SALT LAKE CITY — With all of the ups and downs the Salt Lake Bees endured in their game against the Nashville Sounds on Sunday afternoon, it was more than appropriate for the contest to be decided by a walk-off home run in extra innings.
“It’s a crazy game,” Bees manager Keith Johnson said after his team prevailed, 8-7, in 10 innings at Spring Mobile Ballpark.
“Today in particular, but the game of baseball in general, it’s a crazy game,” he continued. “You never know when you’re out of it and you never know when that winning run’s going to score.”
After the Bees dug an early hole, took back the lead, surrendered it late, and then re-tied the score, catcher Luke Carlin created that winning run, blasting a two-RBI shot past the right-field fence with his only hit of the day.
“I faced him in the ninth, so that at-bat in the 10th I had a good idea of what he had,” Carlin said of Nashville closer Rob Wooten. “I figured I was going to get something soft. (I) got lucky.”
Carlin’s hit capped a crazy final two innings in which the teams combined for 10 runs after scoring just five total in the first eight innings.
Although both teams struggled to find momentum, the Bees held a 3-2 lead going into the ninth inning until Sounds center fielder Josh Prince hit a bases-loaded double to give Nashville control. Salt Lake responded with doubles from Roberto Lopez and Brad Hawpe to tie the score, 5-5, and force extra innings.
“You get four at-bats, sometimes five at-bats, a night and the biggest at-bat you’re going to have that particular night is the next one,” Johnson said of the back-and-forth aspect of the game. “I don’t care if you’re 4 for 4 going into that fifth at-bat. It might be the winning run out there on second base and two outs. And that’s what our guys did a good job of today. Regardless of what they did earlier in the game, whether it was good, bad or otherwise, they came and put together some good approaches late and made some good, solid contact, and we were able to erase two deficits.”
The Bees finished with 15 hits and eight RBIs, led by a 3-for-5 performance from first baseman Efren Navarro. Salt Lake also stole five bases and hit five doubles to combat leaving a record-tying 16 runners stranded.
The squads used a combined 11 pitchers Sunday, including Bees starter Jarrett Grube, who gave up six hits and walked three batters but struck out eight in six innings of work.
“Grube got himself into some bad counts in those middle innings, but he was able to limit them to single runs,” Johnson said of the starter, who allowed two earned runs. “All we ask of our starters is when they leave the game to leave it with us in position to possibly win it. And he did that for us today.”
Sounds starter Frankie De La Cruz went five innings, striking out five and giving up six hits, three walks and one earned run.
With the win, the Bees improve to 21-23 overall, while Nashville drops to 12-20. Salt Lake holds now a 2-2 record against the Sounds this season.
Bees 8, Sounds 7 (10)
In short: Salt Lake's Luke Carlin hit a two-RBI walk-off home run to cap a back-and-forth game for the Bees.
Up next: vs. Memphis, today, 6:35 p.m. Redbirds RHP Boone Whiting (1-0, 1.80 ERA) vs. TBD
Next homestand: June 1-4 vs. Colorado Springs (Rockies).
Sarah Thomas is a graduate of the University of Utah and has been covering sports for the Deseret News since 2008. EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org
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