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Goldpanners fall in extra innings to Utah Marshalls in series-opener

Published: Jul. 15, 2021 at 5:29 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - To jumpstart the second half of their season, the Alaska Goldpanners welcomed in one of the hottest teams in all of summer baseball - The Utah Marshalls, who were riding a ridiculous 28-game win streak heading into the series-opener Wednesday.

The Marshalls were able to bring their scorching bats through TSA on their way up to Fairbanks, tacking on four early runs in the top of the third to take control.

However, the Goldpanners would take the punches and deliver some right back, as Garrett Cooper brought home Luke Glascoe with an RBI single to put the Panners on the board. In the next at bat, outfielder Grady Morgan showed off his power by launching a three-run, opposite field home run that erased the deficit and knot the game 4-4 at the end of three innings.

Relievers started to come out of the bullpen for the Goldpanners after starter German Fajardo gave up his fifth earned run by the fifth inning. Ian Torpey took the bump, striking out five batters in 2.1 innings of hitless ball, before RJ Aranda held Marshall scoreless in the top of the eighth.

In the bottom half of the frame, catcher Blake Fitzgerald led off with a base hit to get the ball rolling for the Panners. Dominic Hughes stepped in to pinch run, stealing second base before an overthrow sent him to third and in prime position to score. Glascoe did his job again, putting the ball in play, where Hughes beat out a throw to home to tie the game 5-5, where it eventually went to extra innings.

Similar to Major League Baseball rules, the team batting gets a runner on second base to start the inning with no outs.

Neither team was able to take advantage of the baserunner until the top of the 11th, as a double, followed by a triple, plated two runs for Utah.

The Goldpanners would threaten themselves, as a lead-off walk gave Alaska two base runners with no outs. Attempting to bunt-over the runners, Kaden Hogan was called out on a force-out at third base that would have sent MLB umpires to the replay booth.

With the tying run at first, Cooper chopped one down the third baseline, just passed the outstretched glove of Utah and it looked like extra bases and at least one run for the Goldpanners. As Glascoe was rounding third base, the home plate umpire ruled the ball foul, much to the disagreement with head coach Anthony Ferro, who let him know.

Cooper eventually walked, loading the bases for Morgan with one out, but he popped up in foul territory. Four pitches later, Marco Pirruccello struck out and Utah kept their winning streak alive 7-5 after 11 innings.

Cooper, Morgan and Glascoe each had a pair of hits, while Buddy Pindel was credited with the loss.

If game one said anything, it was that this will be a fun series. The two teams will return to the diamond Thursday at 6:30 p.m. and Friday at 7:00 p.m. to continue the series.

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