PALMER — The Anchorage Bucs needed only one run to take a step forward in the race for home field advantage during the upcoming Alaska Baseball League postseason.
Anchorage edged Mat-Su 1-0 in a battle between the league’s top two teams Monday night at Hermon Brothers Field in Palmer. The Bucs (26-12) pushed their advantage to 3.5 games over the Miners (22-15) with the victory. But arguably more important than that, the Bucs used the win to capture the season series. The Bucs improved to 6-4 against Mat-Su this season. The teams will not meet again during the regular season.
As of Monday night, only five games separate the top three teams in the league. The Anchorage Glacier Pilots, who have been sitting in third place for the bulk of the season, fell to 20-16 with a 4-3 loss to the Chugiak Chinooks Monday night.
After Monday, Mat-Su has seven games left in the regular season. Five of those games are against the Pilots.
Anchorage’s Cole Tate drew a walk with the bases loaded in the top of the sixth and Isaac Barrera scored to represent the game’s lone run. Three Anchorage pitchers combined to throw the shutout. Starter Micahel Frias pitched 6 2/3 and earned the win on the mound. Keaton Chase recorded the final out of the seventh to help pull Frias out of a jam. Colton Rendon earned the two-out save.
Mat-Su finished with only four hits in the game. Kaden Hogan led the Miners with a pair of singles.
The loss came a day after the Miners split a low-scoring doubleheader against the Chugiak Chinooks Sunday in Chugiak.
Kyler Bush continued his stellar summer on the mound, leading the Miners to a 2-1 win during the first game of the doubleheader. Bush threw a complete game, and improved to 3-0. He has a 1.54 earned run average, and has fanned 30 hitters, compared to only six walks.
Bush allowed only three hits and one earned run, and fanned eight while walking only one.
Aaron Walters used a sacrifice fly to drive in the go-ahead run, Kody Huff, in the top of the sixth. Huff led off the inning with a single. Eric Webb led Mat-Su with two hits, a run and an RBI.
During the second game, Chugiak scored all three of its runs in the fourth during a 3-1 win over the Miners. Webb led the Miners with two hits and a run scored.
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