|
|
|
MailTribune.com
  • BASEBALL

    Garcia makes smashing debut

    Texas Pan-American player slugs two home runs to lead Rogues past Bend in WCL contest
  • Baseball players stream in and out during the first month of every collegiate wood-bat season, but it's rare to have the kind of debut that Victor Garcia Jr. put forth for the Medford Rogues on Monday night.
    • email print
      Comment
    • ROGUES 7, ELKS 3
      RECAP: Victor Garcia Jr. goes 2-for-4 with two runs and four RBIs and starting pitcher Brandon Erickson allows one earned run in seven innings to lead Medford to its second straight West Coast Leag...
      » Read more
      X
      ROGUES 7, ELKS 3
      RECAP: Victor Garcia Jr. goes 2-for-4 with two runs and four RBIs and starting pitcher Brandon Erickson allows one earned run in seven innings to lead Medford to its second straight West Coast League victory.

      UP NEXT: Tonight, 6:35, Bend Elks at Medford Rogues.
  • Baseball players stream in and out during the first month of every collegiate wood-bat season, but it's rare to have the kind of debut that Victor Garcia Jr. put forth for the Medford Rogues on Monday night.
    Garcia arrived in town Sunday night, and his bat arrived with considerably more fanfare about 24 hours later as the Texas-Pan American player belted a pair of home runs to carry the Rogues to a 7-3 victory over the Bend Elks at Harry & David Field.
    Garcia lifted a solo homer over the fence in right-center field in the sixth inning to give Medford a 3-1 advantage, then sent a towering shot to the same spot on the second pitch he saw in the eighth inning for a three-run shot to finish 2-for-4 with two runs and four RBIs.
    Game 2 of the three-game West Coast League series with Bend (2-2) starts at 6:35 tonight as Medford (2-2) continues a stretch of 12 home games in 14 days. Monday's game was played in front of a paid attendance of 1,183.
    "I heard the atmosphere was good here and I showed up to see what it's about and I definitely love it," said Garcia. "Those were my first home runs since high school. I felt good today and was seeing the ball well and luckily they went over."
    Garcia hit .273 with 23 runs and 21 RBIs this past spring for Texas Pan-American and said he's looking forward to bigger and better things this summer in Medford.
    "I had a rough year over there at Texas-Pan Am, well to me it was rough, and I took BP over break and tried to get comfortable and relaxed," said the left-handed swinging Garcia. "I came in here and I was nervous, but after my first at-bat, 'I was like, OK, settle down,' and by my third and fourth at-bats I just put some good swings on them."
    Both home runs were exactly the shot in the arm the Rogues needed and gave the home team considerable cushion to keep matters from getting too tense when Bend rallied to score twice in the top of the ninth.
    "That's the swing that we've been preaching all of this preseason and early going," said second-year Rogues manager Josh Hogan, "that short-to-it, backspin the baseball and then get uphill swing. A lot of our guys early, when we get in trouble, have been trying to get uphill and trying to hit that home run, and when you try to hit that home run it usually doesn't happen unless you're a big gorilla. We really like his swing right now, obviously."
    The Rogues' Yuto Kata, the WCL's leading hitter at .636 entering the game, was 0-for-1 with two runs scored, while Clayton Meyer drove in a run and doubles by Blaine Tanner and E.J. Lopez eventually led to them scoring.
    That offense was backed up in fine fashion by starting pitcher Brandon Erickson, who allowed one earned run and four hits in seven solid innings. Erickson struck out six and walked none with one hit batter for a Rogues team that needed a lengthy outing from its starter.
    "We kinda drew it up that way last night and were hoping that he could get us six to eight innings," said Hogan. "That's hoping for a lot out of a starting pitcher but we trust him and trust that he's going to be a very quality starter for us just because of how much he fills up the zone, his mentality, his command and his tempo. It was an outstanding effort from him tonight."
    Reliever Matt Loeffler pitched a perfect eighth inning. Nathan Kuchta was tagged with a pair of runs after an error by Garcia kept the ninth inning alive long enough for Bend's Curtis Wildung to supply a two-run single.
    "The pitchers threw well and defense played well," said Garcia. "We had a couple errors, including mine towards the end, but luckily we had a 7-1 lead going into the ninth and came out with the 'W.'"
    That's especially important in the summer season, where every win becomes huge since only the three division winners and the next-best team advance to the WCL playoffs.
    "It's really tough to get into that hole early so we're fortunate to have some guys early that can play right and get some things done for us," said Hogan.
    Johnathan Brooks and Jo Carrol each went 2-for-4 with one run scored to pace Bend, which is in the WCL South Division with Medford, Corvallis and Klamath Falls.
    Medford expects to get a boost to the lineup today with the arrivals of catcher Tanner Lubach and pitcher Christian Cox from the University of Nebraska. The Rogues recently lost the potential services of heralded outfielder Ramon Laureano, who was drafted and signed recently by the Houston Astros, while outfielder Donald Glover Jr. continues to battle a hamstring injury.
    "We've just got to keep playing good baseball," said Hogan, "and limit the free bases like we did today and just put those quality at-bats together to put some pressure on them on the bases."
    Bend Elks 000 100 002 — 3 7 2
    Medford Rogues 101 001 13x — 7 6 3
    McGuff, Gomez (7), Albrecht (8) and Ferguson, Wildung (7); Erickson, Loeffler (8), Kuchta (9) and Teel. W — Erickson. L — McGuff. 2B — B: Brooks; M: Tanner, Lopez. HR — M: Garcia Jr. 2 (2).
    Reach reporter Kris Henry at 541-776-4488, khenry@mailtribune.com, www.facebook.com/krishenryMT or www.twitter.com/Kris_Henry
Reader Reaction

      calendar