Saturday, October 22, 2005

NLDS Recap: Game 4

The faithful at Network Associates Coliseum had the brooms out hoping for a sweep of the Pike Rangers, and the hometown California Terrapins did not disappoint. Terrapins’ starter Joel Pineiro and reliever Travis Harper combined on a two hitter for a 5-1 victory to close out the series with the Rangers.

The Terrapins opened the scoring in the bottom of the second inning against Rangers starter Chris Saenz. Adam Dunn began the inning by striking out, but John Mabry stroked a single to right. After Mike Lowell popped out to catcher A.J. Pierzynski, Adam LaRoche singled and Royce Clayton walked to load the bases. Benjie Molina then grounded one up the middle that scored Mabry and LaRoche for a 2-0 Terrapins lead.

In the bottom of the third the Terrapins struck again. This time following a lead off single by Mark Kotsay, Albert Pujols delivered his fourth homer of the series, this one to deep left field, giving the Terrapins a 4-0 lead.

The Rangers only real threat came in the fourth when they loaded the bases with no one out. An error, a walk, a single and a sacrifice fly by Dave Dellucci netted one run, but that was all the Rangers could manage. The Rangers only other challenge was a lead off double by Kit Pellow in the seventh, but Pineiro stranded him there.

The Terrapins final run of the evening came in the bottom of the seventh. Kotsay led off the inning with a double, but was doubled up trying to advance on a fly ball to centerfield on a good throw from Kenny Lofton. However, Ranger reliever Bobby Howry walked Adam Dunn and then allowed a single to Mabry, which moved Dunn up to second. Lowell then followed with a single that drove home Dunn with the last run in the Terrapins 5-1 victory.

After the game, Ranger general manager, Tom Carusillo commented, “Though they took nine of twelve from us in the regular season, I hoped we would have a better showing. Obviously, they are the better team and we wish them luck.”

The celebration in the Terrapins clubhouse was spirited, but unobtrusive. While the players and coaches toasted victory with champagne and beer, GM Michael McKee was more reflective. "We have the utmost respect for the Pike players and their entire organization. They are a class act. We expected this to be a hard fought series, and it was. All of the games were closer than they appeared and we were fortunate to play well and get some breaks. The Rangers hit the ball hard the entire series with men on, but luckily for us, it was right at someone and our guys made the plays. Not enough can be said about our team and the way they prepared for this series. We knew we would have to play well, and the veterans on the team responded to the challenge. We are looking forward to the League Championship Series and playing whoever survives the Orlando-Portland series.

The Terrapins now move on to the National League Championship Series.


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