Midland Clinches Playoff Berth
The Midland RockHounds are going back to the Texas League playoffs.
The defending Texas League champions clinched a spot in the post-season with a 10-1 rout over the Corpus Christi Hooks. The 'Hounds also lowered their magic number to clinch the Southern Division's second-half title to two. A victory over the Hooks on Friday would give the 'Hounds the title. With the Thursday win, Midland upped its record to 41-18 for the second half and 76-53 for the year. Midland is now just four games back of Corpus Christi for the best overall record. The RockHounds were 13 games behind the Hooks at the end of the first half.
Midland jumped all over Hooks' starter Kyle Westwood, scoring five times in the second inning. The RockHounds would add another run in the third and four more in the seventh to cruise to victory. Midland starter Dillon Overton had plenty of cushion, but he didn't need it. He had another scoreless five-inning outing. He struck-out three, walked three and allowed three hits. Overton's ERA for Midland is 3.60. He has a 94:27 K:BB in 116.1 innings in his first full season back after Tommy John surgery.
The RockHounds got on the board first when 3B Renato Nunez doubled home Matt Olson. It was Nunez's first at-bat back off of the disabled list for a hamstring strain. Nunez last played on August 6, but he didn't look rusty. He had two hits and two RBI. He also scored twice. The double was Nunez's 19th of the season.
Batting out of the lead-off spot, Jaycob Brugman had a huge game. The centerfielder went 4-for-4 with a walk, a double and a run scored. Brugman has hit safely in seven out of his last eight games and he is batting an even .300 over his last 10 games. He tied his career-high for doubles with his 25th of the season.
First baseman Anthony Aliotti also had a huge game. The East Bay native doubled twice and had four hits in five at-bats. He is batting .323 since being sent down from Triple-A for an opportunity to play everyday. Texas League All-Star Colin Walsh, playing left field, hit his league-leading 36th double, while newly crowned Texas League Player of the Year Chad Pinder went 2-for-5 with a run scored. He is now batting .320 on the season.
The Midland bullpen, as it has been all season, was solid in relief of Overton. Andres Avila allowed a run in two innings and then Tucker Healy and Ryan Doolittle each tossed scoreless frames to close out the game.
Ports Maintain Wild Card Lead
The Stockton Ports maintained their two-game lead in the Cal League wild card race with an 8-2 road victory over the High Desert Mavericks. Kyle Finnegan was outstanding in his start, allowing just a run on four hits in six innings. He struck-out three and walked two. Sam Roberts allowed a run in two innings and Corey Walter finished off the game with a scoreless ninth.
The Ports had just seven hits, but they walked eight times and turned those runners into eight runs. Michael Soto was the only Ports' hitter to collect two hits. He also drove-in three. Brett Vertigan had a triple and two walks out of the lead-off spot. The triple was his sixth of the year. A night after homering, John Nogowski doubled and walked and scored twice.
- The Beloit Snappers dropped a pair of games on Thursday to the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers, as the Snappers lost the continuation of a game originally started on July 13, 4-2, and then lost the regularly scheduled game, 2-1. The first game resumed in the top of the fifth inning with the score tied at 2. The Timber Rattlers scored single runs in the sixth and the eight to secure the win. The game began on July 13 in Beloit but was finished in Appleton with the Timber Rattlers as the road team in their own stadium. In game two, Beloit scored in the first but couldn't muster any other offense. Joey Wagman was the tough-luck loser. He allowed only two runs in five innings and he struck-out seven. Wagman has a 3.66 ERA on the year. Jose Torres threw a scoreless sixth to lower his ERA to 2.69 for the year. The hard-throwing lefty has 81 strike-outs in 74.2 innings this season.
- The Vermont Lake Monsters blew a ninth-inning lead but rallied for a walk-off win in the bottom of the ninth, 6-5, over Tri-City. Brett Siddall hit a one-out single just over the shortstop to send home Seth Brown with the winning run. Brown had three hits and he stole a base. He is batting .286 on the year. Chris Iriart and Richie Martin each had three-hit games, as well. Iriart drove-in two to give him a team-leading 38 on the year. Martin also walked in addition to collecting three hits and he had a double. He is batting .244 on the year.
- Tyler Ladendorf and Rangel Ravelo both homered, but the Nashville Sounds were blown out by Tacoma, 12-5. Ladendorf began the game with his first homer of the year. Ravelo then homered in the fifth inning, a three-run shot that tied the game at 4. It was Ravelo's first Triple-A homer and his third of the year (in 49 games). Ravelo played first base and left field in the game, while Ladendorf was at shortstop. Both players could join the A's when rosters expand in September. Brad Mills was the scheduled starter, but he was scratched for unannounced reasons just before first pitch. Dan Otero got the spot start and he allowed four runs in two innings. The Sounds used six pitchers in the game, including position player Ryan Roberts. Of those six, only Roberts (one-third of an inning) and Ryan Dull (two innings) didn't allow a run. Dull lowered his Triple-A ERA to 0.59 with the outing.
- It was a rough night for the AZL A's, as they allowed nine runs in the first two innings and fell to the AZL Rangers, 10-2. Jordan Schwartz couldn't make it out of the first inning, as he allowed four runs while recording just two outs. The AZL A's managed just four hits in the game.