Zach Kirtley’s three-run blast, his first of two on the game, capped a five spot in the fourth inning as the New York Boulders defeated the Sussex County Miners 12-7 at Palisades Credit Union Park on Wednesday night exactly 10 years after the franchise played their first game.
Todd Frazier, a two-time All-Star for the Cincinnati Reds, did not disappoint in his debut in Pomona. Starting at third base, he went 1-for-3 with two runs scored and his first home run in the Frontier League.
The Miners got off to a fast start in the opening frame. With two outs and nobody on, Audy Ciriaco walked, advanced to second on a wild pitch, and came around to score on Martin Figueroa’s bloop single.
Sussex County tacked on two more in the second thanks to some sloppy defense by the Boulders. After Frazier was hit by a pitch, Cito Culver’s grounder to first went under the glove of Ray Hernandez and into right field. Frazier scored and Culver made it all the way to third on the three-base error. Joey Rose followed with a sacrifice fly to extend the lead to three.
It took until the bottom of the fourth inning, but the Boulders’ bats finally woke up in a major way. Tucker Nathans singled with one out and Zach Penprase continued the rally with a single to right. The ball was misplayed by Chuck Taylor, allowing Nathans to come home with their first run of the game as Penprase went safely to third.
Milton Smith knocked in Penprase with an RBI groundout to second to cut the Miners’ lead to just one. With two down and the bases empty, Phil Capra and Jack Sundberg slapped back-to-back hits to keep the inning alive. Kirtley cashed in on the opportunity, mashing one deep over the left field wall to give the Boulders their first lead of the game.
Tucker Nathans added some insurance in the fifth as he golfed first home run of the season.
In the top of the sixth, the Miners tried to claw their way back. A two-out walk by Ciriaco preceded a two-run shot by Figueroa that just made it out of the grasp of right fielder Kevonte Mitchell and over the short porch.
However, the Boulders put down the comeback threat with a six-run explosion in their half of the seventh inning. Kirtley lead off with his second homer of the game, a bomb to right center. Hernandez and Ryan Ramiz maintained the hit parade with a single apiece. Penprase’s second hit drove in his first run of the game. Smith then walked, giving Capra the chance to rip his first extra-base hit of the season down the right field line, bringing in two more. Sundberg followed with a two-run double of his own to make it a 12-5 ballgame.
Ben Strahm picked up his first win of the season for the Boulders. He was effective in his 5 2/3 innings of work, giving up five runs (three of which were earned) on five hits and two walks while striking out a pair.
The losing pitcher for the Miners was Billy Layne Jr. He got hit hard in his six innings pitched to the tune of seven runs allowed on eight hits and a walk.
The Boulders will aim to complete the sweep tomorrow night at 7 p.m. as they finish up their series against the Miners.