PALMER — The Mat-Su Miners hit the field Friday night riding a six-game winning streak. But Mat-Su head coach Tyler LeBrun said there was still work to be done at the plate. And the Miners answered that call.
Mat-Su used 13 hits to earn an 11-5 win over the Peninsula Oilers at Hermon Brothers Field in Palmer.
“They’re grinding, working on their game,” LeBrun said after Mat-Su notched its seventh straight victory. “We were not hitting the way we want as a team. Entering tonight, we were hitting .209 with too many strikeouts.”
Infielder Josh Bristyn enjoyed his best night in a Mat-Su uniform, finishing 3 for 4 with three RBI and a run scored. The Gonzaga product entered the contest with three hits, two runs and an RBI during his first nine games with the Miners.
“He’s been working on his swing. It was good to see him kind of break out,” LeBrun said.
Infielder Rickey Martinez also had his first multi-hit game with the Miners. Martinez was one of three Miners with two hits. Catcher Kody Ruff added two hits, two runs and an RBI. Drew Williamson and Justin Kirby also scored two runs each.
Eight of Mat-Su’s nine starters scored at least a run, and eight of nine also drove in at least a run.
“We’ve been emphasizing putting the ball in play, giving yourself a chance,” LeBrun said.
The Miners also cashed in 10 walks thrown by the Oilers pitching staff.
“We want to keep putting pressure on pitchers, and we took advantage of a lot of walks,” LeBrun said.
Mat-Su did all of its damage in two innings. The Miners batted around in the first, posting an early 5-0 lead. Mat-Su added six runs in the fourth.
Brandon Birdsell earned the win on the mound for Mat-Su, allowed six hits and two earned runs over five innings. The Texas A&M right-hander also fanned six.
The Miners improved to 10-5, an Alaska Baseball League best, and completed the four-game sweep of the Oilers with the win.
Damon Keith drove in four of the Oilers’ five runs in the loss. Keith had a two-run triple in the sixth. Connor McCord was 3 for 4 at the plate, with a run. John Mackay recorded two hits and two runs.
Contact Mat-Su Valley Frontiersman managing editor Jeremiah Bartz at firstname.lastname@example.org.