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Miller Express come out on short end of pitching duel

Swift Current scores three in 12th to take 6-3 win at Ross Wells Park
The Moose Jaw Miller Express have evolved into a team that appears more than capable of getting things done defensively during first month of the Western Major Baseball League season.

The last two weeks have seen their starting pitchers hold their opponents to less than three runs an outing night in and night out, with the only question being whether or not their bats would be just as effective.

Thursday night at Ross Wells Park offered the latest example, as the Express were unable to take advantage of a quality start from Michael Ross and ended up dropping a 6-3 12-inning decision to the Swift Current 57’s.

Ross gave up two runs on six hits and struck out six over six innings, leaving the contest in a 2-2 tie after the 57’s scored single runs in each of the first and second innings before the Express responded with a pair in the fourth.

Swift Current retook the lead in the seventh, when the first three batters reached base off reliever Reece Helland before Tanner Holen hit into a fielder’s choice to score James Moses from third.

The 57’s wouldn’t be able to make that lead stick, though, as Michael Borst and Darrell Doll hit back-to-back two-out doubles in the eighth to bring home Borst with the tying run.

The contest became a battle of bullpens from there, as Jaden Hoffman and Jack Gamba each tossed two scoreless innings of relief for the Express – Gamba striking out five of the six batters he faced, part of 17 strikeouts for Millers pitchers on the night.

Garrett Alexander was just as effective for the 57’s, giving up a single hit over 3 1/3 innings of work.

Swift Current finally broke the tie in third extra inning, taking advantage of a rare off outing by standout Express hurler Blake Gallagher to score three runs on three hits and take the 6-3 lead.

Dougie DelaCruz led off the Express half of the 12th with a base hit off 57’s  reliever Graeme Cherry, but a double play and ground out later and the marathon had come to an end.

Tyler Murphy got the start on the mound for Swift Current, giving up two runs on five hits and striking out nine in the no decision.

Borst led the offence with a 3-for-5 outing and a pair of runs scored; Kiel Krumwielde was Swift Current’s offensive leader with a 4-for-4 showing, two runs scored and an RBI.

The Express fell to 11-11 with the loss and are 6 ½ games back of the Eastern Division-leading Regina Red Sox (16-3) while leading the Melville Millionaires by three games for the final playoff spot.

Next up for Moose Jaw are the Yorkton Cardinals (2-19) on Friday night at Ross Wells Park. Game time is 7 p.m.

Extra innings… With a rare Saturday night off, the Miller Express are putting the time to good use while looking to add a few dollars to their bank account. The Express will be holding a Half-Rack Ribs Fundraiser at the Crushed Can Sports Bar and Nightclub this Saturday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.. Tickets are $20 each and available at the park on gameday and at the door the night of.

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