Red-hot Tahoe Twins edge Hustlers
TAHOE VISTA and#8212; Jesse Hildebrandt pitched seven strong innings, Jesse Brown went 4-for-4 to further raise his cartoon-like batting average and the Tahoe Twins defeated the Reno Hustlers, 6-5, at North Tahoe Regional Park on Sunday.
The Twins, who have now won 11 straight, improved to a league-leading 13-1-1 with the win. The Hustlers fell to 12-3-1 and are third in the Reno/Tahoe NABA standings. Four league games remain before the postseason.
Hildebrandt started and went seven innings, allowing only one unearned run in the first inning and another in the second before posting zeros the remainder of his outing. Twins manager Bob Habeger said the right-hander hasn’t given up a single earned run in his last three starts.
The Twins’ offense came to life in the third, scoring twice on a two-RBI double by Brown to tie the score. They struck for three more in the fifth to take a 5-2 lead, as Drew Lipnosky, Brown and Jamy Habeger each delivered RBI hits.
Brown, who entered the game hitting a team-leading .509, bumped his average up to a sizzling .541 on the season. The first baseman has 33 hits and 26 RBIs in 61 at-bats, with four home runs, nine doubles and a slugging percentage of .918.
He credits his success at the plate to the time and effort he’s put into his swing, as well as the momentum he carried over from an MVP season in his Arizona Winter League this past February.
and#8220;After our team folded, I spent the rest of the winter in the cages, and brought close to that same level of confidence into the Twins’ season,and#8221; said Brown, a 2004 North Tahoe High School grad. and#8220;And from there it has all just been a matter of taking it an at-bat at a time and doing whatever I can to make sure we stay in the win column every week.and#8221;
Holding onto a 6-2 lead to start the eighth, Dustin Buttner relieved Hildebrandt and quickly ran into trouble, as the Hustlers scored three runs on two walks and two hits before Habeger made the call to the bullpen with one out.
J.R. Murphy, who hasnand#8217;t played with the Twins since they won the NABA World Series title in Phoenix this past October, came in and retired the side before completing the save with a scoreless ninth. He recorded two strikeouts while giving up one hit and two walks.
and#8220;J.R. was looking good,and#8221; Habeger said of the right-hander, a 2004 Truckee High grad who still owns the Nevada career high school strikeout record. and#8220;He hadn’t pitched since the World Series, and I thought he looked real good. He was hitting his spots and he had good velocity. He came in and shut and#8216;em down, so that was good to see.and#8221;
The Twins and Hustlers tied, 2-2, in their previous meeting on June 12.
The Tahoe Braves defeated the Reno Pirates by forfeit Sunday after the Pirates arrived with only seven players.
Jack Bernardo, head coach of the Braves, said he had nearly a full roster of 16 players, as opposed to the previous week when he had just 10 guys for a doubleheader.
and#8220;Almost every single guy on my roster showed up,and#8221; he said, adding that the teams played a scrimmage instead.
The Braves improved to 6-9 with the win while the last-place Pirates dropped to 1-15.