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OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS, BUT BUZZ DON’T ANSWER DOOR

SHARE OPPORTUNITY KNOCKS, BUT BUZZ DON’T ANSWER DOOR

An old saying states that when opportunity knocks you've got to answer the door.

Opportunity knocked loud and early Wednesday night at Franklin Quest Field, but the Salt Lake Buzz stumbled to the door in time only to see a 5-3 loss to the Las Vegas Stars sitting on its front porch.Salt Lake missed chances to blow the game wide open in the first two innings, then was effectively stifled all but one inning the rest of the game by a good pitching effort from Las Vegas' Kerry Taylor and Bryce Florie. It was quite a turnaround from the Stars' performance Tuesday night which saw six-pitchers give up 17 runs on 17 hits to the Buzz.

Taylor (7-8) got out of bases-loaded jams in the first and second innings, allowing just one run in the first and giving up two more runs in the fifth inning. In six innings of work the righthander allowed six hits and struck out six batters, giving him the PCL lead in strikeouts with 126.

Florie entered the game in the seventh inning and didn't allow a hit in picking up his first save of the year.

"We let them off the hook early," Buzz manager Scott Ullger said. "(Taylor) wasn't sharp, but when he got out of those two jams he got some confidence. That's the kind of pitcher you need to jump on early."

Salt Lake appeared ready to pounce in the first inning when three straight singles by Mike Durant, Scott Stahoviak and Bernado Brito plated a run and Tim McIntosh's walk loaded the bases. A visit from pitching coach Dan Warthen seemed to settle Taylor down as he struck out the next two batters to end the inning.

Buzz pitcher Mike Misuraca (2-3) wasn't as lucky in the second inning. The first two Stars batters singled then Ray McDavid doubled to right field for a 2-1 lead. Las Vegas added two more runs in the inning and another in the third for a 5-1 advantage.

The Stars managed just one more hit in the fourth inning before being shut off by Misuraca and reliever Mo Sanford, but none more were needed.

Two walks and a bunt single loaded the bases for Salt Lake in the second inning but Stahoviak grounded into the first of three double plays turned by Las Vegas to end the inning.

Mike Durant tripled in a run in the fifth inning and later scored on a wild pitch to cut the Stars' lead to 5-3 but that was all the Buzz could muster.

The loss was a costly one for Salt Lake as it blew a chance to move to within 1/2-game of the PCL's Northern Division lead. The loss dropped the Buzz 11/2 games in back of first-place Vancouver and one game behind Calgary for second place.

BUZZ BRIEFS - Sanford entered the game leading the PCL in strikeouts by one over Taylor. Sanford struck out four batters in his four hitless innings of work and now trails Taylor 126-125 . . . Wednesday night's crowd of 11,146 boosted the Buzz's season attendance total to 643,778. That leaves Salt Lake 26,785 fans short of the minor league all-time season attendance record set by the San Francisco Seals back in 1946. Barring record crowds the next two home games, the Buzz should break the record the first game of their next (and final) homestand against Vancouver on September 2.