The offence continues to roll for the Moose Jaw Miller Express.
The Millers scored in the double digits for the third straight game as they knocked off the Melville Millionaires, 11-4, on Wednesday night at Pirie Field.
After a tough first three weeks of the Western Major Baseball League season, the Millers have turned a corner over the past week, winning four straight games to improve to 8-17 and move out of the basement of the Eastern Division.
“We keep preaching just grind it out, stay with the process and things are going to work out,” said head coach Michael Hunt. “Now we’re getting all three things working, we’re getting some quality pitching, we’re getting some quality defence and we’re getting, especially, some quality offence.”
The Millers swatted 17 hits during the win with 13 of them coming from their 5-8 hitters in the line-up. First baseman Travis Ouellet led the way, going 4-for-6 to push his average over .300 on the year. He scored two runs and picked up one RBI.
Catcher Jeremy Stidham got the offence rolling in the second inning with an RBI-single that opened the scoring. He added a two-run home run in the fourth inning and finished the game 3-for-4 with three runs scored, three RBIs, a walk and a stolen base.
Left fielder Lance VanNoy and designated hitter Chris Suarez also finished the day with multiple hits, going 3-for-5 on the night. Third baseman Lane Harvey drove in two runs without getting a hit, finishing 0-for-3 with two walks.
Leading 4-1 heading into the fifth inning, the Millers put the game out of reach for the Millionaires with a four-run fifth that included three straight one-out hits as well as RBI singles from Ouellet and second baseman Dylan Blaha.
“We’re starting to take advantage of when teams make mistakes,” said Hunt. “Before we would squeak a run out, but now we’re taking advantage and that’s definitely a big step.”
After Melville cut into Moose Jaw’s lead with two in the sixth, the Millers put up a run each in the seventh, eighth and ninth to secure the win.
Starting pitcher Jesse Marks went five strong innings for the Millers, giving up one unearned run on four hits with two strikeouts and two walks.
Marks gave way to the bullpen after five with Ragan Cole allowing three runs on seven hits over two innings and then Mark Baughman finishing the game with two scoreless innings and four strikeouts.
“It was actually good because it allowed us to get to some of our bullpen guys that haven’t been pitching a whole lot because we’ve been having our starters go 6-7 innings,” said Hunt. “We were able to get some of those guys in there and work on some of the things that they’ve been working on, so it was a good day all around.”
The Millers got to the Millionaires’ pitching, working counts for nine walks over the game to go with the 17 hits. They chased starting pitcher Michael Harrison after 4 1/3 innings, he allowed seven runs on 11 hits.
Melville ended up using seven pitchers in the nine inning loss.
Moose Jaw will get Thursday off before they return to the field on Canada Day in Yorkton. Their next home action is on the weekend when they host Swift Current on Saturday and welcome in Yorkton on Sunday.