The Gateway Grizzlies don’t need help offensively but were more than willing to take advantage of Rockford’s inability to throw strikes Friday night at GCS Ballpark.
Seven Gateway batters were issued free passes as the Grizzlies cruised to an 8-2 victory over the Rockford Riverhawks. Gateway has won six of its past seven games to improve to 8-5 on the season.
“Execution obviously. Rather that’s a cliche or not you have to execute to win,” said Gateway’s manager Phil Warren. ” I look at it as a whole. We play great defense, the pitchers have done well, from the starters to the pen, and we have had some big hits, some big innings. When you combine all that you are going to have a good chance to win.”
Brandon Peters, who was hit by a pitch, scored Gateway’s first run as Ryan Khoury drew a two-out, bases-loaded walk. Jeremy Creswell’s single brought in a pair of runs, and Logan Parker capped off the six-run inning with a three-run homer.
“Most the time when we lose we are giving up walks and it will burn you,” Warren said. “Our guys were patient, took their walks and came up with some big hits.”
Parker homered for the second straight game to bring his season total to three.
Khoury belted his first homer of the season with a solo shot to start the fourth and added a run-scoring single in the seventh. Khoury finished a perfect 3 for 3 at the dish, drove in three runs, scored twice and walked twice.
Gateway’s .282 team batting average trailed only Florence’s .291 league-leading mark entering the game. The Grizzlies’ 78 runs scored are second best in the league.
The Grizzlies have scored seven runs or more in five of their eight wins.
Gateway’s starter Adrian Garza turned in his best outing of the year. Garza worked 5 2/3 innings, his longest of the season, and allowed just two runs on three hits while walking just one.
Garza gave up 10 earned runs combined in his first two starts.
Garza gave up a solo homer to Jeremy Hamilton, and Luis Parache’s sacrifice fly was the only other run Rockford (7-6) produced against Garza.
Chris Enourato took over for Garza and worked two scoreless innings, and Nick Walters induced an inning-ending double play for a scoreless eighth.
“As long as the situation calls for it we just come out and attack the zone and let them get themselves out,” said Gateway’s closer Jake Shafer, who finished the came for the Grizzlies. “They haven’t seen us or our stuff and if we don’t attack the zone to make them swing then there’s little chance for success. I’m really excited about our bullpen and honored to be the guy at the back end of it.”
Gateway’s bullpen has posted a 2.92 ERA in 35 innings worked.
The Grizzlies continue their series against Rockford Saturday with first pitch slated for 7:05 p.m.
Rockford 000 110 000 — 2 4 0
Gateway 060 100 10x — 8 11 0
Brian Parker, Todd McGee (4), Tyler Hyde (7), Lance Brown (8) and Carlos Dominguez, Reno Malay (5). Adrian Garza, Chris Enourato (6), Nick Walters (8), Jake Shafer (9) and Charlie Lisk. WP-Garza (2-1). LP-Parker (0-3). HR: Rock.-Jeremy Hamilton, 4th, none on. Gate.-Logan Parker, 2nd, two on; Ryan Khoury, 4th, none on. Umpires: Plate-Dave Logan; Field-Philip Henry. Att.-3,927. Time-3:01