Louis Boyd’s three-run home run in the powered the Moose Jaw Miller Express to a 7-4 win over the Fort McMurray Giants on Saturday night at Ross Wells Park.
“We brought a really positive attitude to the field today and it paid off. We made sure we got on base and we really manufactured some runs as a team, it was good to see,” said Boyd, who hit his first home run of the season after just joining the team at the start of the week.
The Millers had dropped three straight games heading into Saturday night’s contest, starting with a 6-3 loss to Fort McMurray on Wednesday. During that stretch, the team struggled to get going at the plate, but that wasn’t the case against the Giants on Saturday as they smacked out 12 hits, led by Boyd’s 2-for-5 night in the lead-off spot.
The win improves Moose Jaw’s record to 12-21 on the year, which has them 4.5 games back of Weyburn for fourth in the Eastern Division.
Boyd has been a nice addition to the Millers since joining the team from the University of Arizona where he played in the College World Series final. The freshman Wildcat has jumped right into the heart of the lineup and has brought some stellar defence along as well.
He said it’s been a wild past few weeks.
“Definitely the most exciting stretch of my baseball career, it was really awesome to play in the World Series and it was just an experience that I’ll take to my grave with me,” said Boyd.
The Wildcats lost in three games to Coastal Carolina, winning Game 1, 3-0, but then dropping the next two games, 5-4 and 4-3.
Coming off the high of playing at the highest level of collegiate baseball, Boyd said that coming to Moose Jaw is a bit of a change, but one that he’s welcomed.
“Complete credit to the teammates, they’ve welcomed me with open arms, just a really positive atmosphere here and awesome to play as a Miller,” said Boyd.
“It’s a little less do-or-die in your mind if you don’t do well, so just go out there, have fun, and that’s a big thing for this team, we have a lot of talent on this team and as long as we’re having fun, we’re going to put up a lot of wins.”
The North Vancouver product had a strong first season at the NCAA division 1 level. He hit .257 over 43 games, scoring 27 runs with five doubles and 17 RBIs. He also had a .952 fielding percentage.
“It was definitely a windfall for everybody,” said Boyd. “We had a first-year coach as well, so we were all on the same page, everybody was new and we really came together.
“It was almost indescribable (to play in the College World Series), you can kind of get caught in it sometimes when you’re on the field with 20,000 fans in the stands, but you just take it for what it is and play baseball.”
Moose Jaw put runners on second and third in the first inning, they came away empty handed, but continued to strike offensively throughout the game.
They opened the scoring in the second when Jackson Schnurbusch led off with a double and scored when Zak Kellogg grounded into a double play.
After Fort Mac tied the game in the third, Boyd’s three-run shot in the fourth blew the game open for Moose Jaw.
“Just told myself to stay quiet, stayed quiet and saw my pitch to hit and finally put a good swing on it, so it was good to see,” said Boyd, who finished the game with a home run and three RBIs out of the lead-off spot.
The Millers added two more runs in the fifth and despite the Giants using in the sixth and seventh, Moose Jaw’s bullpen was able to shut the door to finish the game.
Dylan Blaha and Chris Suarez went 2 1/3 scoreless innings of in relief, striking out three combined and giving up just one hit.
Starting pitcher Bo Sheridan was stellar for the Millers, throwing 6 2/3 innings, allowing four runs — two earned — on seven hits to improve his record to 2-2 on the year.
The Millers were able to get after Fort McMurray starter Regan Gillis as he exited after 3 1/3 innings, giving up three runs on seven hits. Reliever Conly Cody didn’t fare much better, allowing four runs on four hits in 1 1/3 innings.
Moose Jaw will finish their busy week on Sunday afternoon when they hit the field in Swift Current against the Indians. First pitch is at 2:05 p.m.