The Ventura County Gulls celebrated Thursday's 6-0 win over the Fresno Giants by breaking out a case of beer. It came compliments of third baseman Jim Bishop.
Bishop, who was demoted to the Gulls last month from the Double-A Knoxville Blue Jays, doubled to deep center field at Ventura College in the seventh inning with the Gulls leading, 4-0. The ball hit a Budweiser sign hanging there on one bounce, two runs came in--and the Gulls had won themselves a case of beer from a local distributor.
For Bishop, 23, it was more than just a celebration of a 3-for-3 afternoon. The 6-2, 200-pound Lynwood High graduate thinks he's proven that he is an everyday player.
"If I play everyday I'm going to hit well," said Bishop, who raised his batting average to .368. "But if you play every fifth day, it's hard."
That's about how often Bishop saw action at Knoxville, where he played only against left-handed pitchers. He had been the regular third baseman before suffering torn ligaments in his right thumb during the 1984 season, an injury that caused him to miss more than three months in 1985.
"I feel real good at the plate right now," said Bishop. "I'm in great shape to hit against righties or lefties."
"We did a little work with him on the last road trip," Gull Manager Glenn Ezell said. "He's adapted really well. Anyone who gets to play every day, it will help him."
The Gulls all seemed to feel good against Giants pitchers Greg Gilbert and Dave Hinnrichs, who came on in relief in the seventh inning. A crowd of 473 saw the Gulls pound out 16 hits in improving their record to 39-21. Ventura County remains three games behind the Palm Springs Angels in the Southern Division of the California League.
Catcher Greg Myers led the attack with four hits, including a home run to right field in the second inning, his 11th. Myers, who homered Wednesday, raised his season average to .305.
The Gulls took a 1-0 lead in the first when Eric Yelding tripled into the right-field corner and scored on Santiago Garcia's sacrifice fly.
The Gulls could have stopped right there. Jeff Musselman (5-3) pitched eight scoreless innings and recorded nine strikeouts to push his league-leading total to 100.
"One big plus is that he has learned that he doesn't have to fool the hitters," Ezell said. "He's a good enough pitcher where he can go right after the hitter and get them.
"He's a good strikeout pitcher, but I think earlier in the season he made the mistake of trying to make the perfect pitch. It cost him a lot of pitches, which cost him a lot of innings."
Mark Dickman relieved Musselman in the ninth and retired the side in order.
Shortstop Eric Yelding went 3 for 4 with a triple and has been batting .400 (8 for 20) in his last five games. . . . Starting pitcher Jeff Musselman allowed only three hits and gave up only one walk. . . . Carlos Diaz, 21, a member of the Oklahoma State team that participated in the recent College World Series, joined the Gulls on Thursday. The Blue Jays selected the catcher in the 14th round of last week's draft.