Goldpanners

Alaska Goldpanners player Dom Hughes (sliding) reaches home during a game against the Utah Marshalls. 

Wednesday evening’s game between the Alaska Goldpanners and the Utah Marshalls ended up being about who made the fewest amount of mistakes. Unfortunately, that ended up being the ‘Panners.

Alaska’s offense was up to the task and the pitching did well too, but the defense from earlier in the season reared its ugly head, resulting in four errors that contributed to a 7-5 Goldpanner loss to Utah on Wednesday night at Growden Park in extra innings. The loss snapped a five-game winning streak for the ‘Panners and dropped them to 18-7 overall in the season.

Again, the offense did their part as the Goldpanners actually out-hit the Marshalls nine to eight. The arms were up to the task as well as four pitchers combined to throw 21 strikeouts. It was the defense, however, that had been playing well recently after a tough start to the season, that ended up costing the team the game.

All of that said, it was a great game none the less. Things were scoreless through the first two innings of play before the Marshalls came alive. The top of the third inning saw Utah put four runs on the board to take a quick 4-0 lead.

The Goldpanners didn’t take that lying down. They responded in the bottom of the third with Garrett Cooper’s RBI single to score Luke Glascoe before Grady Morgan’s three-run home run tied the game. Morgan scored himself along with Cooper and Bobby Brown.

Utah took the lead in the top of the fifth inning after Landon Frei scored on an Alaskan error to make it a 5-4 game. The Goldpanners refused to go down. Glascoe’s RBI single in the bottom of the eighth inning managed to score Dom Hughes to tie the game at 5-5.

The game remained tied at the end of nine so things went to extra innings. Neither team scored in the tenth, but Utah managed two runs in the top of the 11th to take a 7-5 lead.

The Goldpanners nearly had the game tied or won in the bottom of the eleventh. The team managed to load the bases with no outs, but Kaden Hogan, Morgan and Marco Pirruccello all went down in order to end the threat and the game.

It was great day offensively for Morgan (2-for-5, three RBI, one run), Cooper (2-for-5, one RBI, one run), and Glascoe (2-for-2, one run, one RBI). Fajardo gave up five earned runs on five hits and four walks, but also struck out 11 in 4.2 innings of work. Buddie Pindel threw three innings and struck out three, but he also gave up two hits that resulted in two earned runs.

Wednesday was the beginning of a five game series against Utah for Alaska. Thursday’s game ended after press time, but the two teams will be back in action at Growden again Friday at 7 p.m. The series will conclude with a Saturday doubleheader beginning at 5 p.m.

Contact sports reporter Hart Pisani at 459-7530 or follow him at twitter.com/FDNMSports.