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T'jacks squander opportunities in 6-2 loss

For more than a week, the Southern Oregon Timberjacks thrived on timelyhitting ­ hitting that carried the team from an 0-2 start to the topof the Northwest League's South Division standings.

But a day after taking over sole possession of first place with theirfourth straight road win, the Timberjacks returned home Friday night onlyto see the first game of a three-game set with the rival Portland Rockiesslip away 6-2 amid a flurry of missed opportunities.

We've been doing a good job of getting the big hits, first-yearmanager John Kuehl said after Southern Oregon lost for just the second timein its last nine games. Tonight we just never got the bats going.It was just a situation where we had men on base and didn't get that bighit.

The Timberjacks, who slip into a first-place tie with the Rockies at7-4, got only seven hits and stranded nine runners, leaving the bases loadedin both the second and fourth innings.

Some balls were hit hard by some people, they just didn't fall,said shortstop Adam Robinson, who struck out to end both the second andfourth innings. I know for myself I didn't have too good of at-bats.

First baseman Ed Farris, who came in hitting .378 and went 0-for-4, attributedsome of Southern Oregon's offensive struggles Friday night to Portland'spitching style.

The pitchers were a little different from what we've been seeing,said Farris. They were throwing mostly off-speed and we aren't usedto that. The last few games guys have been throwing real hard. We've gotto adjust to that and we didn't.

I saw some guys taking some aggressive swings, Kuehl admitted.Maybe too aggressive. Sometimes you've got to tip your hat to theother team's pitchers. Anytime you can keep the hitter off balance a bit,it's going to be tough to hit.

Like the Timberjacks' offense, Southern Oregon starter Luis Vizcainostruggled early, giving up a triple to Andres Mitchell to lead off the gameand yielding two runs in the first.

The right-hander struck out five of the seven batters he faced in thesecond and third innings, but gave up three straight singles and two runsto open the fourth. Vizcaino (0-2) took the loss.

Southern Oregon fell behind 6-1 in the sixth inning when Portland touchedreliever Rico Lagattuta for two runs, the first of which scored on a wildpitch.

The Timberjacks have made a habit of rallying late in games but the Rockieswould have none of that Friday night.

After going down in order in the sixth, Southern Oregon's Rodney Cliftonreached on an error to open the seventh but Robinson hit into a double playand Eddie Lara struck out to end the inning.

Ron Tegland drew a walk and Brad Gorrie singled to open the final inningbut Clifton hit into a double play that dampened the would-be rally. Robinsonfollowed with a single that scored Tegland from third base but Lara groundedout to end the game.

Tegland accounted for Southern Oregon's other run, coming up with anRBI single in the second inning.