After pitching a perfect eighth inning Rusty Tucker struggled in the ninth, facing four batters in the frame, allowing all four to reach base, and three to score. 

Lake Elsinore lost 5-4 in 11 innings

Dirk Hayhurst made his first start after 17 appearances out of the bullpen this season and kept the Storm in the game with five innings four run ball, but a Brett Bonvechio throwing error in the bottom of the eleventh would open the door to a Storm loss.

The Storm were held without an extra base hit for the entire game, playing small ball to fight back with three eighth inning runs to tie the score, but other than a brief 1-0 lead that would last less than half an inning, they were never able to get on top.

Right fielder Steve Baker is flat out on fire.  He was 3-4 with two runs scored and a RBI on Friday.  Baker has had multiple hits in eight of his last 12 games and is hitting .360 on the season.

DH Jordan Pickens was the only other Storm player with more than one hit, and he needed them.  His 2-4 day broke an 0-16 slump.

Fort Wayne lost 2-1

Mike Ekstrom finally lost, and we knew he would, but he certainly didn't deserve to Friday.  It's a testament to his season that six innings, giving up six hits and two earned runs is just about as bad an outing as Ekstrom has had on the year. 

The problem was that Dallas Trahern was flat out incredible.  Only four Wizards managed hits against Trahern, and only two of those went for extra bases.

The lone RBI went to right fielder Tom Vincent, who was 1-4 on the day.  Colt Morton had the toughest day for the Wizards, going 0-3 while grounding into two double plays and striking out once.

Peter Ciofrone was Friday's DH for the Wizards, and he extended his hitting streak to 11 games with a 2-4 day, he also scored the lone Wizard's run.  It's been a startling turnaround for Ciofrone, who hit just .167 in April with three RBI and no extra base hits, but is cruising in May, hitting at a .333 clip with nine extra base knocks and 15 driven in.

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