There's something about the Medicine Hat Mavericks this year that has helped get the Moose Jaw Miller Express back on track.
Last weekend, coming off a 1-3 road trip to Alberta, the Millers swept their two-game series with the Mavericks at Ross Wells Park to get back on track. Now this week, after losing back-to-back games to start the week, Moose Jaw went into Athletic Park on Thursday night and picked up a 9-5 win over Medicine Hat.
“They're a tough team and we've really ground it out and found a way to do it,” said head coach Michael Hunt after his team ended their two-game losing skid against the Mavericks.
Moose Jaw has yet to lose three games in a row so far this season and they made sure it stayed that way by starting strong against the Mavericks on Thursday. The Millers scored three runs in the first inning and led 5-2 by the end of the fourth to control the game.
A four-run sixth inning sealed up the victory for the Millers as they saw their record improve to 16-13 on the year.
“We just did what we've done the last couple of games, but this time we just found some holes,” said Hunt.
For the fourth time in his last five starts, the Millers got a quality start out of Brandon Acosta, who went seven innings, giving up just three earned runs on nine hits. He struck out only, but didn't give any Medicine Hat batters a free pass to improve to 4-1 on the year.
“He brings the effort that we're going to get a solid seven,” said Hunt on the confidence that the team has when Acosta is on the mound this season. “He's going to limit base runners and we just know that we've got to score a couple to get a chance.”
Acosta did allow a couple of unearned runs as a couple more errors cost the Millers, but weren't their undoing like during Tuesday night's 15-2 loss to Swift Current.
“It's still not where we want it to be,” said Hunt on the team's struggle with errors. “We are who we are, we're going to make a couple of errors and we've just got to try and minimize the effect of those errors when they happen.”
Rusty Edwards followed up Acosta with a perfect eighth inning and Jason Renner closed out the game, allowing two hits, but stranding both runners in the ninth inning.
The offence really came to life for Moose Jaw in the game as they finished the night with 15 hits as all but two starters picked up multiple hits. Austin Russell continued to lead the charge as he finished 3-for-4 with three runs scored and two RBI.
Derek Cornell added two hits and two runs scored out of the lead-off spot for the Millers. Frank Pluskota went 2-for-4 with three RBI in the win.
The Millers will be looking for more of the same when they hit the field on Friday night in Medicine Hat aiming for the season series sweep against the Mavericks. Moose Jaw will send Terry McNabb to the mound as he looks to improve on his 6-1 record to the year. First pitch is at 7:05pm from Athletic Park.
Moose Jaw will return to Saskatchewan on the weekend and head up to Saskatoon for games on Saturday and Sunday against the Yellow Jackets.