AquaSox win sixth straight

KEIZER, Ore. — Everett first baseman Taylor Ard doubled home Jamodrick McGruder with the go-ahead run in the top of the 11th and the Aquasox went on to complete a three-game sweep of the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes with a 4-2 Northwest League win Saturday night.

The Sox (13-3) have now won six straight and 10 of their past 11 games.

After McGruder led off the inning with a walk, Ard drove the first pitch he saw from Volcanoes reliever Ian Gardeck (1-1) into the right-center gap to snap a personal 0-for-13 stretch. Third baseman Patrick Kivlehan drove in Ard with a single to right to provide the final tally.

The Sox bullpen was effective with Brandon Plotz and Dominic Leone (2-0) each pitching three innings of scoreless relief.

McGruder led the Frogs’ offense, going 2-for-4 and scoring twice.

Ryan Jones had three hits for Salem-Keizer (6-10).

Everett starting pitcher Jose Valdivia bounced back with a solid performance after struggling in his previous outing against Spokane. The Nicaraguan right-hander threw five innings and struck out four, only allowing two unearned runs. He also hit three batters.

After Volcanoes starter Joe Biagini fanned four Sox hitters in the first two innings, Everett broke through for the first run of the game in the third. Center fielder Michael Faulkner walked, stole second and advanced to third on a groundout. Shortstop Chris Taylor beat out a slow roller to his counterpart, Matthew Duffy, to drive home Faulkner. With the hit, Taylor has reached base in all 16 games this season.

Salem-Keizer took the lead in the fifth, capitalizing on an error by Taylor to score two unearned runs. After Ryan Jones led off with a double, Sam Eberle hit a grounder to Taylor, whose throw to first went over the head of Taylor Ard and into the Volcanoes’ dugout. Ryan Jones scored on the play and Eberle advanced to second. Eberle would come home on Charles Jones’ two-out single to give the Volcanoes a 2-1 lead.

But the Frogs responded with a run in the sixth to tie the game at 2-2. McGruder led off with a double down the right-field line and scored on the second Volcanoes’ error in the inning. Everett had a chance to take the lead, but Salem-Keizer reliever Chris Johnson, a 2009 Meadowdale High graduate, got David Villasuso to bounce out to third base with runners on first and third to end the threat. Johnson pitched 22/3 scoreless innings, allowing no hits and fanning two.

Both teams had a chance to win the game in the ninth. Alfredo Morales led off with a single and moved to second on a wild pitch, but advanced no farther after Gardeck came back to strike out the side. Salem-Keizer had runners on first and second with one out, but Leone induced Volcanoes leadoff hitter Brennan Metzger to ground into a 6-4-3 double play.

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