BOISE — Everett AquaSox first baseman Taylor Ard went 4-for-5 with a solo home run to help the Sox snap a five-game losing streak against the Boise Hawks with a 4-3 win Thursday night.
A day after being named to the Northwest League All-Star team at both first base and designated hitter, Ard recorded hits in his first four at-bats, including an opposite-field HR off James Pugliese in the fifth inning. Ard has hit safely in 32 of his past 35 games.
Fellow All-Star and league MVP Patrick Kivlehan also homered and drove in two runs. Kivlehan and Ard are now tied for the league lead in home runs with 12.
The Frogs not only utilized the long ball, but also employed an effective running game. Everett (17-19, 45-29) stole six bases, with Jamodrick McGruder accounting for three. McGruder raised his total to 28, tops in the NWL this season.
As in the previous two games against Boise (23-13, 36-38), the Sox scored a single run in the first to take an early lead. McGruder led off the game with a single off Hawks starter Justin Amlung (0-1), stole second and scored on Kivlehan’s fielder’s choice.
Speed created another run for Everett in the fourth when Brock Hebert stole second after drawing a walk. McGruder singled to right to bring home Hebert and give the Sox a 2-0 lead.
Having already clinched a postseason berth with the first-half West title, the Sox are preparing their staff for the playoffs.
Starting pitcher Victor Sanchez had an abbreviated outing, throwing three scoreless innings. Sanchez likely will start one of the first two playoff games.
Grady Wood (4-0) earned the win in relief of Sanchez with three innings of one-run ball. Albert Almora hit a RBI double off Wood in the sixth to score Stephen Bruno. Bruno finished 2-for-4 to extend his hitting streak to 20 games.
Kivlehan provided the final Sox tally with solo HR to left off Tyler Bremer in the ninth. That run proved crucial as Boise’s Rock Shoulders hit a pinch-hit, two-run home run in bottom of the ninth off David Holman to cut Everett’s lead to 4-3.
Despite allowing two runs, Holman pitched the final three innings to pick up the save. Holman is the son of former Mariners pitcher Brian Holman.