Mando Verdugo was homerless for Helena two years ago and spent last season moving furniture, not baserunners. Now a Trapper, the catcher proved he can beat Brewer fences Saturday night, ripping two homers and driving in four runs as Salt Lake beat Helena 11-5 at Legion Field.
Greg Ehmig also homered, his eighth, driving in three in the ninth, and league batting-average leader Kelly Zane had the first Trapper five-hit game of the season in a season-high 19-hit attack.The win moved the Trappers to 17-9, first in the Pioneer South. They've won four straight, eight of nine. The Brewers, who've lost five of last six after holding the league's best record, dropped to 15-8.
The Trappers spotted the Brewers a 4-1 lead in the first two innings, but Ehmig led off the third by getting in the way of a pitch, and Kerry Shaw singled to set up Verdugo's first homer of the night, a three-run shot to tie the score at 4-4. Tommy Boyce walked following the homer and scored on two Helena errors on a ball hit by Pat Waid to give the Traps a lead they never relinquished.
Verdugo's second homer came in the eighth, a solo effort. It gave him six homers in his last six games and a league-leading nine for the season.
The Trappers upped their lead to 7-4 in the fourth inning on a single by Ehmig, run-scoring double by Shaw and RBI single by Boyce.
Fred Riscen, the league-leading strikeout pitcher, struck out only one while throwing five innings but ran his record to 3-0. Lee Carballo relieved Riscen in the sixth and walked four straight to cut the lead to 7-5. Verdugo's homer made it 8-5 in the eighth. Sean Johnson and Michael Gibbons combined to finish.
The Traps and Brews play tonight, Monday and Tuesday at 7 each.