Express double up Dawgs

Katie Brickman
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Losing streak snapped at three

The Moose Jaw Miller Express wanted to make a statement.

Brandon Acosta of the Moose Jaw Miller Express winds up to pitch in game action earlier this season at Ross Wells Park. Acosta had a solid outing in Okotoks on Wednesday, going eight innings, giving up no runs on five hits, four walks and four strikeouts. Times-Herald photo by Katie Brickman

So they did against the Okotoks Dawgs.

After losing three straight games, including two blowouts to Lethbridge on Tuesday, the Express answered with an 8-4 win on Wednesday.

“Okotoks is playing really well and are always tough to beat, especially at home, so for us to come there and get the kind of outing we did out of Brandon Acosta and the offensive output we had after a couple rough games, is certainly good on the boys,” said Michael Hunt, head coach of the Express. “It certainly was a good win for us.”

Acosta was cruising against the Dawgs. He pitched eight scoreless innings, giving up just five hits, four walks and struck out four. This was his third victory of the season.

“He is a effective and challenges hitters. He is just been able to come out and be effective. We have been fortunate that we have gotten wins out of it,” said Hunt. “We know what we are going to get an effective and long outing out of him. It helps save the bullpen a little bit.”

Hunt also explained how his teammates rally around him when he is on the mound.

“Everyone of our starting guys are team players and the guys like him and they like playing behind him. He is a guy that the guys want to play for,” he said.

Jorge Pantoja came into the game in the ninth inning and gave up the four runs on four hits, but settled down to help Acosta get the win.

Not only did the Express get a solid outing from their pitcher, but also from their offence.  Almost every starting batter had multiple hits against the four Okotoks pitchers.

Derek Cornell went 2-for-4 with three runs and Ben Douglas continues to swing a hot bat, going 3-for-4 and two RBI.

After three innings, the Express led 3-0, but were able to chase starting pitcher Conor Lillis-White. He pitched for the Express two summers ago.

“He is a good pitcher. We are fortunate that we were able to chase him out of the game,” said Hunt. “We have seen some really tough lefties lately and he is no different.”

The Express were able to do most of their damage against Andrew Moralez, though. In his two innings of work, the Express added four runs on eight hits to extend their lead.

This was a character win and the kind of game the Express were hoping to have to stop their losing streak at three games.

“There is no reason to beat a dead horse and keep pointing out the mistakes,” said Hunt. “We focused on what we did well and the positives.”

The Express now improve to 13-10 on the season and retake control of the Central Division lead over the Swift Current Indians.

Okotoks and Moose Jaw will play for the fourth and final time this regular season tonight.

“Now we are 2-1 against them and we are focused on being 3-1,” said Hunt.

Follow Katie on Twitter @katiebrickman.

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