Sox muscle up
June 11, 2006
Gold Sox manager Brad Peek has said this year's team has the potential to be the strongest hitting club in the franchise's four years as a collegiate league organization.
The Gold Sox showed why on Saturday night.
Yuba-Sutter pounded out 18 hits and gave starting pitcher Given Kutz his first victory with plenty of run support in a 11-4 win over the Athletes in Action Fire of Alaska in a single Horizon Air Summer Series game.
The Gold Sox (10-1, 8-1) are off to their best start ever and are currently riding an eight game winning streak.
Joél Torres, Etienne Materre, Matt Suleski and Jonny Norfolk led the hitting onslaught with three hits each. Suleski drove in his first two runs of the season, while Torres, Materre and Norfolk knocked in one each.
A.J. Valentine extended his team lead in RBIs after driving home a run in the huge eight-run fourth inning. Yuba-Sutter had nine hits in the inning and chased starting pitcher Matthew Sullivan and reliever Chris Albrecht.
Suleski had two hits and his first RBI of the season in the inning, and Bret Nightingale hit a two-run single.
Doug Thennis and Norfolk each drove in run during the inning. Thennis hit an RBI double that one-hopped the wall in straight away center in the fifth. Of his seven hits, six have been doubles.
“We're not clicking on all cylinders but more are starting to click,” Peek said. “Our bottom half of the order came through and they're starting to show progress.”
Norfolk, who is hitting eighth, was hitless in his return to the Gold Sox on Thursday.
Kutz, a 6-foot-3 right-handed junior from the University of Portland, is steadily getting stronger after having surgery on his shoulder to repair a damaged nerve that was causing muscle to deteriorate. The injury prevented him from pitching this spring at Portland.
Kutz worked five innings in his longest outing of the season, allowing just one unearned run and two hits while walking two.
“He may not overpower guys but he does a good job of getting his curveball in the zone and spotting his fastball,” Peek said. “He has more velocity than we saw, but as he goes along he'll get into better shape.”
He retired five straight to begin the game before walking a batter. He then retired six straight before allowing his first hit, a single up the middle by Daniel Morrow in the fourth.
“(The shoulder) feels awesome,” Kutz said. “It's getting better and better. I felt a little sick today. I've had a fever the last two or three days, so I struggled a little. I had to work at pitching tonight because I didn't have my best stuff, but I usually do better when I'm like that because I'm more focused.”
Kutz worked three innings in his first start and four innings in his second. He has allowed just eight hits and two runs - on earned - for an ERA of 0.75.
The Gold Sox have a jaw-dropping team ERA of 1.00. None of the Fire's runs were earned.
Sullivan lasted just three innings, allowing five hits and three runs - two earned - with one strikeout. Albrecht pitched a third of an inning, giving up four runs - two earned - on three hits.
Joel Gossett relieved Albrecht in the big fourth an didn't fare much better, allowing three runs - one earned - on six hits in 12/3 innings.
The Fire didn't help their pitchers any with four errors.
Matt Edgecombe replaced Kutz in the sixth and struggled, allowing four hits and three runs - none earned. Chris Chavez earned his second save after pitching three scoreless innings. He allowed one hit and struck out six, while walking a batter.
Notes: Yuba College sophomore outfielder Steve Shaver played left field for the Fire for five innings. He was 0-for-2. ... Peek added pitcher Michael Hall to the roster. Hall is a right-handed freshman pitcher from Shasta College.