Mired in a five-game losing streak, the Medford Rogues needed some kind of spark to breathe life back into the West Coast League's first-year collegiate baseball franchise.
The Rogues got the jolt they were looking for Tuesday night in the form of a five-run second inning and Mac Acker did his best to make that hold up as Medford secured a 7-1 triumph over the visiting Corvallis Knights in front of 1,017 fans at Harry & David Field.
RECAP: Matt Taylor highlights a five-run second inning with a two-run home run and Mac Acker limits Corvallis to three hits in 72„3 innings to lead Medford to the WCL victory.
UP NEXT: Corvallis at Medford, 6:35 tonight at Harry & David Field.
Tonight's second game of the three-game series begins at 6:35.
"The frustration was definitely building after those losses," said Rogues manager Josh Hogan, "but we've been preaching to these guys to just stick with it and get big and get their chest out and go for it when there's stuff on the line."
Few players exemplified that more than Acker, who got into a little first-inning trouble but finished strong to bump his record to 1-1. The University of Washington left-hander allowed three hits and one earned run in 72/3 innings, striking out four against three walks and one hit batter.
"The first inning he started off a little shaky, but he got right back on it after that," said Hogan. "It was fun to watch after that first inning. He was just pounding the zone, and that's all we've been asking of these pitchers, just pound the zone and compete and trust their stuff, and that's what he did."
The Rogues (5-8) made life a little easier for Acker when they broke through in a big way in the second inning, sending eight batters to the plate and collecting four hits with one walk.
"It was a good pickup for us coming off a little skid," Taylor said of the five-run outburst. "It just started with quality at-bats and just kinda feeding off every other player and getting everyone's energy to come together for a common goal. We were just hungry to keep it going."
Quentin Urban drew a one-out walk to get the rally going against Corvallis starter Tom Zarosinski, and Matt Page followed with a single to right field to put runners on the corners. Niko Pacheco came through with a double down the right field line to even the score at 1-all, and Ray McIntire put the Rogues up for good when his two-run single scooted under Zarosinski's glove and into center field.
After a flyout to center field by leadoff hitter Parker Miles, Taylor put an exclamation point on the second inning with a no-doubt homer over the right-field fence. It was Taylor's first home run of the summer and the fifth by a Rogues player.
"Every time the pitcher shook (off the catcher), he shook to a fastball," said Taylor, who entered the game batting .357. "He just threw it where I wanted it, and it went where I needed it to go. I'll take it."
Acker then took the 5-1 lead and ran with it, allowing only two baserunners over the next three innings — one off a fielding error and the other erased by a nifty double play by shortstop McIntire and second baseman A.J. Balta.
Medford pushed its lead to 7-1 against Corvallis (6-7) with a pair of runs in the sixth inning. Danny McNabb reached on an error and eventually scored on a wild pitch by Knights reliever Jacob Schroeder, while Page singled to right field and scored on a wild pitch and throwing error toward third base by catcher Dane Lund.
Acker finally began to tire in the eighth inning, getting two quick outs before hitting Nate Blackham and walking Lund. Brandon Williams, from Mt. Hood Community College, came on to end the threat, and Seattle University's Mason Stidham pitched a perfect ninth inning in support of Acker.
Page and Balta each had two hits to pace Medford, with Taylor and McIntire plating two runs apiece.
"We'll definitely build off this," said Taylor. "We're going in the right direction. Even coming off those losses, it seemed like we were constantly building because those were quality losses. There are definitely better things to come."
Blake Drake scored Corvallis' lone run in the first when he singled to left field and eventually scored on a sacrifice fly by Kevin Kline. Acker prevented further damage by picking off Blackham at first base.
ab r h bi ab r h bi
Drake cf 4 1 1 0 Miles 3b 4 0 0 0
Blackham lf 2 0 0 0 Taylor lf 4 1 1 2
Craig ph-lf 0 0 0 0 Balta 2b 4 0 2 0
Lund c 2 0 0 0 Davidson dh 4 0 1 0
Kline 1b 3 0 1 1 Smith pr 0 0 0 0
Heck dh 4 0 0 0 McNabb rf 3 1 0 0
Rabago ss 4 0 0 0 Newton rf 1 0 0 0
Lenahan 3b 4 0 0 0 Urban cf 3 1 0 0
Ruppert rf 4 0 1 0 Page 1b 4 2 2 0
Lucarelli 2b 3 0 0 0 Pacheco c 3 1 1 1
McIntire ss 3 1 1 2
Totals 30 1 3 1 Totals 33 7 8 5
Corvallis 100 000 000 —1
Medford 050 002 00x —7
E—Lund, Rabago, Balta, Page, McIntire. DP—Medford 1. LOB—Corvallis 7, Medford 3. 2B—Pacheco, McIntire. HR—Taylor (1). CS—Blackham. SF—Kline
IP H R ER BB SO
Zarosinksi L,1-1 2 5 5 5 1 1
Schroeder 6 3 2 0 0 5
Acker W,1-1 72/3 3 1 1 3 4
Williams 1/3 0 0 0 0 0
Stidham 1 0 0 0 0 0
HBP—by Acker (Craig). WP—Schroeder 2, Acker 1. Umpires—Home, Jerry Eklund First, Alex Chavez Third, Greg Jaquette. T—2:13. A—1,017.