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Miller Express split final two games in Fort McMurray

Battle to 11-10 win in series finale Saturday after falling 7-2 Friday
If the Moose Jaw Miller Express can win four out of five games the rest of the Western Major Baseball League season, they’re going to find themselves with a pretty impressive record by the end of the campaign.

The Express closed out their three-game set in Fort McMurray on Saturday with an 11-10 win over the Giants, one day after dropping a 7-2 decision during their longest road trip of the season.

The win was the fourth in five attempts for the local squad, after winning the final two games of their stop in Edmonton earlier in the week.

Moose Jaw now sits with a 15-13 record, trailing the Eastern Division-leading Weyburn Beavers by six games and leading the Melville Millionaires by 3 ½ games for the final playoff spot.

Express 11, Giants 10

The Express once again showed off their comeback chops in the final game up north, overcoming a 9-3 deficit through two innings to pick up the extra-inning win.

Moose Jaw scored a pair of runs in the fifth inning before adding another five in the sixth to take a 10-9 lead before Fort McMurray picked up one in the sixth to tie the game 10-10.

That set the stage for Cole Warken, who picked up the easiest of runs batted in by drawing a bases-loaded walk in the top of the 10th to bring home Michael Borst with the eventual game-winning run. The free pass was the third of the inning off Giants reliever Tristian Richardson.

The run was enough for Michael Ross to close things out, as the Express reliever finished off  4 2/3 innings of relief by giving up a lead-off single – only the third hit of his appearance – before getting the double play and recording his third strikeout to end the game.

The game-winning run was Borst’s third score of the contest, while Blake Gallagher finished 2-for-4 with three runs scored and three RBI. Darrell Doll went 2-for-4 with a triple and two RBI, Geordie McDougall had a single hit in five trips but knocked in three runs.

Jeff Nicolosi got the start for the Express and had a tough outing, giving up nine runs on nine hits. Only three of those runs were earned, though, as the Express committed four errors in the Giants’ six-run second inning. Alex Orenczuk tossed two innings of scoreless relief, Nick Falco gave up a run in 1 1/3 innings work.

Giants 7, Express 2

One night earlier, it was all hands on deck for the Express pitching staff, with control issues plaguing Millers hurlers from the opening pitch.

Nathan Slobodian got the start and surrendered two runs on a hit and four walks over two innings, followed by five relievers who gave up another seven free passes the rest of the way.

There weren’t perfect on the other side of the diamond either: Ike Buxton gave up five walks and five hits in five innings, but luck was on his side as the Express only managed to score two runs. Ryan Moroz took over in the sixth and was lights out, giving up only two hits and a pair of walks the rest of the way.

Warken and Andres Garza each had two hits for Moose Jaw, Dougie DelaCruz and Isaiah Arroyo scored the Moose Jaw runs.

The Express now have two nights off before kicking off a three-games-in-three-nights set at Ross Wells Park against the Brooks Bombers. Game time for all three contests is 7 p.m.