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TRAPPERS SNATCH VICTORY IN THE FINAL INNING AGAIN

SHARE TRAPPERS SNATCH VICTORY IN THE FINAL INNING AGAIN

For six games there, the Salt Lake Trappers either won big or didn't win.

Saturday and Sunday, they were back to their favorite ploy: Winning in their last at-bat. Of their 15 W's, eight have come in the final at-bat, be it the eighth inning (twice), ninth (five times) or 10th (once)."We never die," marveled Trapper pitcher George Kerfut, a 3-2 winner over Great Falls, thanks to Kevin McMullen's tiebreaking RBI single with two out in the ninth at Derks Sunday afternoon. A crowd of 3,059 waited out a 40-minute dampness delay as the grounds crew dried the field after morning rains.

"Every time I pitch, we seem to come back in those late innings," said Kerfut, who notched only the third complete game in the Pioneer League for 1992 and the Traps' first nine-inning outing since Aug. 14, 1991. His 10 strikeouts were the club's best since Aug. 23, 1991, and gave him 30 total for perhaps second or third in the league.

For the third straight game, the Falls took a 2-0 lead on the Traps. Friday they fell 7-2. Saturday S.L. got three in the eighth to win 5-4. Sunday the Traps' two in the eighth and one in the ninth made Kerfut 3-1. Kerfut's earned-run average dropped to 3.19.

"I was just trying to keep us close the whole game," he said. "Then in the eighth we tie the game up, and I go out and shut them out in the ninth and then we score in the ninth to win it.

"You can't ask for any more than that," said Kerfut.

He struck out the Dodger side in the first, and he struck out the first two he faced in the ninth before getting Ryan Luzinski, son of ex-Phillie Greg, to fly out to right to end the game.

Kerfut said he felt better in the ninth than in earlier innings, like the third, in which James Martin singled and scored on Nathan Dunn's triple, and Dunn scored on Vince Jackson's single. Or the seventh, when Luzinski led off with a double. "I just didn't throw quality pitches," Kerfut said.

Kerfut threw 135 pitches for the day, and manager Nick Belmonte was ready to change had it gone another inning.

"Kerfut was outstanding the whole game. He didn't let anything bother him," said Belmonte. "He had faith in our team coming back."

There were times it was needed. Twice S.L. loaded bases and didn't score. It left 11 men on. In the fifth, the first two Trapper outs were made between third and home, a cardinal sin, partly because they were taking chances trying to make something happen against Dodger starter Chad Zerbe, who allowed four hits and no runs in his six innings.

In the eighth, McMullen walked, Tim Clark and George Baker singled, and McMullen scored on a throwing error. Clark scored on a double play.

The winner was scored by Tim Rigsby, who led off the ninth with a single. "It was a great at-bat by Rigsby," said Belmonte. "He battled and fouled off two or three and got his pitch." A walk moved him to second, and McMullen's single to center chased him in.

Rigsby, McMullen and Todd Rosenthal had two hits each, and the Dodgers' Nunn followed his RBI triple with a double.

The series concludes tonight at 7 (TCI Ch. 19-PSN) as the Traps try to beat the Dodgers for the ninth straight time over two seasons in Derks. Jim Guidi (1-0, 3.00) gets his first '92 start.

NOTES - The infield may have a couple broken wings. Eddie Ortega is out three to four weeks with a broken radius from a pitch on the wrist a week ago, and Billy Vosik finds out today if the thumb he injured making a tag at third Saturday is broken.