Better suited for basketball?
When I got to Memorial Stadium and surveyed the Eugene Emeralds, one thing that really surprised me was how big the San Diego Padres affiliate was – players 6-4, 6-5, 6-6…but the one that surprised me was six-foot, eight-inch, 250 pound Nate Freiman, a behemoth of a first baseman for the Ems. The former Duke Blue Devil and college teammate of current Hawk Matt Williams, looked more like he should have been playing for Mike Krzyzewski’s basketball team.
However, for the Hawks – and especially reliever Josh Whitlock, they found out first hand why Freiman wasn’t on the basketball court, as the big man slugged a pair of home runs, including a back-breaking seventh inning grand slam to help Eugene extend the Hawks losing streak to five with a 8-0 loss.
The loss spoiled an outstanding start by Boise left-hander, Jeff Antigua, who took a no-hitter into the fifth inning, allowing just one hit, walking two, and striking out four. The 19-year-old kept Eugene off-balance all night, working out of jams in both the second and fourth innings – lowering his team-leading ERA to 1.38.
Unfortunately, the Hawks could not get anything going with the bats for the second-straight night, mustering just four singles – and despite having a runner aboard in each of the first three innings, double plays erased the threat.
Kudos go to multiple ways tonight as well – first for Mike Sharp, who has never called a baseball game live before, stepping in for me in the second inning as I battled the stomach flu – great job Sharpie!!! Also kudos to the Boise fans, as nearly 4,000 Hawks faithful braved the near 100-degree heat tonight – the largest crowd of the season (and we could have probably fit more in the stadium – as Everett had 4,300, Salem-Keizer 4,800, and Spokane 7,200). Finally, what a fireworks show after the game – especially after the clunkers of fireworks shows at Salem-Keizer and Tri-City, the fans definitely got their monies worth.
THE BACON: The Hawks have not scored a run in 20 consecutive innings, failing to push a runner to third base in any of the frames…Boise has not hit a home run in eight-straight games, including no homers at home, and rank last in the NWL with two round-trippers…Hak-Ju Lee committed an error for the third-straight game and leads the league with ten miscues.
NOTES: The Chicago Cubs made a pair of roster moves involving the Hawks today – as Matt Cerda was sent to Mesa for an injury rehab, while Kevin Soto heads to Mesa to play in the Arizona Rookie League…Brett Jackson made his Boise debut tonight, going 1-for-4.