The Moose Jaw Miller Express had been looking for this kind of game for quite a while.
And you can be certain they’re hoping it’s a compete return to form as the final week of the Western Canadian Baseball League regular season approaches.
The Express put up plenty of runs, enjoyed a solid showing from their starting pitcher and a shutdown outing from their bullpen on their way to an 8-3 victory over the Swift Current 57’s on Sunday afternoon in Swift Current.
The win was especially important in that it saw Moose Jaw maintain their half-game lead over the Regina Red Sox for first place in the Eastern Division and extended their edge to three games over the 57’s
Swift Current got on the board first, courtesy of a two-run home run off the bat of Thomas Collins only three batters into the bottom of the inning.
And that would be the only real blemish on Miller Express starter Andrew Barger’s record the rest of the way. He’d get out of the first with no more damage and hold the 57’s scoreless the next five innings, eventually finishing with a quality start that saw two runs on two hits over six innings, with six walks and five strikeouts.
That gave his offence plenty of time to respond, which they did, and consistently at that.
Moose Jaw runs in the third and fourth tied the game before WCBL all-star Zach Campbell hit a two-run home run in the fifth to give the Express a 4-2 lead.
The contest was 5-3 through seven when Joe Osborn continued his hot play as of late, cranking out a three-run home run to finish the day 2-for-4 with two runs scored and three RBI.
Parker Dorrance also had a solid game, going 3-for-5 with a run and RBI, while Dawson Tweet was 2-for-4 and saw his batting average increase to a team-high .383, although he doesn’t have enough at bats to qualify for the league leaders.
Once Barger left the game, it was time for the bullpen get things done, and that they did.
J.J. Padilla allowed a run in the seventh and was followed by Livio Bundi with a scoreless eighth before Jesse Scholtz closed things out with a shutout ninth. It was a welcome return to form for the WCBL all-star after a tough six-run, no-outs outing only 24 hours earlier against Fort McMurray.
Moose Jaw is right back in action on Monday night when they host the 57’s. Game time is 7:05 p.m. at Ross Wells Park.