Sabre Dogs win five straight, top Jacks 10-4

Ryan Ladika/MDN Justin Cooper, pictured from Souris Valley's July 2 contest, earned a walk and a single through the first two innings Wednesday night, scoring twice.

The Souris Valley Sabre Dogs enjoyed a burst of early offense in the third of their four-game road set against the Wheat City Whiskey Jacks Wednesday evening, clinching the series victory with their 10-4 victory, as well as the team’s fifth win in a row.

The first two games of the series contained no shortage of high-octane offense, and Wednesday evening’s contest was no different. The Dogs jumped out to an early 6-0 advantage over the Jacks thanks to a four-run first inning and two more scores in the top of the second.

Facing right-hander Sam Marhefke in his 14th start of the season, Souris Valley exploded at the plate in the top of the first inning. Justin Cooper worked a leadoff walk and Declan Buckle followed with a single to set the table with two runners on base for Drew Miller.

Miller put the ball in play right to third base, but a Wheat City error allowed Cooper to race around and notch the game’s first run.

Ethan Moore then strode to the plate with a pair of runners on, and wasted no time cranking his seventh home run of the season, a three-run shot, to extend the Dogs’ lead to 4-0 before the Jacks could record a single out. The long ball was Moore’s first since July 18, breaking a five-game drought.

Souris Valley pounced on Marhefke once again in the second when three consecutive Dogs reached with one out. Cooper ignited the rally with a single and Buckle was hit by a pitch, as both reached safely through their first two plate appearances.

Miller, again with a prime run-scoring opportunity, cashed in with a run-scoring single that forced home Souris Valley’s third run of the game, marking his 29th RBI of the season.

Moore followed with a sacrifice fly to center field that sent Buckle home, giving the first baseman four RBI through the first two frames and an even 40 in his 37 games this season.

Dominick Parkhurst, meanwhile, turned in one of his most impressive outings of the season behind his team’s early run support. Making his eighth start of the season, the righty worked around two singles in the bottom of the first inning and authored a perfect second on the strength of three flyouts to right and center field.

He stretched his string of consecutive hitters retired to seven with a clean third before he ran into a bit of trouble in the bottom of the fourth. Wheat City hitters Jake Hjelle and Coby Tweten recorded back-to-back singles to begin the frame, and a wild pitch and RBI single by Rhett Stein cut into the Dogs’ lead a bit, trimming the Souris Valley advantage to 6-2.

After allowing the Jacks’ third run on an RBI groundout in the bottom of the fifth, Parkhurst locked back in for the sixth inning. He whiffed his third hitter of the evening for the first out, and earned his fourth strikeout in a scoreless seventh.

Head coach Alex Miklos turned to his bullpen for the home half of the eighth, no doubt gleaming with pride for the strong start his team received from Parkhurst. The Tucson, Arizona native finished his outing with only three runs allowed in seven innings of work, the third start he has turned in this season of at least seven innings pitched and his fourth official quality start.

Souris Valley had added on two more in the top of the seventh before Parkhurst’s departure via an Aaron Suval RBI double, his second two-bagger of the season, and a sacrifice fly from Reece Anderson. The Dogs’ 10th run of the evening came an inning later thanks to Taylor Justus’ RBI single that scored Miller. The hit was Justus’ third of the evening, giving the catcher his third three-hit game of the season and first since July 7.

Jaiden Beck relieved Parkhurst in the eighth, making his 14th appearance out of the bullpen this season. A Jacks leadoff double paved way for the home squad’s fourth run of the evening, but the right-hander stopped the damage there, tossing two innings of one-run ball to seal Souris Valley’s 10-4 victory and fifth win in a row.

The winning effort also marked the Dogs’ third straight game scoring double-digit runs, and Souris Valley has now outscored Wheat City 32-21 entering the final game of the series.

The Dogs will look for the four-game sweep of the Jacks, as well as their sixth consecutive victory, Thursday evening at 7:05 p.m. before beginning a weekend series with the Spearfish Sasquatch.


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