The St. Cloud Rox had no trouble rising and shining Tuesday as they rolled to a 13-8 win over the Bismarck Larks and a sweep of their Northwoods League series at Bismarck Municipal Ballpark.
The Rox, who beat the Larks 4-0 behind great pitching on Monday night, got up from the breakfast table and started swinging in a game that started at 11:05.
“It’s early morning, the eyes are probably wide open after eating a good breakfast,” Rox manager Augie Rodriquez said. “Tip my cap to our hitters.”
St. Cloud banged out 14 hits, three of those by Matt Tarantino. The Rox took advantage of control problems by five Bismarck pitchers.
The Larks walked 11 St. Cloud batters and hit another. Of those, seven eventually scored in what turned into a nightmare after the Larks took a 4-1 lead after one inning.
St. Cloud’s leadoff hitters reached base in each of the first eight innings.
“I used a different lineup than I did yesterday, just trying to find the right mix of guys,” Rodriquez added. “We’re getting close.”
Right-fielder Shane Selman had two hits, including a double, scored twice and drove in two runs.
Frank Greco started for the Larks and gave up a run in the first.
Leadoff hitter Drew Avans walked and stole second – one of six steals by the Rox and three by Avans, who scored three runs.
Avans scored when Matt Tarantino extended his hitting streak to eight games with a single to left-center with one out. Tarantino was 3-for-6 with two RBIs.
Angelo Altavilla, Eric Feliz and Ricardo Sanchez had two hits apiece. Feliz and Sanchez drove in two runs each.
Unlike Monday, this time the Larks had an answer – make that four answers.
Four of the Larks’ first five batters scored. Cooper Coldiron drove in two runs with a one-out single and Mason Pierzchalski and Trever Leingang also drove in runs.
The Larks’ big first inning gave Greco some room to work.
Scooter Bynum led off with a walk, went to second on an error by first baseman Brendan Illies and scored on Pierzchalski’s single. Austin Paschke, who reached on an error, and Ryan Anderson, who walked, scored on Coldiron’s single to center.
With two outs, Leingang lined a single to center scoring Pierzchalski. But David Salguiero was thrown out at home by Avans to end the inning.
The Larks kept hitting, but couldn’t keep up with their pitching woes.
“It’s baseball. You can’t be too frustrated, you just go from here,” Bynum said. “We’re going to mesh one of these days, we just have to put it together.”
Bynum moved from ninth in the order to leadoff and promptly went 4-for-5 with a homer and three runs scored. He also walked once.
“It would be nice if we could do that every day,” said Bynum, who smacked an opposite-field homer to left in the eighth inning. “It’s baseball. You can’t be too frustrated, you just go from here.”
Gallagher had three hits, including a two-run homer in the sixth and drove in two runs. Ryan Anderson and two hits, a double included, and Cooper Colidiron had two hits.
The Rox scored two in the second, three in the third and two in the fourth. They added three more in the sixth and two in the eighth.
Greco went 2.2 innings and allowed six runs – five earned – on six hits. He walked four.
Subsequent relievers fared no better. Carson Selin gave up two hits and two runs in 2.1 innings; Connor Hillburn allowed three runs in two-thirds of an inning; Parker Harm walked three but came out after 1.1 innings without allowing a run; and Trenton Stoltz gave up three hits and two runs in two innings.
The Rox left nine men on base, while the Larks – who had 15 hits – stranded 12.
“I’ve been in this league seven years and I understand the ups and downs. My job is to find a way to keep them positive and motivated throughout the whole game,” Rodriquez said.
Rox reliever Bailey Hansen was awarded the win. He went two innings and allowed two hits and a run. Starter Kenny Saenz exceeded the single-inning limit of 35 pitches in the first inning. Two of the four runs he allowed were earned.