Winnipeg Free Press Newspaper Archives Jul 11 2015, Page 57

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Winnipeg Free Press (Newspaper) - July 11, 2015, Winnipeg, Manitoba C M Y K PAGE C2 C 2 WINNIPEG FREE PRESS, SATURDAY, JULY 11, 2015 BASEBALL winnipegfreepress. com © 2015 H- D or its affiliates. H- D, Harley, Harley- Davidson and the Bar & Shield logo are among the t rad ema rks of H- D U. S. A., LLC. www. harleydavidsonwinnipeg. ca | 1377 NIAKWA RD. EAST | 204 - 254 - 3974 The 75 TH Sturgis ® Motorcycle Rally TM is right around the corner. Make this your year to join the celebration on a new Harley- Davidson ® motorcycle. No excuses. 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ION MILES OF ROAD. AL .. LEAD TO STURGIS. W HEN Winnipeg Goldeyes manager Rick Forney asked rookie catcher Chris Robinson to give his pal Robby Spencer a ring about his availability, Robinson was more than happy to oblige. “ I told Rick that I’d love to have him here,” Robinson said. “ He’s a great shortstop, a great teammate.” Spencer jumped on a plane Wednesday and was in the lineup for the Goldeyes’ 6- 0 loss to the Fargo- Moorhead RedHawks on Thursday. “ I wasn’t really doing anything,” Spencer said. “ I had a tryout with a team in St. Louis coming up this week, but when Chris told me there was an opportunity here, I was like, ‘ Sure, I’m very interested.’ ” Bing, bang, boom. After tearing up the college ranks with the Morehead State University Eagles last season, Robinson and Spencer have been reunited. Mind you, it was just a monthand- a- half ago when Robinson from Uxbridge, Ont., and Spencer out of El Paso, Texas, were celebrating the Ohio Valley Conference championship they helped secure for their alma mater. Robinson was acquired, ironically enough, on Canada Day by the club in Forney’s continued efforts to tinker with his sub- optimal lineup. It’s been so far so good for Robinson, who, coming into Friday night’s contest with the league- best St. Paul Saints, was sporting a .303 batting average with 10 hits and two RBIs. Not too shabby for a guy still trying to acclimate to the professional game. “ The college game is a lot different than the pro game,” Robinson said. “ Here it’s a baseball grind as opposed to school and baseball. These guys ( in the clubhouse) have been helping me out a lot, how to prepare yourself for the grind. Just a lot of little tricks.” Robinson and Spencer are no strangers to success, wrapping up their collegiate careers as conference tournament champions — a first since 1993 for the school — while also propelling the Eagles to their first NCAA regional appearance since 1983. The team led the nation in five statistical categories, including a .332 batting average, .516 slugging percentage and registering 8.4 runs per game on average. Robinson was also honoured as the 2015 OVC player of the year, while being named to three all- American teams following his senior year in Kentucky — all for good reason, as he finished second in hits and runs per game and sixth in RBIs. Spencer, who hit right behind Robinson all season, batted .340 with 22 doubles and eight dingers. His 71 RBIs were tied for second most in school history and was seventh in the NCAA with 1.18 RBIs per game. Both passed through the MLB draft without being selected and both feel they have much to prove, but are being aided by a little chip on their shoulders. “ It’s just a little more fuel to the fire,” Spencer said. “ I feel I always kind of have a chip on my shoulder, it’s the hockey player coming out in me and I feel people appreciate that,” Robinson added. “ I guess you could say I have something to prove, but I just got here and I want to get better. My role on this team is to keep my head down and play hard.” scott. billeck@ freepress. mb. ca Fish hope to enjoy college reunion Robinson, Spencer teammates once again By Scott Billeck T he Winnipeg Goldeyes can’t buy a win at Shaw Park, or a run for that matter. A 10- 2 loss Friday night to the league- leading St. Paul Saints dropped the Fish to a 6- 14 record at home. In what’s become typical Goldeyes fashion, the home team found itself chasing the game after the top of the first inning. Back- to- back singles from Ian Gac and Angelo Songco combined to drive home Vinny DiFazio from second base after starting pitcher Coby Cowgill walked him to open the game. Much has been said about Winnipeg’s starters, and their bullpen along with it. But over the past nine games, Fish hurlers have posted five quality starts. It’s a marked improvement for the struggling Goldeyes. Up until this past week, the Goldeyes hadn’t posted back- to- back wins from their aces. They also combined with the bullpen in pitching a shutout Wednesday, also another first. It’s better, sure. But it’s nowhere near perfect yet. The Saints doubled their lead in the top of the fifth, as Alonzo Harris caught one on the sweet spot and watched it sail over the left- field wall to make it 2- 0. Cowgill wouldn’t make it to the quality- start threshold, getting the hook 5 1/ 3 innings in. A pair of doubles — by outfielder Mike Kvasnicka and third baseman Joey Paciorek — moved the Saints into a 3- 0 lead. Paciorek moved to third on a wild pitch by Cowgill, who then gave up a single to shortstop Anthony Phillips to make it 4- 0. Cowgill falls to 2- 2 in the year after giving up four runs on eight hits with a lone strikeout. His relievers didn’t fare much better, giving up two runs in each of the seventh, eighth and ninth innings. Meanwhile, veteran pitcher Kyle Anderson said Friday morning he’s not frustrated with the lack of run support ( the Fish are averaging 3.42 runs per outing). Despite holding the fourth best team batting average in the American Association, the Goldeyes sit ninth in runs scored ( 208). The Goldeyes offence threatened in the bottom of the sixth, putting runners on the corner with one out. But Casey Haerther grounded into a 1- 6- 3 double- play, his second of the night, to end the threat. Rookie Goldeyes catcher Chris Robinson was 3- for- 4, including his first professional home run. Dustin Crenshaw threw a completegame effort, allowing nine hits for his seventh win of the year. The Fish are back tonight for the second of a four- game set with St. Paul. First pitch is slated for 6 p. m. — Billeck DAN LEMOAL / WINNIPEG GOLDEYES Goldeyes rookie catcher Chris Robinson singles during first- inning American Association action Friday night against the St. Paul Saints in Winnipeg. PAUL MCKEEN / WINNIPEG GOLDEYES BASEBALL CLUB Saints shortstop Anthony Phillips completes a double- play Friday over a sliding Chris Robinson. Saints’ bats pummel Fish C_ 02_ Jul- 11- 15_ FP_ 01. indd C2 7/ 10/ 15 10: 28: 35 PM

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