ALEXANDRIA- Alexandria Aces catcher Doug Freeman giveth and he taketh away.
Freeman was charged with two errors in the eighth inning, first allowing San Angelo Colts third baseman Steven Rinaudo to reach second base when he dropped an infield popup, and then when he dropped third baseman Cameron Dullnig's throw to the plate off a ground ball that allowed Rinaudo to score and put the Colts up, 8-7.
But in the bottom of the ninth, Freeman hit a two out single to left center off righthander Alfredo Caballero's first pitch to him to score Austin Newell from second base for a walk-off 9-8 Aces victory.
"I can wear that one," Freeman said. "I'm glad after a few mental lapses I was able to step up."
"Doug's been struggling at the plate. That was a big hit for him," said Aces manager Von Hayes, referring to the 1 for 16 slump the catcher had been in prior to his game winning hit. "It was a big hit for him.
"In those situations I want my guys to treat the count like three and one. Make the pitcher give you a good pitch- middle out, middle in. He smoked it."
The game was a see saw from the outset. San Angelo (6-5) jumped out to a 5-0 lead after two innings thanks in large part to second baseman Jon Dziomba.
Dziomba, who was 3 for 3 in the game, hit a double in the first inning that plated Rinaudo with the first run, and then scored later in the inning when Aces starter Jadd Schmetzer threw a wild pitch.
After Danny Hernandez collected his first of three hits to drive in Oscar Garcia in the second, Dziomba then accounted for the next two runs with a triple down the first base line to drive in Hernandez and scored on the second of Schmetzer's four wild pitches in the game.
The Aces (5-6) came back with two in the bottom of the second off Corey Frerichs on Cameron Dullnig's bases loaded single and Michael Haynes sacrifice fly, then added another in the third when Eddie Murray hit his first home run of the season.
After the Colts scored two more when Schmetzer's final two wild pitches allowed Rinaudo to score and Kyle Nichols greeted newcomer Mike Loseke with a sacrifice fly to center, the Aces scored four two-out runs to tie the game in the bottom of the inning.
First Zack Cadet singled in Cameron Dullnig, who had advanced to second when he ran on a 2-2 pitch from Frerichs that Michael Haynes hit for a groundout to second base, thus avoiding a double play.
Frerichs then lost his control and walked the next three hitters to score another run, and Derrick Pyles chased Frerichs, making only his second professional start in a six year pro career, with a single to center to tie the game 7-7.
It was at this point the bullpens took over. Colts veteran Frank James came on to strike out Freeman with the bases loaded by changing speeds, then hurled three more scoreless innings.
Meanwhile, Loseke, making his pro debut, did not allow any of the five hitters he faced to reach base with a dazzling change up. Alexandria righthander Brandon Creath added two more scoreless innings while striking out four batters, and Nathan Stewart (1-0) did not allow any earned runs in his two inning stint.
But after Cephas Howard protected the Colts' lead in the eighth with a scoreless eighth, Caballero (0-2) came on and was touched for the first two runs he has given up in five appearances.
First Murray was hit by a pitch. Hayes elected not to sacrifice with his leading hitter, Nick Mahin, at the plate, but he could only force Murray out at second.
No matter. He advanced to second on a wild pitch, then scored when Austin Newell collected his fifth RBI in two games on a single to right field. After Derrick Pyles flew to right, Freeman drove in Newell with the winning run.
Newell now leads the United League with 12 runs scored.
The Aces will now try to win their third game of the four game series when Ryan Zimmerman (1-0), who leads the United League with an 0.64 ERA, pitches against San Angelo's Adam Rowe (2-0).
"I guess we'll find out tomorrow with one of our best pitchers. The guys would like to take their first series of the year," Hayes said.
The 7:05 p.m. game is the final contest of a 12-game homestand at Bringhurst Field. It is 2'Fer Tuesday, with all tickets sold on a buy one, get one free basis.
NOTES- Freeman came into the game in the third inning after starting catcher Ryan Gasporra left the game with dizziness after a ball hit him under his chin. His condition is day-to-day.