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CARDINALS SURPRISE BRAVES

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By Patrick Lujan

Braves’ catcher John Salas tried to make the tag on Cardinals’ C.J. San Miguel as he slides safely into home plate in the fifth inning. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Braves’ catcher John Salas tried to make the tag on Cardinals’ C.J. San Miguel as he slides safely into home plate in the fifth inning. (photo by Jesse Castro)

After a debacle in Game 1 where they lost 17-0 to Da Braves, the 76 Cardinals could’ve easily folded up their canopies and head back to Agat.

Not so fast.

The Cardinals played inspired ball and scored four runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to pull off the Game 2 upset over the talent-filled Braves Friday night in their BBL Semifinal Series, tying the best-of-five series at 1-1.

Trailing 8-6 in the back-and-forth affair and only six outs left, 76 got some help from Braves reliever Cliff Raphael who had some serious control problems.

After hitting a batter and walking another, leadoff hitter Jarred Alerta drilled a single – his third of the game – to load the bases.

That’s when Jesse San Nicolas came up with a huge RBI single to cut it to 8-7. Raphael came back to hit the following two batters – Nick Cruz and Jesse Alerta  – proving to be the tying and game-winning runs, respectively. Coby Barnes added a sacrifice fly for good measure.

RJ Cruz turned out to be the winning pitcher after a superb performance in relief. (photo by Jesse Castro)

RJ Cruz turned out to be the winning pitcher after a superb performance in relief. (photo by Jesse Castro)

“We didn’t give up,” winning pitcher RJ Cruz said. “We tried our best to win this game.”

With the two-run cushion, Josh Aguigui came in to shut the door on Da Braves, finishing off the big win by striking out Braves leadoff hitter Jared Palomo looking.

“I just wanted to come in and throw strikes and work the batters,” the 25-year-old Aguigui said. “Those guys are a good team, but we’re not really celebrating anything.”

No one would blame them if they did.

It is the Cardinals first win over the Braves after seven straight losses dating back to last season – regular season and playoffs. And a lot had to do with Cruz, the 21-year-old reliever who came in and pitched well , scattering five hits over 4 1/3 innings with five strikeouts.

“My breaking ball was working for me and they were chasing a lot of my pitches,” RJ Cruz.

It was a back-and-forth game indeed with the Cardinals striking first with two runs in the first. After the Braves tied it up, 76 catcher and No. 9 batter CJ San Miguel ripped a JP Aguon fastball down the middle over the left field wall for a 3-2 Cardinals lead after two innings of play.

The Braves jump all over Cardinals starter Randall Yasuhiro with four runs in the fourth behind a two-run single from John Salas and RBI singles by Chad Palomo and Rico Castro.

76 would come right back to tie it again with three runs in the fifth behind a two-run single by Jesse Alerta and a run-scoring double from Coby Barnes down the third base line just fair.

Cardinals Jarred Alerta begins his slide to steal second base as Braves second baseman TJ Sarmiento moves to catch the ball. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Cardinals Jarred Alerta begins his slide to steal second base as Braves second baseman TJ Sarmiento moves to catch the ball. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Peter Guerrero and Dominic Cruz drove in runs for the Braves in the sixth for their 8-6 advantage, leading up to the big Cardinals outburst in the eighth.

Jarred Alerta went 3-for-5 from the Cardinals leadoff spot, getting three of the team’s eight hits.

TJ Sarmiento, Salas and Chad Palomo all had two hits for the Braves. All 11 hits from the Braves were singles. Leadoff hitter Jared Palomo was 0-for-5 with three strikeouts.

The game lasted 3 hours, 50 minutes.

Game 3 is slated for Thursday night.

 

PHOTO GALLERY BROUGHT TO YOU BY:

http://www.akguam.com/ou/tamuning-scion/

Cardinals starter Randall Yasuhiro went 3 2/3 innings before being relieved by RJ Cruz. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Cardinals starter Randall Yasuhiro went 3 2/3 innings before being relieved by RJ Cruz. (photo by Jesse Castro)

After scooping up a grounder, Cardinals shortstop Nick Cruz looks to first base before sending the ball to make the out. (photo by Jesse Castro)

After scooping up a grounder, Cardinals shortstop Nick Cruz looks to first base before sending the ball to make the out. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Braves starter JP Aguon pitched 4 2/3 innings and mowed down seven straight batters in one stretch. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Braves starter JP Aguon pitched 4 2/3 innings and mowed down seven straight batters in one stretch. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Braves Pete Guerrero drives in TJ Sarmiento on this first inning sac fly. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Braves Pete Guerrero drives in TJ Sarmiento on this first inning sac fly. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Jeanette Superales was the GSPN trivia winner, answering the question "How much was the entrance fee to a 1976 GML game?" The correct answer is 25 cents. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Jeanette Superales was the GSPN trivia winner, answering the question “How much was the entrance fee to a 1976 GML game?” The correct answer is 25 cents. (photo by Jesse Castro)

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