The Brainerd Mighty Gulls split a double-header with the Grand Forks Channel Cats Monday night at Mills Field.
Andy Wilson battled the elements in the second game as the wind picked up and rain began to fall as he defeated the Channel Cats 2-0. The Gulls lost the opening game of the double-header 3-1.
Wilson threw six complete innings, allowing six hits, five walks, recorded nine strikeouts and gave up no runs. He was relieved by Al Bomer who shut down the Channel Cats in the seventh inning to seal the Gulls' victory.
"The weather played a bit of a factor," said Wilson. "It's not fun to pitch when it's cool and wet. It also makes your arm tighten-up a little, other than that it's not too bad."
In just his second appearance on the mound, Wilson was ready to pitch.
"I'm feeling real comfortable now," said Wilson. "The first time I threw I hadn't thrown in about three weeks. Now I'm back at it and I feel comfortable out there."
"He pitched well," said Gulls coach Eric Coleman on Wilson's performance. "It was only his second time out and he threw strikes. Fortunately, we played good defense behind him and got the win."
Sam Steidl and Rick Helland each had hits and drove in a run and Joe Lima had the third hit for the Gulls.
In the opener, Scott Beshears gave the Gulls their only run in the bottom of the fifth inning with a solo home run over the right field wall. This was the first Gulls home run hit at Mills Field this season. Beshears ended the game 2-for-3.
"The first time up I got jammed a little bit," said Beshears. "I changed my swing a bit and made an adjustment to it so I could turn on something. Sure enough next time up he left one inside that I turned on."
Beshears lined the inside fast ball out of the park about 360 feet to right field.
Mike Ziroli suffered the tough loss as he pitched a complete seven inning game allowing just four hits, one earned run, six walks, and striking out 11.
Grand Forks scored all three runs in the top of the third inning.
With a runner on first, the Channel Cats bunted the ball Back to Ziroli which he fielded to his right. With his body off balance, he threw the ball away down the right field line. The runner from first scored and the batter made it all the way to third. The next batter doubled to score the run. He later scored on a single.
In the bottom of the sixth inning, Channel Cats pitcher Kevin Marchael dodged the bullet.
The Gulls had runners on first and second with two outs and Luke Appert at the plate. Marchael threw an inside fast ball that Appert turned on and belted high and deep down the right field line. The ball sailed over the fence but was about five feet foul. Appert then grounded out to the end the inning.
In the bottom of the seventh with two outs and Beshears on second base, Marchael struck out Mike McCoy to end the game.
The Gulls are now 10-13 as they stay ahead of Grand Forks by a half a game for second place in the Northern Division. The Gulls will open a two game serious with St. Cloud today in St. Cloud. The Gulls are on the road for seven days as they will play St. Cloud, Wausau, and Minot before coming home to play Waterloo on the Fourth of July. That game time has been changed to 1 p.m.
Grand Forks 003 000 0 -- 3 4 0
Brainerd 000 010 0 -- 1 5 2
Grand Forks --Ryan Hawley, Kevin Marchael (6) and Dan Jones; Brainerd --Mike Ziroli and Ryan Wickham. WP --Hawley (2-2). LP --Ziroli (3-2). HR --Brd-Beshears. 2B --GF-Adam Suess, Tim Spooner.
Grand Forks 000 000 0 -- 0 6 1
Brainerd 020 000 x -- 2 3 1
Grand Forks --Justin Combs and Josh Shackelford; Brainerd --Andy Wilson, Al Bomer (7). WP --Wilson. LP --Combs. Attendance --376. Overall --Brd 10-13, GF 9-14. Next game --Brd-at St. Cloud today at 7:05.
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