Salem-Keizer rallies to beat AquaSox 9-5

EVERETT — Michael Mergenthaler hit three doubles and the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes scored eight runs in the final three innings and beat the Everett AquaSox 9-5 on Sunday in a Northwest League game.

Volcanoes catcher Dashenko Ricardo knocked in three runs, including a two-run homer off Everett starter Dylan Unsworth that tied the game at 3-3 in seventh inning. Mergenthaler was 4-for-5 with four RBI.

and Mike Zunino hit a two-run home run and had three RBI to lead the Sox offense. Jamodrick McGruder, Brock Hebert and Taylor Ard each had two hits for Everett (5-7). Ard extended his hitting streak to 11 games.

After trailing most of the game, the Volcanoes (5-7) took the lead for good in the eighth, scoring three times against Everett relief pitcher Brandon Plotz (1-1). Plotz, who had gone six straight appearances without allowing a run, surrendered a go-ahead solo home run to right fielder Mac Williamson.

Salem-Keizer added two more runs on Mergenthaler’s RBI double and Ricardo’s run-scoring single to make the score 6-3.

Everett had a chance to get back in the game in the bottom of the eighth when it loaded the bases with no outs. Reliever Matthew Graham (2-0) walked Ard and Patrick Kivlehan to lead off the inning.

Armando Paniagua relieved Graham and promptly gave up a single to Alfredo Morales. After Janelfry Zorrilla struck out, pinch hitter Marcus Littlewood singled off the glove of second baseman Ryan Jones. Ard scored, but Jones recovered the ball and threw out Kivlehan at home.

That play proved critical as Mike Faulkner singled to right to drive in Morales and cut the deficit to one run. Paniagua kept the potential tying run on third base by retiring McGruder on a fly ball to right to end the inning.

Mergenthaler put the game out of reach with a bases-loaded clearing double in the ninth off Matthew Vedo to drive in the final three runs.

Prior to the late-inning offensive explosion, the Volcanoes scored just one run, a first-inning RBI single by Joseph Rapp, through the first six innings against Unsworth. The South African right-hander allowed nine hits and three runs over seven innings.

Chris Johnson, a 2009 Meadowdale High School graduate, made the start for Salem-Keizer. Making his third start in 11 appearances, Johnson matched his longest outing of the year, throwing five innings and yielding three runs on six hits.

All three runs Everett scored off Johnson came courtesy of Zunino. With Hebert aboard, the Sox catcher took Johnson deep to center in the first for his seventh home run of the season, which tied him for second in the NWL in homers.

In the third, McGruder led off with a stand-up triple down the right field line and scored on Zunino’s RBI groundout to give the Sox a 3-1 lead which lasted until the seventh.


AquaSox catcher David Villasuso was assigned to Class-A Clinton LumberKings on Saturday. Villasuso appeared in 19 games and hit .179 with two home runs and nine RBI for Everett. …Sunday’s loss finished a three-game series against Salem-Keizer and was the first home series Everett has lost all season.

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