After being burned for a 6-4 loss in the series opener against the CanAm League Aigles on Friday, the home squad tuned up, turned on and came back firing on all cylinders with an 8-3 win.
The pitching staff, led by freshly returned Goldeye Chris Salamida and bolstered by a fearless bullpen, kept the Aigles grounded. In the field, players locked down their defensive positions, hauling in balls and connecting for two key double-plays. At the plate, the Goldeyes swung to run wild, snagging 13 base hits. All but one hitter in the lineup got at least one.
Against all that, the Aigles never really had a chance.
They started to push for a comeback in the seventh when reliever Brendan Lafferty let shortstop David Cooper go for a walk, joining another runner on base. But Lafferty buckled down and zapped out his third strikeout of the inning to neuter that threat. It was a key K to keep the momentum at home and help put the Fish back to .500 on the season.
So good to see ya, Chris Salamida. The Fish brought their former pitcher out of retirement to help down the stretch, and the southpaw hurled a solid game in his first start since last year's playoffs. He locked down five of six innings and only ran into trouble in the fifth, where he gave up three singles and a run and walked outfielder Jon Smith. Everywhere else he was strong, striking out five batters and only walking the one.
Scoring was well spread out, but infielder Casey Haerther and catcher Luis Alen both knocked out three hits, a run and an RBI in four tries.
With scoring coming from all over, perhaps no single play was key, but the almost 6,200 fans in the stadium certainly got their money's worth of entertainment when right-fielder Ray Sadler walloped a two-run homer right over the outfield wall late in the seventh inning to make it 7-1.
The Fish would add another score in the eighth -- a Josh Mazzola dash off a Fehlandt Lentini single -- to cruise to a win and a 32-32 record.
Alen is a heck of a catcher and a very sturdy hitter, but he's not exactly known for his speed. So it was all the more delightful when he stole his fifth bag of the season on a determined jog in the bottom of the seventh. That beat his 2011 grand total of four to set a new career high in his 10-year pro run. "I'm not even thinking about any of that," Alen laughed after the game. "I'm just trying to help out my team."
The new (re-)addition to the pitching staff should help on that end, he agreed. "I was excited because (Salamida) was coming back. He was great out there. He was making pitches, he was getting ahead of their hitters. I know him pretty good, and he trusts me a lot."
ON THE HOOK
The Goldeyes take on Trois-Rivi®res again at 1:30 p.m. today, then wrap up the series with a Monday evening tilt at Shaw Park.