SAUGET — The wins keep piling up for the Gateway Grizzlies.
Hitting eighth and ninth in the batting order, Antone DeJesus and Alex Guthrie combined for six hits and three RBIs to back the complete-game pitching effort of Ja'Vaun West, as Gateway completed a three-game sweep of Evansville with a 6-1 win on Thursday before a crowd of 2,187 at GCS Ballpark.
Guthrie highlighted a five-run Grizzlies' uprising in the fourth inning, with a three-run home run while DeJesus went 4-for-4 with a run scored as the Frontier League West Division leading Grizzlies (24-11) won for the sixth time in seven games.
Handcuffed by the off-speed deliveries of Evansville starter Rich Hawkins through three innings, it was the bottom of the order which ignited the Grizzlies in the fourth. After Vladimir Frias and DeJesus singled, Guthrie hit a 2-1 pitch out as he gave his team all the offense it would need.
"That was good to see,'' Gateway manager Phil Warren said. "Alex had a real good spring training to win the job, but he has struggled a little bit so far. Hopefully this will get him going.
"We have a solid lineup and it was great to see those guys have good nights.''
Jose Flores and Landon Hernandez added RBI doubles to complete the Grizzlies' outburst.
Chris McClendon added his third home run of the season in the sixth and along with Hernandez, had three hits apiece for Gateway.
On the mound, West (6-1) was in complete command against the Otters.
In one of his best outings of the season, West struck out four and walked just three, while allowing just six hits.
"It was one of his best performances of the year. The key was that Ja'Vaun threw strikes tonight. He kept his pitch count down and got ahead of the hitters,'' Warren said. "He had only thrown 86 pitches through eight innings, whereas he has been in the 110 range his last two or three times out. The difference was that he focused well tonight.''
West, who lowered his ERA to 2.59, lost his shutout in the seventh on a run-scoring single by Sam Mahoney.
Both teams had scoring chances in the first three innings.
Evansville's best shot came in the second, when Steve Marino lined a leadoff single. After West fanned J.R. Higley for the first out, Frank Martinez lined a hit into the right-center field gap.
Center fielder Antone DeJesus fielded the ball and threw to shortstop Frias at second base.
Martinez beat the throw, but was tagged out by Frias when he slid past the base. West then retired Ryan Kresky to get out of the inning.
Gateway had runners in scoring position in both the second and third innings, only to come up empty.