Cardinals Minor League Notebook: 05/01/15

St. Louis’ minors went 3-1 on Thursday with Memphis, Palm Beach and Peoria all notching wins – Palm Beach’s victory highlighted by Trey Nielsen’s excellent outing. Springfield lost again.

Results from games played Thursday, May 1st.

Memphis 4 at New Orleans 3

John Gast’s first quality start of 2015 led the Redbirds (8-12) to a 4-3 triumph over the Express in the first of four in The Big Easy.

Gast (W, 1-2) allowed a two-run bomb in the first plus a subsequent tally, yielding five hits and two walks through six. He struck out three and plunked two batters. Marcus Hatley tossed two scoreless frames, giving up one hit and Sam Tuivailala fanned two in a one-two-three ninth for his third save.

The Memphis offense was held to just five hits, but two were of the long ball variety, accounting for three runs. After the club pushed across one in the first, Scott Moore’s solo shot evened the game at two all after three. New Orleans (MIA) went back up 3-2 through four but Xavier Scruggs provided the difference when he launched his fifth home run of 2015 that scored Stephen Piscotty (triple). Moore added a double to his blast, knocking in two.

Friday’s game: at New Orleans (8-11), 7:00 pm CT, Boone Whiting (0-1, 6.57)

Springfield 2 at Northwest Arkansas 7

Lousy pitching and insufficient hitting combined for the S-Cards’ 7-2 defeat at Northwest Arkansas (KC), giving the Naturals a four-game sweep. Springfield (5-15) has now lost seven in a row.

Andrew Morales (L, 1-1) tossed his first truly bad effort of the season and was pounded for 12 hits and two bases-on-balls yielding five runs, three earned, in just 5 1/3. Joe Donofrio recorded the sixth’s final two outs, leaving Morales’ last runner aboard, but gave up two tallies on three hits and a walk in 1 2/3. Iden Nazario allowed a hit and walk in the eighth.

Seven different S-Cards each had one hit but the offense lacked both punch - only one extra-base hit - and coordination. Springfield went 1-for-5 with runners in scoring position and left eight on the base paths. Michael Ohlman and Aledmys Diaz both went 1-for-3 with a walk and run scored, Ohlman doubling once.

Friday’s game: at Arkansas (13-7) (LAA), 7:10 pm CT, Nick Petree (0-2, 4.74)

Palm Beach 7 vs. Jupiter 2

The Beach Birds came out on top of ‘Miscue Night’ at Roger Dean Stadium, downing the Hammerheads 7-2 in the series’ opener.

Three combined errors generated six unearned runs and Palm Beach (12-9) was the primary beneficiary, scoring four of them. That was key since the PB-Cards had more free passes (eight) than hits (five). Luke Voit singled and doubled in three at bats with a walk and run scored. Ronald Castillo went 1-for-2 with two bases-on-balls, touched home twice with two RBI. His only hit was a two-run home run that capped his team’s scoring in the third after they exploded for a five-run second.

Player of the Day Trey Nielsen (W, 2-2) tossed a gem, coming within an out of seven frames while permitting two unearned runs on five hits and two walks. Three of the five hits came in the third when both runs scored, Nielsen finished strongly, retiring 13 of his last 15 batters. Josh Lucas fanned four over the last 2 1/3, yielding two hits and a walk and stranding an inherited runner.

Friday’s game: vs. Jupiter (8-13) (MIA), 6:35 pm ET, Corey Littrell (0-3, 6.35)

Peoria 3 vs. Beloit 1

The Chiefs (10-11) were the last team standing in a pitching duel on Thursday, defeating the Snappers 3-1 in the rubber game of the series.

Each pitching staff held the opposition to just three singles and one extra-base hit but Peoria’s offense was both timely and powerful. Blake Drake’s only hit in three at bats got the scoring started in the third, a solo bomb that gave the home team a 1-0 advantage. After Beloit (OAK) tied it at 1-1 with their own solo shot the next inning, the Chiefs pushed across an unearned tally in the bottom of the frame.

That is how matters stood until the home half of the eighth when the team manufactured another run on two singles sandwiched around a steal and sac bunt. Oscar Mercado and Collin Radack both singled once in four at bats with a run scored, Radack driving in one. Mercado swiped his Midwest League-best 11th base.

Daniel Poncedeleon (W, 2-0) headed a quintet of Peoria hurlers, striking out seven in 5 2/3. The righty surrendered three hits and a walk that generated the aforementioned home run.

Blake McKnight had another solid outing, blanking the Snappers on a base-on-balls over two and leaving Poncedeleon’s final runner on. Nick Lomascolo was given a quick hook after putting on his first two batters on a single and hit batsman but Tyler Bray ended the threat by striking out the opposition’s number three bat. That paved the way for Kyle Grana in the ninth, as the righty fanned two with one free pass for his third save.

Friday’s game: vs. Burlington (13-8) (LAA), 7:00 pm CT, Dewin Perez (0-0, 0.00)

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