Express slug their way back against Mavs

Matthew Gourlie
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Douglas, Stinnett and Hanson have three-hit nights

The Moose Jaw Miller Express don't fear falling behind.

Moose Jaw Miller Express

Nor should they.

Friday, the Medicine Hat Mavericks built an early 4-0 lead, but the Express found that 17 hits, two home runs and eight runs were sufficient to dig them out. The Express rallied for an 8-7 win over the Mavs in Western Major Baseball League action to sweep their two-game series in the Gas City.

"It was a little bit back and forth, but luckily we came out on top," said Express head coach Michael Hunt.

"Guys are feeling good about themselves, which can only equal good things."

Michael Olson led off the second inning with a home run and the Mavs would use four more hits to put three runs across as they grabbed an early 4-0 lead.

The Express welcomed leading hitter Miles Hunter back into the lineup for the second game in as many nights, but it was the men behind him who did most of the damage.

Hunter singled in the fifth inning and Ben Douglas and Aidan Stinnett each hit RBIs in a three-run inning for the Express.

Douglas and Stinnett were both 3-for-5 at the plate. Douglas drove in three runs and scored once, while Stinnett scored twice and drove in a run.

"We had guys step up in situations and our offence certainly came to play today," said Hunt.

The Express took a 6-4 lead in the seventh inning when Douglas hit a two-run home run and Franky Pluskota followed him with a solo home run to end the night of Mavs starter Kalei Contrades.

Express ace Terry McNabb also called it a night after six innings. He allowed four runs and nine hits, while striking out four.

Josh Janzen gave up a run in the seventh and after the Express got one back in the eighth, he gave up two in the bottom half on an Andy Scott two-run home run.

The Express didn't dwell on the loss of the lead and got back at it in the ninth inning.

Douglas lead off with a single and Pluskota laid down a sacrifice bunt to move pinch runner Brady Rogers to second base. Dylan Hanson came up and singled Rogers home to put the Express back in front.

Hanson was 3-for-5 on the night and is now hitting .277 on the season. His average has shot up nearly 100 points since the start of July.

"His swing is starting to come along and he's getting a lot more comfortable at the plate," said Hunt. "We're looking really solid one-through-nine — whoever we put out there — we have confidence in everybody."

Jason Renner only needed nine pitches to retire the Mavs in order in the ninth inning to record his fourth save of the season. 

Janzen allowed three runs and three hits in his two innings, but earned the win to improve his record to 3-0 on the season.

"We gave up a lead, but it's not going to be perfect every night," said Hunt.

The Express will be in Saskatoon for a pair of games Saturday and Sunday.

Moose Jaw is 17-13 on the season and are a 1/2 game behind the Swift Current Indians in the race for the Central Division pennant after the Indians swept a double-header Friday.

Organizations: Western Major Baseball League

Geographic location: Gas, Saskatoon, Moose Jaw Swift Current

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