Nick Evans is beginning to add impressive layers to his hit streak which stands at 19 games. Since hitting once in a game has become passe for Evans, now the goal appears to be how multi-hit outings can he accumulate?
Continuing his assault on club history, Evans went 5-for-5 with four singles and a double as the Buffalo Bisons held back a rally by Lehigh Valley to defeat the IronPigs, 7-5, Wednesday afternoon at Coca-Cola Field.
Evans tied former Bisons Ben Francisco (2007), Franklin Gutierrez ('07) and Karim Garcia ('02) who all hit safely in 19 consecutive games. When the Bisons face the IronPigs again at 7:05 tonight (1520-AM), Evans will attempt to tie Tommy Shields, whose streak extended over 20 straight games back in 1990. The franchise record is 28 by Alex Ramirez in 1998.
"He's locked in, he's on everything," Lehigh Valley manager Ryne Sandberg. "Over two days, that's as hot as I've seen a hitter."
After going 2-for-4 during Tuesday's 6-3 loss to the IronPigs, Evans is 5-for-7 in two games. He extended the streak on his first at-bat in the first inning with a single to left.
"He's on a mission," Bisons manager Tim Teufel said. "I don't want to draw attention [to the streak] because he's feeling comfortable at the plate, he's seeing the ball well and he's not missing his pitch and that's what really good hitters do when they're in a good streak."
Evans also tied the International League high for 2011 with Columbus' Luis Valbuena who hit in 19-straight May 22-June 9. During the streak, Evans has averaged .513 with 11 doubles, three home runs, 15 RBIs with 15 runs scored.
"Hits are useless if you don't score," Evans said. "It's nice having guys like Fernando [Martinez] and [Val] Pascucci and [Jason] behind me. It's nice to see."
Said Sandberg, the former Chicago Cubs Hall of Famer: "We're throwing him breaking balls, we're throwing him inside, we're throwing him everything. I tip my hat to him. He looks good. I wonder how long he's going to be here?"
Probably not for long. Flights to LaGuardia and JFK are reasonable.
"He's swinging that bat great," said the Bisons Michael Fisher, who scored a run on Wednesday. "He's had a lot of multi-hit games and that is contagious. Usually when teams are rolling it takes one hit to get things going and everybody just feeds off that. Right now, he's just unleashing on pitches."
The Bisons, winners of four of five, enjoyed a six-run third inning before Lehigh closed to 6-5 with three runs in the fifth and two in the sixth. But the Herd added an insurance run in the seventh when Luis Hernandez scored on an RBI single to left by Luis Figueroa.
That really changed the game because we would have had to play the whole inning differently without the two-run cushion," Teufel said.
The Bisons left 11 on base even though they were 6 for 20 with runners in scoring position.
"When you're hitting over .300 with runners in scoring position, that's a pretty good average," Teufel said. "Driving in runs -- you can make a lot of money with RBIs."
The Bisons will try for their fifth win in the last six games tonight (radio, 1520 AM) against the IronPigs when Dylan Owen (2-4) takes the mound against Tyson Brummett (0-1).
Bisons 7, Lehigh Valley 5
The Pitch: Evans (above) goes 5-for-5 to extend hit streak to 19 ... Martinez has two RBIs ... Misch strikes out eight, wins his third of season.
Fast fact: Bisons 6-for-20 with runners in scoring position.
Next game: Tonight vs. Lehigh Valley, 7:05 p.m. at Coca-Cola Field (TWC Customer Appreciation Night).