|Michael Rogers threw four scoreless innings in relief on Monday for Midland.|
It took three days for the Midland Rockhounds to get their third win of the season, but it wasn't because the team wasn't winning. After winning their first two games, Mother Nature cancelled their third and fourth games of the season. Midland was scheduled to play two on Monday, but was able to get only one game in after the first game went 12 innings.
No matter for Midland, who was able to walk-off Citibank Field a winner in 12 innings thanks to an outstanding game by third baseman Jeff Baisley against the Arkansas Travelers. The Rockhounds are now 3-0 to start the season.
Baisley got off to a slow start last season with the Kane County Cougars, but recovered in time to win the Midwest League MVP award. This season, Baisley has shaken off the rust very early. The slugger homered twice for the Rockhounds, and the second homerun was a walk-off shot in the bottom of the 12th inning to give the Rockhounds the hard earned victory. Baisley was 3-4 on the day with three RBI and two walks.
Reliever Brad Ziegler earned the win with one inning of scoreless relief. Ben Fritz started the game and he hurt himself with two throwing errors on pick-off plays. He allowed nine hits and five runs (three earned) in four innings in his season debut. Jeff Coleman had a scoreless fifth inning before turning the game over to Midland closer Steve Sharpe with a one-run lead in the sixth (the game was originally scheduled to go seven innings). Sharpe allowed the tying run in the sixth.
|2B Brian Snyder had another strong game offensively for Midland.|
The Rockhounds were in danger of losing the lead again in the seventh when Danny Putnam made the defensive play of the game. The left fielder threw out Sean Rodriguez at home to prevent the potential winning run from scoring. The Rockhounds also helped themselves defensively by picking off two runners on the bases, with Fritz picking off one runner and catcher Landon Powell picking off the other.
Michael Rogers, originally scheduled to start over the weekend, took over in the eighth inning and he was outstanding in relief. He danced in and out of trouble, but managed to throw four scoreless innings to give the Rockhounds a chance to win the game. He allowed four hits and two walks and he struck out four.
On offense, Baisley had a little help in defeating the Travelers. Putnam doubled twice and drove-in four runs to bring his early season RBI total to seven. First baseman Vasili Spanos also had two doubles and second baseman Brian Synder reached three times and scored two runs. Right fielder Richie Robnett had a hit, a walk and his first stolen base of the season.
Ports Blow Lead, But Finally Secure First Win In Ninth
|Vince Mazzaro was outstanding in his season debut.|
The Stockton Ports badly needed a win and they finally got one on Monday, but it wasn't easy. They blew their second save in three days, but managed to score in the bottom of the ninth to win the game.
Ports starter Vince Mazzaro was outstanding in his Stockton debut, going six strong innings for the Ports. He allowed only two runs (one earned) on three hits. He struck out three and walked five. Perhaps most impressive was his groundball to flyball ratio, which was 11 groundballs to two flyballs.
Both of Bakersfield's runs off of Mazzaro came in the first two innings of the game. However, Stockton stormed back with two in the bottom of the second and never trailed the rest of the game. The Ports' two-run rally in the bottom of the second came with two outs. Steve Kleen singled with two-out and Chad Boyd followed with an RBI double. Frank Martinez followed him with an RBI single and the Ports were knotted up.
The score remained 2-2 until the bottom of the eighth when Stockton again used a two-out rally to score two runs. Anthony Recker drove home the first run with a double and Kleen singled home the second run. That second run became extremely important in the top of the ninth.
|Javier Herrera had the game-winning hit.|
Jason Ray took over in the top of the ninth to try to save the game after Brad Kilby threw two strong innings of relief. Kilby, who was stuck with a blown save on Saturday, recovered from that first outing to strikeout four and walk one in two scoreless, hitless innings. Ray, who worked two scoreless innings on Saturday, was unable to duplicate Kilby's success in the ninth. Ray walked the lead-off man and with one-out gave up consecutive singles, which scored one run. The tying run came across when Ray balked. Ray worked out of the jam with the score tied by inducing two pop-outs to end the inning.
Faced with the prospect of losing their fifth straight game, the Ports rallied in the bottom of the ninth. With one out, Justin Sellers and Cliff Pennington both walked. Nick Blasi was then hit by a pitch to load the bases, bringing up Javier Herrera with the bases-loaded and one out. With the outfield in, Herrera singled to center to give the Ports their first win of the year.
Sacramento Drops Third Straight
After starting the season 2-0, the River Cats have stumbled in their last three games and have seen their record fall to 2-3. Starter Kevin Olsen was roughed up in the second inning of his start, allowing three runs in that second inning. That was all of the offense the Portland Beavers would need, as they beat Sacramento by a score of 5-1.
|Hiram Bocachica reached base three times.|
Olsen ended up going seven innings against Portland, allowing five runs (four earned) on seven hits. He struck out three and walked one. Erasmo Ramirez and Shawn Kohn combined to throw a scoreless final two innings. Kohn was added to the River Cats roster on Sunday and Mike Mitchell was placed on the Sacramento disabled list with tendonitis in his right shoulder.
The River Cats couldn't mount much offense against six Beaver pitchers. Justin Germano got the start and threw five innings, allowing one run. Four Portland relievers combined to throw the final four innings. They did not allow a hit.
Sacramento hitters struck out 11 times, with Kevin Melillo and Donnie Murphy leading the way with three a piece. Antonio Perez, playing left field, struck out two times and went 0-4. He has yet to collect a hit this season in 10 at-bats. Hiram Bocachica was the only River Cat to reach more than once, as he had a hit and two walks. Melillo had the team's only RBI.
Cougars Drop Close One In Home Opener
Kane County scored twice in the second inning to go out to an early 2-0 on Monday, but they were unable to hold the lead and ended up falling to Beloit by a score of 5-4.
|Shortstop Mike Affronti doubled twice and is hitting .455.|
Lefty James Heuser started off the game well, not allowing a run or a hit during his first three innings of the season. However, Heuser allowed allowed a solo homerun to Chris Parmelee in the fourth and left after 3.2 innings. He allowed only that solo homerun, although he did walk four while striking out two.
Jason Fernandez was able to finish off the fourth for Heuser and pitch a scoreless fifth but he struggled in the sixth. The right-hander started the inning off with a walk and left after allowing a single and a run-scoring double. Pat Currin relieved Fernandez and allowed one of Fernandez's inherited runners to score before closing out the inning. That pulled the Snappers into a 3-3 tie with Kane County.
The Snappers would break the tie in the top of the seventh inning when they scored two off of Cougars' reliever Scott Moore. Moore allowed a two-run homer to Daniel Valencia with one-out in the seventh. That would give the Cougars a 5-3 lead that they would never relinquish.
Mike Affronti would score after leading off the bottom of the seventh with a double, bringing the Cougars to within a run at 5-4, but they would get no closer.
Affronti was the star of the offense again for Kane County. He doubled twice, scoring once and driving in a run. The shortstop is five for his first 11 this season. Christian Vitters, Alex Valdez and Mike Massaro also had RBIs for Kane County. Massaro stole his first base of the year in the game. The Cougars are now 0-3 on the young season.