Rain doesn’t dampen Rogues’ resolve in comeback win
Leave it to the Medford Rogues to provide some late-night fireworks before the actual ones were shot into the sky beyond the center field fence at Harry & David Field Friday night.
Using an eight-run rally in the sixth and then a four-run surge two innings later, the Rogues captured their first win of the summer in dramatic fashion with a wild 14-12 win over the Seattle Studs that went deep into the Medford night with nearly four hours full of twists and turns.
“We don’t quit,” said Rogues designated hitter Mike LaVigne, who had the go-ahead sacrifice fly in the bottom of the eighth. “Our pitchers came out and threw well, our hitters hit the ball and a lot of the guys stepped up in big situations. A lot of those runs came with two outs, so a lot of those guys just stepped up and did it.”
Throughout the long and winding road the Rogues (1-1) went on Friday night, it was far from anything routine. They were down 9-2, then ahead 10-9, then back down by two runs before their four-run eighth-inning rally and subsequent zero on the scoreboard in the top of the ninth sealed things once and for all.
Adam Shew, the seventh pitcher of the night used by Rogues manager Bill Rowe, kept the Studs (0-2) scoreless in an inning for only the second time all night to get his first save of the year.
“That was huge,” said Rowe, who’s in his third year at the helm. “We want that to be the tone for the rest of our season. We’re still learning pitchers and seeing what they have and how they want to work, so it’s awesome to know we’ve got that sitting in the pen and I’m really happy for that young man.”
It almost makes Rowe glad that he has the chance to sleep in come the morning after spending so many hours at the ballpark the first two nights of the season.
The Rogues and Studs are scheduled to conclude their season-opening series at 6:35 p.m. Saturday, but rain is forecast for the Rogue Valley throughout the day. They were able to play through the rain Friday night, but heavier rain is expected to arrive in the valley come Saturday morning and be consistent throughout the day.
To get updates on the game’s status, visit medfordrogues.com.
If Saturday’s game does get rained out, the Rogues are set to return to the field Tuesday night when they open a two-game set with the Humboldt Crabs at Harry & David Field.
Either way, they will be coming off one wild win.
Trailing 12-10 entering the bottom of the eighth, the Rogues pulled off their second comeback of the night by tying the game at 12-all on what looked to be a likely groundout to second base. Instead, it turned into trouble for Seattle, as Medford’s Logan Drummond scored right as an error was being made on the throw to first base, thus allowing Tyler Peterson to score from third.
Moments later, LaVigne gave the Rogues a 13-12 lead with his sac fly to right field before Jude Hall capped the rally with an infield single to double his team’s lead.
“We just tried to put good at-bats together and really tried to get a zero on the scoreboard against them,” said Rowe. “Seattle was scoring in almost every inning against us, so we just really tried to limit the amount of runs they were scoring and get back up at bat and see what happens.”
During Thursday night’s season opener, the Rogues were forced to try and claw their way back after allowing four runs in the top of the first.
Twenty-four hours later, the Studs got four runs in the first two innings as they built a 9-2 lead after 4 1/2 innings.
The Rogues didn’t chip away at the Studs’ lead.
Instead, they got it almost all of it back in one fell swoop.
Cade Westerlund got the ball rolling when he came in to score on a Seattle error at first base to cut the deficit to 9-3. Trey Nelson also came in from third without the need of a hit thanks to a wild pitch by Studs starting pitcher Zander Clouse, who had been showing quality control through the first five innings.
Rogues leadoff man Jude Hall made it 9-5 with a two-out RBI single to left field and then stole home on an attempted pickoff play at first base to pull Medford within three.
Cole Arnold made it a 9-8 game with a two-out, two-run single that just sneaked through the right side of the Seattle infield, knocking Clouse out of the game after a laborious sixth inning. The man who replaced him, Thomas Blahouse, struggled with his command almost immediately, walking the first two batters he faced before hitting Nelson with the bases loaded to tie the game at 9-all.
Peterson, who reached on the error at first base earlier in the inning, gave the Rogues their first lead of the season when he was walked with the bases loaded.
In total, Medford sent 14 batters to the plate in the lengthy bottom of the sixth.
“Baseball’s a long game and you’ve got nine innings to win the ballgame,” said LaVigne. “In the sixth inning, you’ve still got three more innings and that’s still 18 outs total.”
But the Medford lead didn’t last long.
The Studs took the lead right back with two runs in the top of the seventh, with Makana Murashige hitting an RBI double into the left field corner and then scoring on a Westerlund throwing error as he tried to steal third.
Seattle added an insurance run in the top of the eighth on William DeForest’s two-out RBI single to right.
Or at least that’s what they thought until the Rogues pulled off a second comeback and took the lead for good.
Hall and Arnold both finished 2-for-5 with two RBIs apiece, while Peterson also drove in a pair of runs while reaching base four times.
“We don’t quit, we play the full nine innings and we want to win,” said LaVigne. “That’s something that I see from our players is that we don’t give up and the Rogues fight.
“Last night was just kind of getting a feeling and after the game we said that we could beat this team — and that’s exactly what we did tonight.”
Clouse, Blahouse (6), Spencer (8) and DeForest; Massie, Schmidt (3), Memmott (5), Stevens (6), Weulfing (7), Baker (8), Shew (9) and Westerlund. W — Baker (1-0). L — Blahouse. S — Shew (1) 2B — S: Riker, Murashige 2, Schuchart, DeForest; M: G. Henry, Westerlund. 3B — S: Acklus.
Reach reporter Danny Penza at 541-776-4469 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @penzatopaper.