Haynes sparks TJ's latest comeback
For seven innings Nathan Haynes didn't see a single strike.
When Haynes finally saw a a pitch over the plate, he delivered looping an 0-2 pitch in the bottom of the eighth inning into left fieldthat scored two runs to give the Southern Oregon Timberjacks a 5-4 come-from-behindvictory over the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes Friday night at Miles Field.
I like hitting in that situation, said Haynes, who had walkedhis first three at-bats on 12 pitches. I knew the pitcher would throwme another slider. He just kind of hung it.
The Timberjacks (24-19) remained one game behind South Division leaderPortland, a 4-0 winner over Eugene. Salem (22-22) fell — 1/2 games off thepace.
Before Haynes had a chance to work his magic, the Timberjacks had a littleluck in their four-run eighth inning.
With one out and left fielder Roberto Vaz staring at a 1-2 count, Volcanoesreliever Nate Rice hit Vaz on the hand.
Rice appeared on the verge of getting out of the inning when Adam Piatthit what looked to be a tailor-made double play ball to Salem-Keizer thirdbaseman Will Otero.
But Otero couldn't dig the ball out of his glove webbing.
Ed Farris followed with a single to load the bases and after a fly out,Rice walked Nicolas Sosa to force in a run.
After another walk to pinch-hitter Hipolito Martinz, Haynes knocked homethe eventual game winning runs.
I thought the left fielder would catch it when it left the bat,said Haynes. I was just glad the pitcher (Rice) didn't throw anotherslider in the dirt because I looked bad on my first two swings.
Southern Oregon manager John Kuehl wasn't surprised by his youngest player'sheroics.
This kid has big composure, said Kuehl. He's as coolas they come
Haynes' late-inning two-run single made a winner of Southern Oregon relieverTim Hudson, who pitched two scoreless innings with two strikeouts.
I was really anxious to get out on the mound, said Hudson,who had only thrown — 2/3 innings heading into Friday's action. Itjust can't do anything but help you going in situations like that.
Hudson, who was the workhorse of an Auburn team that competed in theCollege World Series, had been resting due to the number of innings he threwin college.
We knew he threw a lot of innings in college and now he's readyto pitch, said Kuehl. He's proven he has the guts to performunder pressure.
Hudson was just glad to have the time off from the mound.
I knew it was best after throwing so many innings in the spring,said Hudson. Now it's time to start over again.
The game started off as a pitching duel after the Timberjacks jumpedout to a quick 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning when Vaz knockedin Rodney Clifton, who led off the game with a double, with an RBI groundout.
After the first inning run, Salem-Keizer pitchers Kevin Joseph, Joe Farleyand William Mallerich shut down the Timberjack bats, tossing six shut-outinnings, while allowing just three hits.
The Volcanoes finally broke the 1-1 deadlock in the sixth inning, whenthey tagged Southern Oregon reliever Jason Anderson for three runs on fourhits.
Chad Faircloth and Zach Wells started the inning with back-to-back singlesand catcher Matt Friess followed by launching a belt-high fastball overthe left center field fence to give his team a 4-1 advantage.
But after that it was the Timberjacks who would have the last word inthe first game of three-game series.
It's nice to know we have so much confidence, said Kuehl.I knew we would come alive later in the game. We just stuck with itand didn't panic.
The second game of the series resumes tonight at Miles Field with AndyKimball going to the mound for Southern Oregon. He'll be opposed by theVolcanoes Jason Verdugo.