Friday, April 22, 2011

SPORTS>>Frisco gets perfect five from Perez

Leader sports editor

Martin Perez stormed through five innings against the Arkansas Travelers on Tuesday night.

Then it really stormed.

Perez, the Frisco RoughRiders left-hander, pitched a five-inning perfect game as Frisco beat Arkansas 1-0 on a stormy night at Dickey-Stephens Park. The Texas Rangers’ top prospect, Perez struck out three and threw seven groundball outs and induced three flyouts.

“I think in my mind ‘Just throw the ball for a strike,’ and the other guys make the outs,” said Perez, who threw 68 pitches. “It’s easy when the pitcher throws a strike, a strike, a strike; it’s easy for the other guys to stay with you.”

Perez and the RoughRiders were sailing along, but when the expected bad weather hit at the start of the sixth inning, umpires immediately waved the teams off the field as the grounds crew began to unroll the tarp.

The delay began at 8:27 p.m. and ended 35 minutes later, but it was clear the game, which became official after 4 ½ innings, would not resume.

“Unfortunately he did a great job and it’s over now,” Arkansas manager Bill Mosiello said of Perez. I have to tip my hat to him. That was good stuff.”

While Perez spoke to reporters in the hallway outside the clubhouses, members of both teams and the umpiring crew gathered at the double doors to watch the storm and ooh and ah over the lightning display.

Even if the teams had gone back onto the field, Perez, already cooled down, would have been done for the night because of the delay.

“I wanted to throw more,” Perez said, but agreed it was unlikely he would have gotten back on the mound.

Perez’s weather-shortened gem followed an outing against Springfield in which he struck out nine, gave up four hits and held the Cardinals scoreless through five innings but got no decision in an eventual 9-4 Springfield victory.

“I think what’s most pleasing to me is he’s coming off an outing where he was probably more dominant as far as his stuff,” Frisco manager Steve Buechele said. “But he came right out tonight again and threw everything for strikes and it was very impressive.

“Very nice to see him bounce back the way he did.”

Buechele said Perez, who got his first victory and helped the RoughRiders end a three-game losing streak, was not as overpowering as in his previous start but was very accurate.

“He was throwing a little bit of everything tonight,” Buechele said. “He wasn’t throwing as hard as he was the other night — yet he still had good velocity tonight — he threw curveballs for strikes and threw some real good changes too, good fastballs in on right-handed hitters. Very good.”

It was a bad night to run into Perez for Arkansas starter Trevor Reckling (0-2), who made a fine appearance of his own but gave up Tommy Mendonca’s RBI hit in the first and took the loss despite striking out five, throwing eight groundball outs and walking none.

“He was fantastic, a double and a bloop hit in the first inning were his only blemish,” Mosiello said.