Generals hit two homers in win over Copperheads
BY CLAY WHITTINGTON - CWHITTINGTON@VICAD.COM
July 12, 2011 at 2:12 a.m.
Updated July 13, 2011 at 2:13 a.m.
One night after Major League Baseball held its annual home run derby, the Victoria Generals put on long ball extravaganza of their own.
A pair of Generals sent pitches over Riverside Stadium's left-field wall Tuesday evening as Victoria avenged a home loss to Coppell one night earlier with a 7-4 win to split the home series.
Trent Wagner and Ryan Dalton each hit home runs to account for two of Victoria's eight hits and prevent the Copperheads from sweeping the two-game series, while giving the Generals their fourth win in five outings.
After the game, Wagner admitted he knew the first-inning pitch was leaving the park.
"It looked good from the second it left his hand," the center fielder said. "It looked like a beach ball to me."
The home run gave Victoria a 4-0 lead, but Coppell would pull within a run to 4-3 before Dalton delivered his home run.
"I was figuring he would (throw) a fastball," Dalton said. "He just left it up there for me, and I was able to put a pretty good swing on it."
The Generals exploded for four runs in the bottom of the first inning behind a pair of two-RBI shots from Michael McGraw and Wagner.
With the first two Victoria batters advancing to second and third, McGraw drove both runners home with a double. In the following at bat, Wagner cleared the bases with his two-run home run.
The 4-0 lead held until the top of the third inning, when the Copperheads scored a pair of runs to cut the Generals' advantage in half.
One inning later, with the bases loaded and two outs, a wild pitch by Victoria starter Tyler Smith led to another run for Coppell, making the score 4-3. During the melee to recover the ball, however, the Generals were able to catch Copperheads' second baseman Cody Dyvig attempting to advance to third and ended the inning with minimal damage.
In the top of the fifth, the Copperheads threatened to claim control as they loaded the bases with two outs, but Victoria responded by throwing out Sam Friend at first base to avoid being overtaken.
It did not take long for the Generals to extend their lead back to multiple runs, though, as third baseman Dalton sent a solo home run over the fence in the sixth inning to put the home team ahead 5-3.
Victoria further padded their cushion to 6-3 in the seventh inning behind Chad Kruse's RBI double that scored Cody Abraham, but Coppell answered with a run in the eighth to trim the Generals advantage back to two runs at 6-4.
Abraham added an RBI single in the bottom of the eighth to score Wagner and push the Generals' lead to 7-4.
"We had some situations where we could have given in, but we did a really nice job of keeping them at bay," Generals head coach Ryan Wagner said. "(This team) has a lot of courage."
Pitcher Covey Morrow closed out the game to give Jordan Harrison the win in relief after coming in for starter Tyler Smith. The three pitchers combined for 10 strike outs, while limiting Coppell to six hits.
"We struggled with the strike zone a little early, but Harrison came in and did an outstanding job, and Morrow did a great job in the end," Wagner said. "We did a great job with pitching and came up with timely hitting, and those are the little things you have to do to win."
The Generals begin a four-game road trip tomorrow at Acadiana and do not return home until after the Cricket Wireless Texas Collegiate League All-Star game being held Monday in Bryan. Victoria hosts the Alexandria Aces next Wednesday.
Victoria 7, Coppell 4
Coppell 002 100 010 - 4 6 2
Victoria 400 001 11- - 7 8 2
Carlton O'Neal, Jacob Lara (7), Barron Davis (8) and Joe Andrade.
Tyler Smith, Jordan Harrison (5), Covey Morrow (8) and Santiago Ruiz.
W: Harrison (1-0); L: O'Neal (3-2).
Highlights: Chad Kruse, 2 for 3, run, RBI; Michael McGraw, 1 for 4, run, RBI; Trent Wagner, 1 for 3, 2 runs, 2 RBIs, 2-run home run; Ryan Dalton, 1 for 4, RBI, solo home run; Cody Abraham, 1 for 3, run, RBI, stolen base.
Records: Coppell 18-18; Victoria 16-19