1/23 Baseball Practice Notes

The preseason continued on Tuesday afternoon with another intrasquad game at Sunken Diamond. Two sophomore pitchers came through with solid performances on the mound during the 6-1 contest. Read on for all of the details plus other news and notes from the practice field.

A five-run fifth inning for the White Team on Tuesday afternoon led to a 6-1 win in preseason action at Sunken Diamond.  On the strength of six singles while facing David Stringer, the White squad plated five runs in the decisive frame to claim the victory.  Sean Ratliff continued his hot hitting with a two-run single while Adam Sorgi, Steven Swinford, and Kirk Erickson also provided RBI hits.

On the Cardinal side, the club mustered seven hits, but only one run during the 7 1/2 inning contest.  Brian Juhl and Adam Gaylord each produced two hits in the losing effort. 

Tom Stilson and Max Fearnow were the pitching standouts during Tuesday's game as each hurler tossed four shutout innings.  Fearnow allowed just two hits while Stilson fanned five hitters.


White      0 0 0  0 5 0  1 0   -   6   8   0
Cardinal   0 0 0  0 1 0  0 X   -   1   7   0

White             POS   AB   R   H  RBI  BB  SO   AVG
Sean Ratliff       CF    4   1   2   2    0   1  .444
Cord Phelps       3B/SS  3   0   0   0    2   0  .259
Brent Milleville    C    2   0   1   0    1   0  .370
 Kirk Erickson      C    2   1   1   1    1   0  .500
Adam Sorgi         DH    4   0   1   2    1   0  .259
Brendan Domaracki  RF    3   0   0   0    0   1  .261
J.J. Jelmini      SS/2B  3   0   0   0    0   1  .160
Grant Escue        1B    3   1   1   0    0   1  .222
Jeff Whitlow       LF    3   1   1   0    1   0  .208
Steven Swinford    DH    3   2   1   1    1   0  .400

SB: Ratliff, Escue

Cardinal          POS   AB   R   H  RBI  BB  SO   AVG
Toby Gerhart       CF    4   1   1   0    0   2  .393
Joey August        LF    4   0   0   0    0   0  .161
Michael Taylor     RF    3   0   1   0    1   0  .385
Brian Juhl          C    4   0   2   0    1   1  .276
Randy Molina       3B    3   0   1   0    0   2  .346
Adam Gaylord       SS    3   0   2   0    0   1  .429
Stephen Brown      1B    3   0   0   0    0   1  .125
Matt Cano          DH    3   0   0   0    0   2  .100

2B: Gaylord

                     IP   H   R  ER  BB  SO
Max Fearnow         4.0   2   0   0   3   2
Tom Stilson         4.0   5   0   0   1   5

David Stringer      3.0   7   5   5   1   3
Brandt Walker       3.2   1   2   2   4   3

* Tuesday was a coming-out party, of sorts, for sophomore Tom Stilson.  The southpaw missed all of last season because of injury, but has positioned himself now to see significant action out of the bullpen this year.  Today, Stilson scattered five singles in his four shutout innings of work while issuing just one walk and striking out five.  Stilson is a big guy at 6'3", 220 lbs. and throws hard.  Tuesday, he was throwing his off-speed pitches over for strikes and was in complete control during his entire stint on the mound.

Stilson was a highly regarded player nationally entering his senior year of high school.  TeamOne rated the big lefty 91st in the country on their national Top 200 list.  The prospect website also gave Stilson the #11 ranking among all senior left-handed pitchers (Jeremy Bleich was #4 on the same list).  Stilson though has barely pitched in the last two years and thus is an unknown at the collegiate level.  That should change due to the fact the Missouri native is finally healthy.

Last Friday, Stilson worked four quality innings yielding one run on five hits with a pair of strikeouts.  Tuesday, he was bumped up to the second pitching group and did not disappoint.  With Sean Ratliff's current pitching situation unsettled, Stilson has an excellent opportunity to see immediate innings out of the bullpen as a go-to left-handed pitcher.

* Brandt Walker had an interesting outing during Tuesday's game as the freshman worked 3 2/3 innings while allowing just one hit.  As mentioned in earlier practice reports, pure stuff does not seem to be a problem for Walker.  He's got the tools there to become an excellent collegiate pitcher.  Today, the only hit he allowed was to the first batter he faced - a Toby Gerhart single.  But as has been the case in recent outings, control is a major issue for the Austin, Texas product.  Walker issued four walks this afternoon and also uncorked a wild pitch that scored a run.  This was on the heels of a six-walk performance in his last preseason outing.  As a member of the second pitching group, the coaching staff clearly seems to think Walker can make a contribution out of the bullpen this season.  We'll see how much his control problems may set him back - especially early in the year.

* More bad news on the injury front as Brent Milleville suffered what appeared to be a back injury while running the bases during the game.  In the fourth inning, Milleville grounded a ball to shortstop, but took just a couple of steps to first base before stopping and grabbing his lower back.  He had it wrapped in the dugout and was seen walking around afterward with no apparent problem, but the sophomore slugger did not return to the game.  With Jason Castro still out because of injury, the team was down to just two healthy catchers by the end of the afternoon: Brian Juhl and freshman walk-on Kirk Erickson (who received his first playing time of the preseason today).

* The hitting struggles continue for Joey August and J.J. Jelmini as the two sophomores both went hitless this afternoon.  August (.161, 5-for-31) and Jelmini (.160, 4-for-25) both own preseason batting averages below the Mendoza Line.

* Ratliff remained hot at the plate with two more hits on Tuesday in four at-bats.  Ratliff picked up clean singles to right and center fields while also recording two RBI and a stolen base.  The sophomore outfielder has now notched three straight multi-hit games.

* Cord Phelps saw a substantial amount of playing time at shortstop during pre-game drills while also garnering playing time at the position during the intrasquad.  With Adam Sorgi not playing the position in a game since the preseason opener on January 12th, it would appear the team may need someone else to take over at shortstop for the opening weekend.  Phelps, Jelmini, and Adam Gaylord have been playing the position during practice games.

* Speaking of Gaylord, it was another solid performance at the plate for the freshman.  Gaylord singled to left against Stilson in the second inning before a ringing double off of the fence in left versus David Stringer in the sixth.  Gaylord raised his preseason batting average to .429 (12-for-28) with the two hits.

* Max Fearnow delivered a quality four-inning stint on the mound yielding just two hits.  Fearnow walked three batters, but managed to pitch out of trouble every time to put zeros up on the scoreboard.  Fearnow made 16 appearances for the Cardinal last season totaling a 2-0 record and 5.91 ERA in 21 1/3 innings.

* After two very impressive preseason outings, Stringer was roughed up a bit today.  The junior allowed five runs on six singles in his first inning before tossing two scoreless frames (with three strikeouts).

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