Garden State beats Sterling Four Games to Two

Game 1

STERLING 5, GARDEN STATE 4  W - Bobby Jenks (1-0) L - Huston Street (0-1) HR - none

A bases-loaded two-out passed ball in the 9th plated Abraham Nunez with the winning run. With the score tied, 4-4, the Gang loaded the bases with no outs. Isringhausen came in to get two clutch outs, but Jason Larue couldn't handle a pitch to Jeff Kent and Sterling took game one. The Goats had tied the game in the top of the 9th on a Rafael Furcal single, advancing to second on the throw. Furcal sat at second base with no outs, but Jenks got three big outs to keep the game tied going into the decisive bottom of the ninth.

Game 2

GARDEN STATE 7, STERLING 5 W - Scott Sauerbeck (1-0) L - Brad Lidge (0-1) S - Jason Isringhausen (1) HR - Garret Anderson-2 (2)

The Goats rallied for two runs off Brad Lidge in the 9th to break a 5-5 tie and to knot up the best-of-seven series at a game apiece. With one out, Brian Roberts singled, then stole second. Furcal plated the go-ahead run with a single, then scored on an insurance-run double by Jim Edmonds. Garden State overcame a 5-run rally by the Gang in the second inning that sent Goat starter Bronson Arroyo to the showers. Garret Anderson smacked two homers in the effort, including a game-tying two-run bomb in the 6th.

Game 3

STERLING 7, GARDEN STATE 6 (11 innings) W - Armando Benitez (1-0) L - Julio Santana (0-1) HR - Jeff Kent (1), Troy Glaus (1), Sean Casey (1), Jim Edmonds (1), Nick Swisher-2 (2)

Neither bullpen had much luck holding a lead as the ball was flying out of Sinatra Field. Sean Casey hit a game-tying homer in the 5th and Nick Swisher a go-ahead homer in the 6th to put the Goats ahead 4-3. Huston Street managed to blow a save in the 8th, allowing a two-out, two-run homer to Jeff Kent which put Sterling ahead, 5-4. Swisher struck again in the bottom of the 8th with a solo homer off David Riske to knot the game at 5-5. On to extra innings, where Sterling struck for a run in the 10th on a Biggio triple and Podsednik single. Benitez blew a save in the bottom of the 10th, allowing a solo homer to Jim Edmonds which tied the game at 6-6. Troy Glaus led off the 11th with a solo homer off Julio Santana to put the Gang ahead once again, 7-6. In the bottom of the 11th the Goats loaded the bases with one out, but Benitez struck out Furcal and retired Pablo Ozuna on a ground ball to end the game. Podsedink stole 5 bases in the game

Game 4

GARDEN STATE 13, STERLING 3  W - Derek Lowe (1-0) L - Josh Towers (0-1) HR - T. Glaus (2), J. Edmonds (2)

This was all Goats as the home team tagged Josh Towers for 11 runs and 15 hits in 4-plus innings. Derek Lowe tossed eight strong innings for the win, allowing three runs and 4 hits. Roberts, Furcal and Edmonds all had three runs scored and drove in multiple runs.

Game 5

GOATS 8, GANG 4 W - Tim Hudson (1-0) L - John Smoltz (0-1) HR - Troy Glaus (3), Trot Nixon (1), Jim Edmonds-2 (4)

The Goats jumped on John Smoltz early. Edmonds hit a two-run homer in the first inning. Then, after Nixon hit a solo bomb for the Gang, Garden State rallied for four runs in the third -- highlighted by Nick Swisher's two-run double. The Goats scored twice more in the fourth - on a Casey sac fly and another Edmonds homer - and led decisively, 8-1.

The Gang ralllied for three runs in the 6th when Glaus launched a three-run homer, bringing Sterling back into the game. The Goat bullpen settled things down, though, and tossed three shutout innings to end the game.

Game 6

GOATS 9, GANG 7 W - Jason Vargas (1-0) L - Justin Duchscherer (0-1) S - Jason Isringhausen (2) HR - Nick Swisher (3), Jimmy Rollins (1)

With the game tied 1-1, Sterling smacked around Goat starter Jeff Weaver in the fourth, scoring 5 runs -- three coming on Rollins' home run and two on a Dontrelle Willis single. With a 6-1 lead, Willis cruised on the mound until the 7th when Mike Lowell made it 6-2 with an RBI single. Nick Swisher popped a pinch-hit 2-run homer to make it 6-4. Willis was chased from the game.

Sterling added an insurance run in the 7th when Rollins singled, stole second and went to third on Michael Barrett's throwing error. Rollins scored on an ensuing sac fly, making it 7-4.

In the 8th, the Goats came up big against the talented Sterling bullpen. Furcal led off with a double off Dave Riske. Casey singled him home. 7-5 Gang. Duchscherer came in to relieve and walked Jim Edmonds. Barrett struck out, but then Garret Anderson delivered an RBI single to make it 7-6. After Lowell's line out, Mark Kotsay delivered the big blow -- a two-run double that gave the Goats an 8-7 lead. Jason LaRue tacked on a run with an RBI double.

Witasick, Sauerbeck and Isringhausen handled the last two innings to send the Goats to Cleveland for a World Series matchup against the Baergas.

Garden State and Cleveland have won the last three GABL World Series titles.

The Goats batted .336 and scored 47 runs in the series against Sterling, led by Jim Edmonds (.481-4-11) and Nick Swisher (.368-3-7).

Scott Podsednik had a great series for the Gashouse Gang, batting .393, driving in 5 and stealing 8 bases.