The Laredo Lemurs are in the thick of the playoff hunt, for both the South division and the Wild Card in the American Association. Standing in their way is a Texas AirHogs team trying to play spoiler. The AirHogs sent out Diego Ibarra, making his professional debut, to try and slow down the Lemurs bats. Ibarra was good, but the Lemurs pitchers were better. Laredo shutout Texas 1-0, riding Denis Phipps’ solo home run to victory.
Gabe Perez made his second start of the season for the Lemurs and was nearly unhittable. He allowed a leadoff double to start the second inning and then rattled off four straight strikeouts. That double would be the only hit he allowed and he finished the night retiring 14 of the last 15 batters he faced. Overall, Perez tossed six shutout innings allowing one hit, hitting a batter, and striking out ten. Those 10 strikeouts tied the high for a single game for a Lemurs’ pitcher this season with the 10 Ryan Beckman struckout over nine innings onJune 25th in Sioux Falls.
The Laredo bullpen was equally as dominant as Perez. Kamakani Usui, Danny Reynolds, and Luis De La Cruz combined to throw three innings of shutout, one hit, baseball. Each reliever struck out a batter in their inning of work. The closest the AirHogs came to scoring was in the ninth inning, De La Cruz gave up a leadoff single to AirHogs catcher Michael Miller. He was pushed to second base on a sacrifice bunt. But De La Cruz settled in and struck out Juan Sanchez. Then, with two outs and the tying run at second, the AirHogs sent the league leader in home runs, Burt Reynolds, to the plate. Reynolds would hit a 1-0 pitch in to right field where Denis Phipps made the catch and ended the game.
Ibarra had a great outing in his professional debut, allowing eight hits and a run, while waling one and striking out two over 7.2 innings.The AirHogs bullpen was good as well, with Cody Culp striking out the one batter he faced and Trey Masek throwing a scoreless inning.
At the Plate, the Lemurs got just the solo home run in the fourth inning from Denis Phipps. They had another big scoring chance with two outs nad the bases loaded in the fifth inning with Phipps again at the plate. He would smoke a ball, but it was hit right at second baseman Brian Bistagne. Bistagne would handle the hot-shot and end the inning, keeping the game at 1-0.
With the win, Laredo is 10-1 against Texas this season. The Lemurs will play game two of their three game series on Tuesday against the AirHogs as they continue to push for a playoff spot.