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Cats Downed in Ninth After Pitcher’s Duel

Sacramento Pitching Yields Only Runs in Ninth
Drew Strotman delivers a pitch during Sacramento's contest at Sutter Health Park. (Ralph Thompson Photo)
September 1, 2023

WEST SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Eight innings were not enough to separate the Sacramento River Cats from the Albuquerque Isotopes in game three, with pitching from both sides dominating the majority of the contest, but it took just one swing in the top of the ninth for Albuquerque to come away

WEST SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Eight innings were not enough to separate the Sacramento River Cats from the Albuquerque Isotopes in game three, with pitching from both sides dominating the majority of the contest, but it took just one swing in the top of the ninth for Albuquerque to come away with a 2-0 victory on Thursday.

A leadoff single and a pair of walks loaded the bases for the Isotopes (57-72) to start the ballgame, but the River Cats (56-72) danced out of danger as starter Parker Dunshee punched out Jonathan Morales to end the frame. It took until the third for Sacramento to produce its first hit, which came in the form of a double from Heliot Ramos, but with two outs they were unable to capitalize.

During the fifth the Isotopes threatened to score again, using consecutive inning-opening hits of hits from Coco Montes and Sean Bouchard to put a pair on. This time, it was Drew Strotman escaping the jam as he was able to induce a groundout and a flyout before striking out Jimmy Herron to close the inning.

In the sixth it was Sacramento that nearly broke the scoreless tie, as a pair of walks to David Villar and Armando Alvarez set the stage for a Jakson Reetz knock into left. However, Villar was caught rounding third base just a bit too wide and was hung up trying to retreat to the bag which brought an end to the rally.

Each team had one more hit before the ninth inning, which included a Montes double in the top of the seventh, but both teams left their runners stranded.

That took the contest into the ninth where a Wynton Bernard single into shallow right was moved into scoring position on a sacrifice bunt by Cole Tucker. The sacrifice hardly mattered, as in the subsequent at-bat Montes connected with a 1-0 pitch and sent the ball over the right-field fence for a homer and the only runs of the contest.

Looking to send the game into extra innings, the River Cats put two runners aboard with a walk to Reetz before a Luis Matos two-out single. Stepping to the plate was Heliot Ramos, who had homered in each of his previous two games coming into tonight but could not play the hero as he grounded out to close the game.

There was only the one mistake made by Sacramento pitching which spoiled an otherwise strong effort in a bullpen game, as Dunshee allowed only one hit with two walks while fanning a pair. Doing most of the heavy lifting was Drew Strotman as he logged 4.0 innings and scattered two hits while punching out five before handing the baton to Darien Nunez, who faced one over the minimum in the seventh with a strikeout.

Tagged with the loss was Juan Sanchez (0-2), who had worked a scoreless eighth but surrendered the two runs on two hits in 2.0 innings. Capturing the win for Albuquerque was Nick Kennedy (2-0) after he went 2.0 frames with only one hit allowed, while Matt Carasiti collected his first save by hurling the ninth.

Reetz generated two of the five Sacramento hits in the game, finishing his night 2-for-3 while Ramos was 1-for-5 with a double. Posting the other two knocks were the duo of Matos and Johan Camargo who were each 1-for-4.

Both teams take the field for game four on Friday, with first pitch scheduled for 6:45 at Sutter Health Park.