Red-Hot Chihuahuas Swarm Salt Lake 5-3
The Chihuahuas are off to their best start in club history after beating out Salt Lake 6-4 on Wednesday at Southwest University Park.
In front of an average weeknight crowd, the Chihuahuas extended their winning streak to eight in a row, coming off a huge 7-0 road trip. This beat out the franchise record when the 2015 team went 12-7 in their first 19 games, while this year's squad is off to a 15-5 record to start.
"It's been great. Pitching and defense have been good," manager Rod Barajas said. "When you get production, get all plays to fall, you'll win. It's a huge rush on everyone."
It didn't look good for starting pitcher Chris Huffman, who allowed three runs off three hits in the first, including a two RBI single by Chris Carter of the Bees. Carter stole home to end the inning, as Salt Lake finished the first with a commanding 3-0 lead to start the game.
But Huffman kept his composure and pitched just over six innings, not allowing a hit after the first and struck out three batters.
"Best performance we've seen this year," Barajas said. "It didn't matter that he was down, he fought back. I'm proud of him."
Shortstop Dusty Coleman led scoring fest for El Paso, despite having a cold start to the season, as he hit an RBI double to center at the bottom of the third, driving in Shane Peterson. Following Coleman, Diego Goris drove two runners in with a two RBI single, tying the game 3-3 at the end of the third.
Franmil Reyes extended his hitting streak to nine consecutive with a two RBI single in the bottom of the fourth, giving El Paso the 5-3 go-ahead lead.
"I have seen all these guys at spring training and these guys are good," Reyes said. "It feels really good to be a part of this team. We were down by three and we thought we can still win this."
Peterson hit a groundout single that drove in Goris at the bottom of the seventh, which looked like the game would be over.
At the top of the eighth, bases were loaded and Salt Lake scored a run, which looked bad for the Chihuahuas, who led 6-4. A deep shot to right looked good, but Nick Schultz saved the game with a huge catch.
"It was huge—you take that big catch any day," Shultz said. "I stuck out my glove and got it."
Next, the Chihuahuas will take on Salt Lake at 6:35 p.m. at Southwest University Park. It will be Salt Lake LHP John Lamb (1-0, 2.87) taking on El Paso RHP Kyle Lloyd (2-0, 6.60). The game will air on 600 ESPN El Paso and www.epchihuahuas.com.
"In any sport you want to start fast," he said. "It's just another reminder of being consistent. Good start means nothing if you fall off a cliff."