Miller Express second baseman Blake Gallagher fields the ball as Swift Current's Zach Howard slides in safe at second. (Photo: Marc Smith)
The Moose Jaw Miller Express didn't get the ending that they were hoping for on Thursday night.
The Swift Current 57s scored three runs in the 12th inning to top the Millers 6-3 at Ross Wells Park.
"We probably struck out a bit too much and that cost us, but I love this team and the way we battled," said Millers head coach Rich Sorensen. "We battled all game, it was a great game."
Moose Jaw’s hitters continue to struggle with Swift Current’s pitching, as the Millers struck out 17 times in the loss. That comes after Moose Jaw finished with 14 strikeouts in a 2-0 loss to the 57s on Tuesday.
The Millers have the third most strikeouts this season with 214.
"We got some key hits in key situations, but when you're striking out that many times you're not putting pressure on the defence," said Sorensen. "Striking out 17 times tonight makes it easy for the defence, we're not putting any pressure on them and that was the difference, yesterday we put the ball in play, today we didn’t put the ball in play enough."
Swift Current put two quick runs on the board, scoring once in the first and once in the second to jump out to a 2-0 lead.
The Millers finally responded in the fourth when Blake Gallagher and Michael Borst led off the inning with back-to-back singles and then both scored on a bases-loaded double by Tucker Zdunich.
The stayed tied until the seventh when Swift Current loaded up the bases on Moose Jaw product Reece Helland. It looked like he might get a key double-play when Tanner Holen's hit dropped right in front of the plate, catcher Markus Melendez looked as though he stepped on home plate and then threw out the runner at first, however, the home plate umpire called the runner safe at home.
Millers pitcher Matt Jackson was thrown out in between innings and Melendez was sent to the showers in the bottom of the eighth for arguing with the umpire over the call.
Moose Jaw was able to use that fire and respond in the eighth as Borst smacked a two-out double and Darrell Doll followed that up with a double of his own to tie the game at 3-3.
Swift Current stranded a runner on base in the ninth and Moose Jaw left one on in the 11th.
The 57s struck in the 12th inning for three runs, led by an RBI-double by Holen and a run-scoring single by Zach Howard.
Moose Jaw couldn't find a response in the bottom half, despite a lead-off single by Dougie DelaCruz.
Borst was 3-for-5 with two runs scored in the loss for the Millers, while Blake Gallagher was tagged with the loss on the mound after allowing three runs on three hits with one strikeout in the 12th.
Gallagher had spent the first 11 innings at second base.
"That's where we're at and the difference between our team and a few others is that we’re limited in our pitching situation," said Sorensen. "That's a spot for Blake to come in and do, but he did a good job just unfortunately left a few pitches up."
Michael Ross started for Moose Jaw, allowing two runs on six hits and two walks while striking out six over six innings.
Helland was tagged for one run on two hits with two strikeouts in the seventh, while Jaden Hofmann and Jack Gamba pitched two scoreless innings each. Hofmann struck out three and Gamba sat down five.
Swift Current starter Tyler Murphy took a no-decision despite striking out nine with no walks over six innings. He allowed two runs on five hits.
The Millers sit at 11-11 this season. They're back on the field against the Yorkton Cardinals on Friday night at Ross Wells. First pitch is at 7:05 p.m.