Weekend Ends On A High Note
Everything went the Moose Jaw Miller Express' way on Sunday afternoon in Edmonton.
The Millers collected 19 hits, scored 14 runs and turned a triple play in their 14-7 win over the Prospects to wrap up their four-game Alberta road swing.
Moose Jaw started the trek with two losses in Lethbridge, but rebounded on the weekend to claim two wins over the Prospects – also knocking them off 7-3 on Saturday – to come away with a split of the four games.
“We made a lot of subtle adjustments, we had a lot of keen at-bats, we got some good defence when we needed it and we stuck through and stayed the course when things didn't necessarily go as planned,” said head coach Michael Hunt after Sunday's win.
The Millers took their season series with Edmonton 3-1 thanks to the win and also moved into a tie for third place in the Saskatchewan Division with Regina at 14-20, just 1.5 games back of Yorkton for second.
Hunt applauded how the team was able to bounce back after two rough outings in Lethbridge to put together two solid games in Edmonton right away.
“I told them to just stay with the same things that are working,” said Hunt. “They had a little bit of a players-only meeting and those guys talked about the same things. Don't try being on your own program or being different than anyone else because the things that are working are working right now and they're working for a reason.”
During their two games in Lethbridge, Moose Jaw were able to collect a lot of hits, but couldn't turn those into runs. They changed that on Saturday and Sunday in Edmonton, despite only getting two extra base hits out of 19 hits during Sunday's win.
“The difference was that we got a lot more lateral movement out of the outfielders because we weren't hitting it straight at them,” said Hunt. “That way we could advance a lot more runners and score a lot more guys rather than just going station-to-station.”
Moose Jaw took a 5-0 lead in the second inning on Sunday and then extended that to 6-0 in the top of the third, but Edmonton responded with four runs in the bottom of the frame to make it a tight game.
The key play for the Millers came in the fifth. With Moose Jaw still leading by two, Edmonton loaded the bases with no outs, but pitcher J.J. Santa Cruz got Logan Wedgewood to hit a hard liner right back at him, which he snagged for one out.
He threw over to third to catch Tanner Kirwer leaning and then Chris Suarez relayed the throw to second where Miles Orscheln completed the third play to end the inning.
Moose Jaw rolled after that, scoring three in the seventh to go up 9-5 and then added two more in the eighth and three in the ninth to double up the Prospects.
Santa Cruz went seven innings to improve to 2-2 on the year. He gave up five runs on 11 hits to lower his ERA to 3.92. He added three strike outs and three walks in the win.
Derek Cornell had a strong game out of the leadoff spot, going 3-for-5 with five RBI and one run scored. He had one of Moose Jaw's two extra base hits, a three-run double in the seventh inning.
Suarez went 4-for-5 with three RBI and three runs scored in the win, while Ryan Thrasher, Jeremy Stidham and Jayse McLean also scored two runs each for Moose Jaw.
After playing six games in six days, the Millers returned home on Sunday night and will get a much needed day off before finishing off their eight-game road trip with three games in two nights.
“It's definitely needed, as well as deserved,” said Hunt on the rest.
Moose Jaw returns to the field on Tuesday night in Regina.