Tue, May 27, 2003 - Page 19 News List

New Agan manager gets firrst win while facing Bulls

By Paul Huang  /  CONTRIBUTING REPORTER

The long awaited first victory for new First Securities Agan skipper Tsai Rong-tsung (蔡榮宗) finally came on the series finale against perennial rivals the Sinon Bulls in Kaohsiung on Saturday night. Tsai took over the leading role from former manager Hsu Sheng-ming (徐生明) two weeks ago. The win snapped the Agan's eight-game losing streak and prevented a series sweep by the Bulls.

Agan starter Liang Rue-hao (梁如豪) bounced back from his shortest outing of the season on Wednesday night, where he gave up four runs before being relieved during the first inning, keeping potent Bulls hitters to just two runs on four hits in six innings of play.

Reliever Lee Fong-hua (李風華) pitched three near-perfect innings for his fourth save of the season as he faced only one more than the minimum nine hitters over three innings of relief duty. Lee has saved four of Liang's five victories this year.

Tsai Chung-nan's (蔡仲南) effort was only the second shutout win recorded by a local pitcher. The Bulls pitcher has now won six in a row, tying teammate Jeff Andra for the league's second-best mark with seven wins.

The most anticipated matchup of the week was the three-game series between the second-placed Chinatrust Whales and the third-placed President Lions, with the series ending 1-1-1.

A whale of a time

The series began with the favored Whales taking the first game in Hsinchuang in a 4-1 win on Thursday. Four costly Lions errors led to three unearned runs against Lions starter Joe Davenport, denying the pitcher a chance to win his ninth game of the season.

Game two of the series on Saturday in Tienmu was a 2-2 affair until Whales first baseman Hung Chi-fong (洪啟峰) busted the game wide open in the eighth inning with his two-run blast over the left field fence. Newly acquired third baseman Juan Melo of the Dominican Republic added another homer, making the score 5-2 after eight innings of play.

Led by second baseman Yoshimi Hiroaki's bases-loaded two-run single, the Lions came back by scoring three runs of their own in the top of the ninth to send the game into extra innings.

With the bases loaded, Yoshimi told reporters after the game that all he wanted to do was hit the ball to deep right to bring in at least one run.

"I am glad though, it turned out to be a two-run hit," he said.

The 5-5 tie got Lions starter Pan Wei-luen (潘威倫) off the hook, but spoiled Whales starter Maximo Rosa's bid for his third win of the season.

Similar to game two of the series, the Whales lost the lead late in the game, giving up just one run too many.

Whales starter Nakayama Hiroaki cruised through seven scoreless innings with a 4-0 lead before giving up five runs eighth inning, ending Nakayama's 23-1/3 innings of scoreless play. Lions closer Tsao Chun-yang (曹竣揚) retired the side in the ninth for his 10th save of the season.

Although the series ended in a 1-1-1, it was a moral victory for the slumping Lions.

The Brother Elephants fell to the Makoto Gida 5-3 in Tienmu on Sunday, preventing and Elephants sweep in the series. The last time the Elephants lost a series was in mid-April against the Gida.

Elephants starter Nakagomi Sin fell victim to some poor fielding as two of the five runs were unearned. Along with three Elephants errors, an unsuccessful attempt to tag out a runner at second and a wild pitch during a suicide squeeze sealed the Elephants fate.

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