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Isotopes split series to Sacramento River Cats 3-3

The Albuquerque Isotopes split their home series against the Sacramento River Cats 3-3. The series went from Tuesday, April 26 to Sunday, May 1. The Isotopes are now 10-14 and fourth in the Pacific Coast League East.

After a tight 7-9 loss on Tuesday, Albuquerque won the Wednesday and Thursday contests 6-3 and 13-2 respectively. The Isotopes were then thrown a curveball on Friday when third baseman Elehuris Montero, one of the team’s best hitters, was pulled up to the Isotopes’ major league affiliate, the Colorado Rockies, to replace Kris Bryant. Missing a key part of their offense, the Isotopes dropped the Friday game 12-8.

The Isotopes had Rockies infielder Garrett Hampson on rehab assignment for the last two games of the series. Hampson was the Isotopes’ leadoff hitter on Saturday, racking up three hits and two fielding errors at second base. 

Dillon Overton was the starting pitcher for the Isotopes. He walked Sacramento’s LaMonte Wade Jr. and gave up a single to Kevin Padlo early in the first inning. With the bases loaded, Alex Blandino hit a grand slam giving the River Cats an early 5-0 lead.

The River Cats' starting pitcher Tristan Beck allowed a Ryan Vilade single and walked Scott Schebler and Coco Montes. With the bases loaded, Wynton Bernard singled, scoring the first Isotopes run. The Isotopes went into the second inning down 5-1 after a D.J. Peterson strikeout.

Overton gave up a leadoff triple to Bryce Johnson, and Wade hit a double that scored a run. David Villar tripled to make the score 7-1. With runners on first and second and one out, the Isotopes subbed in J.D. Hammer to pitch. Arquímedes Gamboa singled to score a run for Sacramento. With the bases loaded, Ricardo Genovés singled, scoring two runs, and a Johnson sacrifice fly scored another run. Wade grounded out ending the top of a huge second inning for the River Cats.

In the bottom of the third inning, with two runners on base, Bernard doubled to score two runs. Peterson singled to add another. The inning ended in a double play and the Isotopes down 12-4. Hammer continued to pitch into the fourth inning and got two outs, but after Hammer walked Blandino, the Isotopes subbed in Logan Cozart to get the final out.

Peterson hit a double, scoring two runs that cut the River Cats lead to 12-6 in the bottom of the fifth inning. The River Cats subbed in Matt Carasiti who gave up two doubles, scoring two runs. Hampson stole third and ran home on a wild pitch. Vilade finished the inning with a flyout.

In the sixth inning, Schebler hit a two-run home run, putting the Isotopes down by one run. Zach Lee pitched for the Isotopes in the seventh inning and gave up a homerun to Villar. Lee was subbed out in the eighth inning for Chad Smith with one out and two runners on base. Smith gave up a double to Johnson, and the Isotopes went down 14-11.

After the game, outfielder Bernard attributed his good play to being on the River Cats in 2017. Bernard in the series had nine hits and has a batting average of .404 this season.

“You always want to do well and play hard against the team who didn’t give you a second chance,” Bernard said.

The Isotopes opted to start Matt Dennis at pitcher on Sunday. The River Cats started the game on an offensive torrent and finished the third inning up 4-0 off of two home runs and a sacrifice fly.

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Albuquerque took control of the game back in the fourth inning with five runs. Sacramento tried to regain their lead in the top of the fifth with a two-run home run, but the Isotopes responded with five more runs of their own. Albuquerque wouldn’t lose the lead again for the game, and actually even expanded it with every inning left in the game, finishing with a 16-8 win.

The Isotopes next series starts May 3 in Oklahoma City against the OKC Dodgers. The Dodgers lead the Pacific Coast League East with a record of 15-9. They have the Los Angeles Dodgers' fifth-ranked prospect infielder, Miguel Vargas, who has a batting average of .273 on the season.

Thomas Bulger is a freelance reporter for the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at sports@dailylobo.com or on Twitter @thomasbulger10

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