Zunino has 5 RBI as AquaSox beat Boise 6-3

EVERETT — To win Tuesday night, all the Everett AquaSox needed were a couple of lazy fly balls.

Two flies that looked like routine outs in the bottom of the sixth inning turned into run-scoring hits, sparking the Sox to a 6-3 victory over the Boise Hawks at Everett Memorial Stadium.

Mike Zunino and Taylor Ard each hit what appeared to be inning-ending flyouts that became RBI doubles, helping the Sox turn a frustrating 2-1 deficit into a 4-2 lead. Everett maintained the lead the rest of the way.

“You take all you can get,” said Zunino, who had a big night going 3-for-4 with a home run and five RBI. “I thought I hit a ball to right field in my third at-bat (that ended up a long flyout), I was right on it.

“That’s just the how the game is, you hit some balls well right at people and some balls you don’t hit well and they fall in.”

Everett trailed 2-1 going into the bottom of the sixth, and the Sox were in danger of letting one get away, having stranded nine runners in the game’s first five innings.

It appeared it would be more of the same in the sixth.

With two on and two outs, Zunino popped up to shallow center. Second baseman Stephen Bruno was drifting into position, but he appeared to be called off by center fielder Trey Martin, who was racing in on a dead run. Martin reached out his glove, but only was able to get a piece of the ball, which dropped to the grass. Both runners, off at full speed as soon as the ball left the bat, raced around to score on what ended up as a double.

“I was running down the first-base line hoping it would fall in,” Zunino said. “But middle infielders are now making great plays on those. I was just hoping it had enough on it to get between those guys.”

Ard followed with a high fly ball to right. Right fielder Izaac Garsez first started back, then switched directions to head in. However, Garsez lost his footing in the direction change and tumbled to the turf, the ball falling just in front of him for another run-scoring double as Everett went ahead 4-2.

The unexpected runs made up for the ones the Sox left on the bases previously.

“Absolutely,” Everett manager Rob Mummau responded when asked if he was beginning to feel it would be one of those games for the Sox. “It was 2-1 there and we were leaving some guys on base, but things worked out. We were fortunate to get those hits and runs in that situation.”

Everett’s unlikely rally made a winner out of starting pitcher Rusty Shellhorn. The left-hander looked in line to be the unlucky loser despite tossing six solid innings. Instead, he improved to 2-2, allowing two runs on five hits and two walks while striking out six.

Dominic Leone picked up the save, allowing one run over the final three innings.

Ketel Marte matched Zunino with three hits for Everett (6-8 second half, 34-18 overall). The Sox finished with 16 hits.

Dan Vogelbach homered, while Garsez and Gioskar Amaya each had two hits for Boise, which dropped to 9-5, 22-30.

Boise opened the scoring in the top of the second inning when Vogelbach hit Shellhorn’s first pitch over the scoreboard in right-center for a solo homer, staking the Hawks to a 1-0 lead.

The Sox tied it in the bottom of the third. With two outs, Zunino lined an opposite-field single to right. Marte raced around from second to knot the score at 1-1.

Boise regained the lead in the fifth. With two outs, Amaya lofted a deep fly ball off the left-field wall for a triple, his 10th of the season. Garsez scored from first to make it 2-1.

After Everett took the lead in the sixth, Boise pulled back within one in the eighth, Jeimer Candelario leading off with a double and coming around to score on a pair of groundouts.

But Zunino gave the Sox insurance in the bottom of the eighth when, one pitch after crushing a ball foul over the fence, he straightened things out and belted a two-run homer to left to make it a three-run game. The homer was Zunino’s eighth in 24 games, matching teammate Patrick Kivlehan for the league lead.

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