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MailTribune.com
  • BASEBALL

    Rogues survive

    Medford staves off Kelowna's ninth-inning comeback bid
  • That never-say-die attitude the Medford Rogues hope to emulate took on a whole new meaning Friday night at Harry & David Field.
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    • ROGUES 10, FALCONS 9
      RECAP: Christian Cox doubles twice and drives in three runs and Nathan Etheridge goes 3-for-5 with two RBIs and sets a single-season team record in doubles at nine with a pair of two-baggers in the...
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      ROGUES 10, FALCONS 9
      RECAP: Christian Cox doubles twice and drives in three runs and Nathan Etheridge goes 3-for-5 with two RBIs and sets a single-season team record in doubles at nine with a pair of two-baggers in the West Coast League victory.

      UP NEXT: Tonight, 6:35, Kelowna Falcons at Medford Rogues, Harry & David Field.
  • That never-say-die attitude the Medford Rogues hope to emulate took on a whole new meaning Friday night at Harry & David Field.
    The Rogues shrugged off an early 4-0 deficit to build what seemed to be a comfortable advantage with 10 straight runs in a fantastic showing of resolve before a paid attendance of 1,367.
    Medford's mettle, however, was tested to the very end by a gritty Kelowna Falcons squad that scored four times in the top of the ninth inning and had the tying run on second base when Ivan Dilda came on in relief to finally nail down a 10-9 triumph in West Coast League baseball.
    "The whole team really pulled together and we were able to get a good win today," said Rogues designated hitter Nathan Etheridge. "It wasn't easy, but we got it."
    Etheridge finished 3-for-5 with two doubles, one run scored and two RBIs for Medford (19-16), while Christian Cox smacked a pair of doubles, scored once and drove in three runs to avoid a second straight loss to the Falcons (11-24).
    Etheridge's eighth and ninth doubles of the season allowed him to take over sole possession of the Rogues' single-season record for doubles, snapping a tie with Kevin Davidson and Joe Chavez.
    "I think that's pretty cool," said Etheridge, who is batting .358 with 17 runs and 22 RBIs in 27 games. "It's definitely nice to get out there and have a record, I guess, and have my name there as part of the Medford Rogues."
    The tiebreaking third game of the series with Kelowna begins at 6:35 tonight and coincides with Kyle Singler Bobblehead Night at Harry & David Field. The first 1,000 fans through the gates will receive a free bobblehead doll, with the Detroit Pistons forward and Medford native also expected to be on hand for the contest.
    West Virginia-bound Jeff Hardy (3-2) will take the mound tonight in his final appearance this summer for the Rogues.
    Medford starter Nathan Kuchta settled down after a shaky start to exit with a 10-5 lead in the top of the seventh. Relievers Mat Snider and Trent Shelton each pitched a scoreless inning to hand things over to dependable right-hander Shane Quarterley, but things didn't go as planned in the top of the ninth.
    After leadoff batter Scotland Church reached on an error — Medford's third of the game — the Falcons began finding a rhythm against Quarterley, who entered the game with five saves and a 2.82 ERA in 15 appearances.
    A single by Brandon Grimsley advanced Church to third after a wild pitch but Quarterley came back by inducing a shallow flyout to right fielder Christian Cox that kept the runner at third. Unfortunately, the floodgates opened after that as Kelowna countered with consecutive RBI singles by Tommy Lane, Trey Kamachi and Erik Colombini to trim its deficit to 10-8.
    Quarterley secured a big strikeout against pinch-hitter Nick Minteer to draw his team within one out of nailing down a victory, but former Rogues player Ryan Degner didn't let that happen with an RBI single that marked the end of the night for Quarterley. Left-hander Ivan Dilda took over and, despite opening with two pitches outside the strike zone, was able to finish the job and earn his first save of the summer by striking out left-handed hitting Josh Croft, who had homered in the first inning.
    "You've got to tip your hat to them, their club's really grinding right now and were on a three-game win streak so they're feeling it right now," said Rogues manager Josh Hogan. "We didn't really walk anybody in that last inning, they just went hit-hit-hit-hit-hit. Shane might be getting a little tired right now and we're a little short in the bullpen right now so we're going to need to have guys step up and get those outs late in the game for us."
    In spite of all the tense moments with Kelowna nearly batting through the order, Cox said he had complete faith that his team would walk away victorious.
    "I had confidence in our bullpen that we were going to get out of that and get out of here with a 'W,'" said Cox, "and that ended up happening so I'm pretty happy with that."
    "We had to rebound today," he added in reference to Thursday's 7-3 loss. "It's baseball and you've got to have a short memory so we came out here ready to go and grinded out a win."
    Kelowna appeared to be in full control early on in search of its fourth straight win, getting a solo home run from Croft in the first inning, an RBI double by Degner in the second and RBI singles by Colombini in the second and third innings.
    It only took one inning, however, for Medford to gain the advantage and all the momentum after that.
    Ryan Teel set the tone with a leadoff double in the bottom of the third inning and, after Spencer Smith was hit by a pitch with one out, Cox laced an RBI double down the right field line for the Rogues' first run. Victor Garcia Jr. then walked to load the bases for Etheridge and the Grants Pass product promptly delivered with a two-run double into the left-center gap.
    Donald Glover Jr. followed with a hot shot to second baseman Jerod Smith that glanced off his glove to allow Garcia to score, and Blaine Tanner's fielder's choice RBI capped the scoring to give Medford a 5-4 lead.
    "That was a big inning for us there (in the third)," said Cox. "We had a little talk before the inning and our offense just kind of exploded there. We were swinging at good pitches, and that's just something we've got to continue to get better at."
    The outburst seemed to breathe new life into the Rogues and starting pitcher Kuchta, who put the Falcons down in order in the fourth and then sat back to watch his teammates add another four runs to the scoreboard on three hits and an error.
    "In the middle of the game we found the bats a little bit and found some holes and scored some runs," added Cox. "We've just got to keep the energy up throughout all nine innings because the game's never over."
    Yuto Kata drew a walk to open the bottom of the fourth and advanced to third on a sacrifice by Teel and a single by Adonis Morrison. Smith then walked to load the bases before a wild pitch plated Kata and Cox came through with a two-run double that resulted in the second out of the frame when he tried to stretch his hit into a triple. Garcia later walked and scored on a throwing error following Glover's grounder to third baseman Croft.
    Kata reached on an error and scored on Kelowna's fifth error of the game in the bottom of the fifth for a 10-4 lead. Kelowna was able to counter with a run in the sixth after a double by Colombini and eventual bases-loaded single by Croft before really making things interesting in the ninth.
    Kelowna Falcons 121 001 004 — 9 13 5
    Medford Rogues 005 410 00x — 10 8 3
    Moriarty, Gould (4), A. Lambright (6), Church (8) and Colombini; Kuchta, Snider (7), Shelton (8), Quarterley (9), Dilda (9) and Teel. W — Kuchta (4-1). L — Moriarty (0-4). S — Dilda (1). 2B — K: Degner, Colombini; M: Etheridge 2, Cox 2, Teel. HR — K: Croft (2).
    Reach reporter Kris Henry at 541-776-4488, khenry@mailtribune.com, www.facebook.com/krishenryMT or www.twitter.com/Kris_Henry
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