Results from games played Thursday, September 4th.
A wild pitch by a former Redbird allowed Greg Garcia to score the winning run as Memphis slipped past Omaha 4-3. With the best-of-five series tied at one game each, home field advantage shifts to the Redbirds, as they will play the rest of the series at AutoZone Park.
Garcia’s second hit of the night was a ninth-inning single off former Redbird and St. Louis Cardinal Clayton Mortensen, the only base runner the righty permitted in five frames. Garcia, who swiped just seven bases during the regular season, took off for second, prompting a throw by the Storm Chasers’ catcher which was just enough off line to send Garcia to third. The second baseman raced home when Mortensen uncorked a wild one.
The Redbirds pounced for two in the first on a home run by Scott Moore that also plated Tommy Pham (walk). Rafael Ortega’s fourth-inning triple drove in Garcia (single), padding the lead to 3-0. Ortega added a single, joining Garcia with two hits in four at bats, the only Redbirds with more than one of six team hits.
Omaha (KC) battled back with two in the home half of the fourth off Zach Petrick, with both tallies unearned due to Garcia’s fielding error. Petrick tossed his best outing since mid-July, giving up six hits and a walk through six. The righty fanned four with seven ground- and six fly-ball outs.
Petrick departed with his team up 3-2, but that lasted only until Eric Fornataro surrendered a solo shot in the seventh. Fornataro (BS, 1)(W, 1-0) worked around a lead-off double in the eighth, striking out three in two innings.
Jorge Rondon picked up his first save of the postseason but not before making things very interesting, yielding a hit and two walks, one intentional to load the bases with only one out. Rondon escaped by catching Omaha’s number two batter looking at strike three then getting a force at third.
Friday’s game: vs. Omaha (1-1), 7:05 pm CT, Justin Wright (4-0, 6.65)
Spotlight on – Justin Wright. The Redbirds’ rotation has been decimated due to St. Louis’ call-ups of Tyler Lyons and Marco Gonzales, so they turn to Justin Wright, who started only one game in 16 appearances. The bullpen will surely need to be active to cover nine innings.
Omaha counters with right-hander Sugar Ray Marimon (5-4, 3.56), who has not faced the Redbirds since May when he held them to two runs over seven innings. Having lost both their top two starters and top two sluggers in Randal Grichuk and Xavier Scruggs, the scales are tipped against Memphis.
Title hunt – Reno bounced back after losing the opener at Las Vegas, blanking the 51s, 6-0. In their game three, the Aces (ARI) will send Bradin Hagens (1-1, 2.55) to the mound while Las Vegas (NYM) goes with Noah Syndergaard (9-7, 4.60).
Anderson, our Player of the Day, was masterful over 7 1/3, retiring the first 17 straight and holding the Renegades to three hits while fanning four. Anderson induced nine ground- to seven fly- ball outs and did not issue a free pass. Lucas struck out the side in the ninth after yielding a lead-off single, stranding an inherited runner and earning the save.
Two wild pitches by Hudson Valley hurlers figured prominently. The Spikes’ first-inning tally began with Darren Seferina’s lead-off single, followed by a wild pitch that sent the runner to third and a ground out. The second occurred in the sixth, allowing Nick Thompson (single) to move to second, where he took advantage of a subsequent fielding error to come home.
Friday’s game: vs. Hudson Valley (1-1), 7:05 pm ET, Fernando Baez (2-2, 3.94)
Spotlight on – Fernando Baez. Having compiled a solid 2014 campaign with the Spikes, hard-throwing Baez takes the mound in the ‘win-or-go-home’ third game. The 22-year-old gave up just 32 hits in 45 1/3, a .201 Batting Average Against, but walked an average of 5 ½ batters every nine innings. Baez did not face the Renegades during the regular season. Hudson Valley has yet to announce its starting pitcher.
Title hunt – Top seed Tri-City (HOU) awaits the winner of Friday’s contest, having downed Connecticut (DET) 6-5. The league finals, a best-of-three, begin on Sunday at either State College or Hudson Valley. The ValleyCats will host the rest of the series’ games.
Johnson City struck first but Danville ended up striking hardest as the JC-Cards fell to the Braves 6-1 at home. Each team has one of the first two contests, with the league championship coming down to Friday’s game.
Three of four Appy Birds pitchers surrendered 11 hits that translated to six tallies, beginning with Steven Farinaro (L, 0-1). Farinaro allowed four runs on six hits and a walk in 4 1/3, all four tallies scoring in the fifth and wiping out a 1-0 lead.
Jonathan Escudero permitted Farinaro’s last runner to cross home plus one of his own on a solo bomb that was one of three hits and a walk given up in 2 2/3. Juan Caballero also yielded a solo shot in a two-hit eighth inning before Jery Then retired the side in order in the ninth.
Johnson City’s only tally occurred in the first when Oscar Mercado tripled and scored on a fielder’s choice. Mercado went 2-for-4 with a stolen base, the only Appy Bird with more than one of seven team hits. Magneuris Sierra swiped a bag as well.
Friday’s game: vs. Danville (1-1), 7:00 pm ET, Dailyn Martinez (6-3, 4.55)
Spotlight on – Dailyn Martinez. Johnson City’s hopes for a title rest on the right arm of Dailyn Martinez. Martinez was significantly better at home than on the road, holding opposing batters to a .250 average in 34 1/3 innings at Howard Johnson Field versus a .347 average in 23 road frames. Danville’s starting pitcher has not been announced.
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