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Gentry belts walk-off HR to lift Rogues in opener

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Jake Gentry didn’t take long in endearing himself to Medford Rogues teammates and fans alike Thursday night, supplying a two-run walk-off home run to carry Medford over the Fresno A’s, 9-7, in the season opener for both teams.

The Cal State Fullerton junior outfielder was given his big opportunity after a two-out single by Grant Sherrod in the ninth inning and didn’t disappoint, clubbing a 3-2 pitch over the right-field fence.

Earlier in the game, Gentry supplied a two-run double in the fourth inning to give the Rogues their first lead of the collegiate wood-bat summer season. In the fifth, his diving catch in right field also stopped Fresno from scoring after the A’s loaded the bases and preserved a 2-1 advantage.

Medford pushed its lead to 5-1 in the sixth inning thanks to consecutive doubles by Drew Steelhammer and Sherrod, with Jackson Hall adding an RBI single and Sherrod coming home on a wild pitch.

Fresno rallied with six runs to regain the lead in the seventh inning, however, with Steven Martinez supplying a big hit with his two-run single.

The Rogues scratched for a single run in the seventh and eighth innings to tie it at 7-all behind RBI efforts from Emiliano Alarcon and Drew Kaatz, respectively.

Alarcon came on as an emergency relief catcher after Teppie Fukuda was injured during the second at-bat of the game.

Sherrod finished 4-for-5 with three runs and one RBI, Gentry was 2-for-4 with two runs and four RBIs and Hall 2-for-3 with one RBI to lead the Rogues.

Matt Ager and Griffin Henry each pitched three solid innings for Medford, with Henry allowing three hits with three strikeouts in his scoreless outing.

Martinez went 2-for-4 with three RBIs for Fresno, while Blake Demaria was 2-for-5 with one run and Bobby Staley 3-for-4 with one run.

The series continues with Game 2 at 6:35 p.m. Friday.

Fresno A’s010000 600—7111

Medford Rogues000203 112—9120

Rocha, Torrez (5), Martinez (7), Pate (9) and Chu; Ager, Henry (4), Memmott (7), Miller (7) and Fukuda, Alarcon (1). W — Miller (1-0). L — Pate (0-1). 2B — F: Staley; M: Steelhammer, Sherrod, Gentry, Cedillo. HR — M: Gentry (1).

Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneMedford Rogues outfielder Jake Gentry slides safely into third base during the fourth inning of Thursday’s season opener at Harry & David Field.
Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneMedford Rogues returner Caleb Schorr picks off Fresno A's runner Bobby Staley at first base during the top of the fourth inning Thursday.
Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneMedford Rogues starting pitcher Matt Ager delivers a strike during the second inning of Thursday’s season opener against the Fresno A’s.
Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneMedford Rogues outfielder Jake Gentry connects for a two-run double during the fourth inning at Harry & David Field.
Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneHarry & David Field opening night for the Medford Rogues.