Edmonton, AB – Right fielder Todd Linden went a phenomenal 5-for-5 at the plate including his second home run of the post-season as the Edmonton Capitals evened the North Division Championship Series at one game apiece on Wednesday with a 7-5 victory over the provincial rival Calgary Vipers.
The best-of-seven North American League NDCS now shifts down the highway to Calgary for Games 3, 4 and 5 on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Unless one Alberta squad wins all three games at Foothills Stadium, the series returns to Edmonton for Game 6 on Sunday at 2 p.m., and Game 7 if necessary is scheduled for Tuesday at 7 p.m.
The NDCS winner will take on the victors of the South Division Championship Series, currently being played between the Rio Grande Valley Whitewings and San Angelo Colts. The Whitewings currently have the upper hand in the series with a 2-0 lead. The teams were idle on Wednesday night.
It was a slow start offensively for the Caps in Game 2, as they went three innings without being able to send a runner across the plate. They trailed the Vipers 4-0 in the fourth inning when their bats finally came to life, as second baseman Matt Rogelstad and third baseman Enrique Cruz each knocked in a run, and Cruz scored on a wild pitch to cut the lead to 4-3.
The Caps also got RBI from Linden — with his second solo home run in as many games — first baseman Lou Santangelo, shortstop Rex Rundgren and pinch hitter Carlos Duncan, as they scored two more runs in both the fifth and sixth innings, holding on for the pivotal two-run victory.
Pitcher Dallas Buck started on the mound for the Caps and was relieved after 3.2 innings in which he surrendered four runs on five hits. Brandon Villafuerte eventually picked up the win, tossing the next 1.1 innings, while Jorge Vasquez was lights-out for the next three frames, giving up just one hit while striking out six Vipers. Tom Boleska surrendered a run in the ninth inning, but he kept the damage to a minimum to earn the save.
If the Caps and Vipers end up trading victories in Calgary, the series will return to Edmonton on Sunday for a matinee game, which will be a special playoff edition of Family Pack Sundays presented by Dental Choice and 630 CHED, as fans can purchase four tickets, four popcorn and four Pepsi for $52.
Playoff tickets start at just $10 in advance and can be purchased at all Ticketmaster outlets, at the Capitals Box Office (10233 – 96 Ave) during regular business hours Monday through Friday, online at capsbaseball.ca or via phone at 780-414-GOAL (4625).