Fort Worth Cats Baseball
Joel Kirsten worked seven strong innings as the Cats defeated Pensacola 8-2 in Game 2 of the South Division Series (Photo courtesy Fort Worth Cats/Bob Haynes)
The win evened the best-of-five series at one win each heading to Pensacola on Friday.
The Pelicans scored a two-out run in the first as Antoin Gray homered for the second time in as many nights for a 1-0 Pensacola lead. The Cats would tie the game in the bottom of the first as Brian Fryer led off with a single, stole second, went to third on a sacrifice bunt and scored on a Pat O'Sullivan sacrifice fly.
The Cats broke the game open with a four-run second inning. Michael Bell walked to start the inning, followed by a Ryan Patterson double and a Kelley Gulledge walk. Isa Garcia doubled, scoring two for a 3-1 Cats' advantage. Wally Backman Jr., in his first at bat in a Cats' uniform, collected an RBI on a fielder's choice grounder. The Cats made it 5-1 on an RBI single by Blair.
Blair would homer in the fourth inning, the Cats' first round-tripper of the post season, for a 6-1 advantage. Patterson's RBI double in the fifth gave Fort Worth a 7-1 lead.
The Pelicans threatened in the eighth against reliever Ryan Trytten. After Trytten retired the first two batters in order, he allowed a walk, an RBI double and two more bases on balls to load the bases before Scott Vander Weg came out of the Cats bullpen to strike out Dallas Christison to end the inning.
Fort Worth would add an insurance run in the eighth on a two-out run-scoring single by John Allen.
Cats' starter Joel Kirsten went seven innings and permitted just a run on four hits to notch the win. Pelicans' left-hander Randy Beam lasted just 1 1/3 innings, giving up five runs on five hits to take the loss. Dustin Cameron threw a scoreless ninth inning to close out the game for the Cats.
The series continues with Game 3 on Friday night at 7:05 p.m. in Pensacola. Jae Jung is the scheduled starter for Fort Worth. The game can be heard on Big Country 1460 AM beginning with the pre-game show at 6:45 p.m.