It's Heath Harshman's last day in the press box today before he heads back to school at Washington State. He's one of my favorite people. Granted, mostly it's because he provides us with food and drink up here, but aside from that, he's been the best media relations coordinator I can remember.
Sorry to see you go, buddy!!
Christian Bergman taking the hill today for Tri-City. He's working on a scoreless innings streak of 23 2/3 innings, which has to be a Dust Devils record. I'll have to dig up some research on that, but I think that's hardly a stretch.
In the game notes, Heath has noted that the Northwest League record for consecutive scoreless innings is 32, shared by Eugene pitchers Larry Loughlin in 1966 and Joseph Carboni in 1966. That means he needs 8 1/3 to tie the record.
He looks pretty good to start out, tossing three scoreless frames to open the game. He's thrown 40 pitches so far. He might get a little bit of leeway in terms of pitch count — he went four pitches over a 90-pitch limit in a complete-game shutout win two weeks ago. However, the Rockies won't risk Bergman hurting himself just for the sake of getting in the record book tonight. He needs a a few more 7-8 pitch innings before he can think about going that far.
Quick shout out to Mary Jo Mertens — Erik the Peanut Guy's mother. Thanks for tuning in!!
And thanks for bringing Erik into the world. It's a better place with him in it.
I'm kind of looking forward to Dusties Dash tonight. I heard that two members of the scoring/scoreboard crew — Melissa and DJ Luke — are going to race it out after the bottom of the fifth inning. They both have athletic histories and both plan on putting the hurt on the other. Luke ran track in high school, and Melissa was a softball player.
Should be fun. I'll keep you informed.
Bergman still cruising through five shutout innings. He's thrown just 17 pitches over the last two innings, giving him a 49-pitch count through five. That could make things very interesting in the later innings.
Brian Humphries tacked on an insurance run for Tri-City, teeing off on a 2-1 fastball from Boise starter Yao-Lin Wang with two outs in the third.
Dust Devils lead 2-0.
The long-awaited showdown between Luke and Melissa was an exercise in good sportsmanship. They were near the back of the line and ended up trotting it out.
A great line from Heath — "I thought it was Dusties Dash, not Dusties Mediocre Jog."
The sixth inning was a close one for Bergman, who allowed a two-out double to the Hawks leadoff man Oliver Zapata. The next hitter, Yaniel Cabezas, took him to 2-2 before grounding out to Jayson Langfels at third. Langfels took it on a short hop and looked like he might have had some trouble with the transfer from glove to hand, but he kept his cool and threw out Cabezas by two steps.
I just gave Luke a hard time about sauntering his way across the field with Melissa.
He told me he didn't have his track shoes.
Bergman still scoreless through seven, bringing him to 30 2/3. He's 1 1/3 away from tying the NWL record, but he's probably not going to finish this one. Dust Devils radio man Jason Schwartz has him at 88 pitches, and Rhett Ballard is warming up in the bullpen.
Also, Tri-City picked up another insurance run in the bottom of the sixth. Humphries is having himself quite a night. He hit a one-out double to right center — his third hit of the night — and came home on an RBI single by Tim Smalling.
3-0 Dust Devils heading to the eighth.
Rhett Ballard looking pretty good in relief. I'm noticing he's using an overhand motion now, although he's been a side-armer since he first arrived here in 2009. But it looks like it's working. His velocity is up and he's throwing strikes.
Ballard gets it done, throwing two scoreless innings for his first save of the year.
Dust Devils win it 3-0 for their second sweep of the season and first at home.