Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Soto's Strong Seven Boost Baby Bombers Over Muckdogs 4-1

STATEN ISLAND, NY -The Baby Bombers got an outstanding pitching performance from Edgar Soto in a 4-1 win over the Muckdogs before 2,203 at Richmond County Ball Park Tuesday night.

The 21 year-old Venezuelan entered the ballgame 0-2 with a 5.00 ERA but against Batavia (15-16), the righthander was brilliant in going seven strong innings allowing an unearned run on only one hit and striking out five to pickup his first win for Staten Island.

"I moved the ball low so they couldn't get on top of the fastball. Got ahead in the count. Throw some curveballs here and there. Changeups," said Soto.

Staked to a two-run lead in the fourth on an RBI Colin Curtis double plus a Brian Aragon sac fly, Soto pitched so well that he retired the first 14 batters before Zach Penprase singled to break up his perfect game. Recognizing that it was broken up, the fans immediately gave Soto a nice ovation.

"I just missed the same pitch and when [Penprase] get a hit, I missed the spot," he pointed out.

After Penprase swiped second, he came around to score when S.I. shortstop Chris Kunda mistimed a Cody Montgomery line drive for an error to cut the Baby Bombers' lead to 2-1. The tying run, Montgomery was quickly erased when he was caught stealing by catcher Jose Gil, who made a perfect throw to second baseman Wilmer Pino (2-4) which ended the threat.

Ironically Pino would also be involved in another exciting play which put Staten Island back on top by two. With one out in the fifth, he laced a sinking line drive single to right. But as luck had it, Batavia right fielder Gus Milner dove too late, letting the ball go all the way to the wall. Pino cruised into third before Milner committed his second error when his throw sailed towards the mound, allowing an alert Pino to score.

"The whole time when I saw the ball go past [Milner], I was thinking 'I'm going home,'" Pino said. "But when I turned on third, the coach gave me the stop sign. I had to stop. Then I decided to keep going because I saw them bobble the ball. It was a good time to try it."

Back ahead by two, Soto cruised through the sixth and seventh by retiring the final six Muckdogs he faced all on groundouts including two comebackers.

"When you get starting pitching like that, it makes it a little easier," manager Gaylen Pitts said. "[Soto] took control, dictated the game and we scored enough runs and the two guys came out of the pen and only had to cover two innings after he went seven...That was the best pitched game by our starters all year."

Staten Island got a little insurance in the seventh thanks to a one out runscoring single by third baseman Mitch Hilligoss, which scored Seth Fortenberry who previously doubled.

Reliever Jonathan Hovis worked a perfect eighth before closer Nick Peterson worked around a two out single to fan the side for his ninth save.

"We're getting good pitching," Pitts added. "When you get good pitching, you got a chance and our defense has been pretty good."

Notes: Swinging the big bat for the Baby Bombers was Curtis. In his first week after being signed late, the centerfielder entered Tuesday with just four hits in 19 plate appearances. Against Batavia, the Seattle Washington native was perfect on the night, going 4-for-4 with two singles, two doubles, a run scored and an RBI.

"It felt good getting out there, getting the win," he said. "I've only been here for like six (seven) games and from what I see, we have a good team. Hopefully we can make another run at it like they did last year.

Staten Island (21-13) continues a four-game homestand against Batavia Wednesday night at St. George.

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