A balanced scoring attack featuring eight Redbirds plus their hurlers' three-hit showing led the visitors to a game two victory and even the series at one game apiece with two to play. Memphis (11-10) and Round Rock both sit atop their division, a game ahead of Nashville (MIL).
All nine Redbirds had at least one hit with eight either scoring a run, driving in one or both. Six players had two hits apiece, Stephen Piscotty maximizing his 2-for-5 night by touching home twice and knocking in one. Pete Kozma added his second home run, going 2-for-3 with a walk and two RBI. Greg Garcia singled and doubled, driving in two.
Angel Castro (W, 2-2) produced his finest results in a Redbirds uniform to date, tossing five frames of two-hit, three walk ball. He struck out four. Jorge Rondon gave up the Express' final hit during his two-inning stint. Keith Butler and David Aardsma each faced the minimum, Butler fanning one and Aardsma two. None of the final three pitchers issued a free pass.
Saturday's game: at Round Rock (11-10), 7:05 pm CT, Tim Cooney (3-0, 2.28)
The S-Cards translated three base-on-balls into three scores, edging their hosts 3-2 in the series' opener. Springfield (11-10) took sole possession of first with the win, a game in front of Tulsa (COL).
The visitors worked four free passes for the game and made the Naturals pay by plating three of them. The game began with back-to-back walks to Mike O'Neill and James Ramsey, both racing home on Cody Stanley's double, Springfield's only extra-base hit of the game. Rafael Ortega drew a one-out base-on-balls in the sixth, scoring on Luis Mateo's two-out single.
Kurt Heyer, facing Arkansas for the second straight time, generated identical results. The righty held the opposition to a run on four hits and three base-on-balls over six, matching both the run total and mound time that he mustered on the 20th.
Ronnie Shaban fanned three with one hit allowed in the seventh. Arkansas' other run came off Justin Wright in the eighth on a walk, single sac bunt and ground out. It was the first time Wright has been scored upon in 2014, a span covering 10 appearances and 10 innings. Dean Kiekhefer retired the side in order in the ninth for his fourth save.
Saturday's game: at Arkansas (8-13), 6:10 pm CT, Kyle Hald (1-0, 1.80)
The Beach Birds produced only a single tally from their 10 hits, falling to host Fort Myers 5-1 in game one. Palm Beach (9-12) has lost four of the last five and is now tied for fourth with Jupiter (MIA), four behind St. Lucie (NYM).
Despite the 10 hits, all singles, only five Beach Birds reached scoring position and only one of those saw home plate, Charlie Tilson. Tilson's 3-for-5 night paced his squad. Breyvic Valera and Alex Mejia each had two hits.
Thomas Lee permitted single scores in the first and fourth then put the game out of reach with three more in the sixth. Lee gave up nine hits and a walk in 5 2/3 with five strikeouts. Dixon Llorens was perfect through the final 2 1/3, fanning three and stranding an inherited runner.
Saturday's game: at Fort Myers (12-9), 6:05 pm ET, Cory Jones (0-0, 13.00)
Ronald Castillo's perfect night at the plate led the Chiefs to an 8-4 triumph over Quad Cities in the series' opener. Third-place Peoria (12-7) has gone 4-0 in their home stand, keeping pace with first-place Kane County (CHC), which they trail by two games.
Castillo, our Player of the Day, singled three times in three at bats, adding a base-on-balls and two runs scored. Eight other Chiefs had one hit each, including Matthew Young's grand slam in the fifth that plated Castillo, Carson Kelly (single) and Kenny Peoples-Walls (single). Young was aboard in the second on a fielder's choice when Mason Katz blasted his fourth home run, a three-run shot that scored Castillo as well and was part of a four-run second.
Jimmy Reed notched his first 2014 win against one loss, tossing five frames of seven-hit, one-walk ball that resulted in two tallies. He fanned two. Chris Perry allowed two runs on three hits and three free passes with two strikeouts over the next two. Kevin Herget retired all six batters faced, three by strikeout.
Saturday's game: vs. Quad Cities (9-11), 1:00 pm CT, Silfredo Garcia (1-2, 4.50)
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