Despite a ninth-inning rally, the Alaska Goldpanners came up short in Thursday night’s matchup against the San Francisco Seals at Growden Memorial Park, and the 8-6 loss ended Alaska’s 10-game win streak.
After facing the Seals twice in the Grand Forks International tournament earlier this summer and taking a 17-10 victory in Wednesday night’s series opener, the teams now have a split 2-2 record.
Brandon Leitgeb, batting cleanup for Alaska, hit a two-run single to give the Panners an early lead in the first inning. The Seals responded with four runs in the second to take the lead, which they would maintain for the rest of the game. Tony Riley stole home in the second to make the score 4-3. San Francisco tacked on two more runs in both the third and fourth innings and added one more in the sixth.
Braxton Innis led off the bottom of the ninth with a triple, which was followed up with a one run single from Preston Viltz. A walk and a single loaded the bases, and Bryant Nakagawa’s two run single brought the score to 8-6 with one out. Another walk loaded the bases, but a flyout ended the game.
The Goldpanners left 11 runners on base throughout the game, including the three in the ninth inning.
Matt Becker started the game on the mound for Alaska and pitched four innings, allowing nine hits and eight runs. Prior to Thursday, Becker had recorded a 2.45 ERA for the Panners. The Lewis-Clark State senior had previously earned a win over the San Francisco Seals on July 1 in the championship game at the Grand Forks Tournament, pitching five innings, allowing three hits and one run.
Zach Johnson pitched three innings of relief, allowing two hits and one run. Inniss left his spot in right field and closed out the game, pitching two innings, allowing two hits and no runs. Innis also led the team in hits on offense, going 3 for 3 at the plate.
The six-game series with the Seals is the last home series for the Panners this year and the team’s final tuneup before it travels to Wichita, Kansas for the National Baseball Congress World Series. The end of the season tournament lasts from July 27 to Aug. 10 and draws 30 of the top collegiate summer league teams from across the country. The Seals will also be attending.
The series with San Francisco continues at 6 p.m. today at Growden.
Contact News-Miner sports writer Laura Stickells at 459-7530. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMsports