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Goldpanners answer the call with come-from-behind victory over Utah to snap their winning streak

Published: Jul. 16, 2021 at 7:10 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Throughout the season, the Alaska Goldpanners have responded well when an opponent puts a few runs on the board, often striking right back with a couple of their own. That was on display Wednesday, when the Panners answered a four-run third inning from the Utah Marshalls with four runs in the bottom half of the frame, before tying the game and sending into extra innings after Utah took a one-run lead late.

It was a similar storyline Thursday in a bout that did not disappoint following the thrilling series-opener.

Highlighted by precise pitching and elite fielding, the first seven innings were scoreless as Alaska’s Jayvn Pimental and Utah’s Ethan O’Neal dueled, while the defense was flashing the leather with game changing plays that continued to put zeroes on the scoreboard.

In the top of the 8th, the Marshall’s finally broke through the wall when a two-out single with the bases loaded brought in a pair of runs to open up the scoring late.

But, as they do, the Goldpanners answered the call with their own bases loaded, two-out situation with Garrett Cooper stepping into the box. Down to his last strike, Cooper slashed a gapper into right center field to clear the bases, bringing in three runs with his triple to put the Panners on top with one swing of the bat.

In the top of the 9th, Tyler Franks went 1-2-3 on the mound to earn the win as the Goldpanners snap Utah’s insane 30-game winning streak with a 3-2 win.

“Oh it felt great,” Cooper said of coming through for his team. “I was just wanted something over the plate, something straight and I was able to put a barrel on it.”

As far as quality of opponent, the Marshalls are right up there with any team Alaska has faced this year. The first two games of the series suggest it should be fun the rest of the way as well.

“You know, that’s a good team man and we are a good team,” head coach Anthony Ferro said. “They are well coached and we are well coached and it is a dog fight. I expect it to be a dog fight the next three games.”

The Panners only collected four hits on the evening, with Chase Rodriguez, Travis Warinner and Bobby Brown producing hits in addition to Cooper. Pimental allowed just two hits in seven innings, while striking seven.

The Goldpanners (18-7) and Marshalls (31-3) will return to the diamond at 7 p.m. Friday before a double-header Saturday to conclude the series.

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