This notebook covers the period of 5/5 through 5/10.
5/5/15: Peoria Chiefs 2 @ Clinton LumberJacks 1
LHP Austin Gomber put the Chiefs on his back in his terrific, career-best outing. Gomber knocked down the LumberJacks with eight innings of shutout ball while striking out seven. The southpaw did not walk any batters and only allowed four hits.
The Chiefs broke onto the scoreboard in the top of the fourth thanks to the speedy Oscar Mercado. With one out, the shortstop singled up the middle. Danny Diekroeger was intentionally walked after Mercado stole second. With a pitch in the dirt thrown to Nick Thompson, Burlington catcher Daniel Torres fired over to second to get Diekroeger, who tried to advance. However, Mercado showed off his wheels by scoring all the way from second on the costly throw, making it 1-0.
The Chiefs added their second run on a two-out rally in the top of the sixth via Nick Thompson’s bases-loaded walk.
Reliever Kyle Grana surrendered the only Clinton run in the bottom of ninth on a sacrifice fly hit out to deep center. Grana came back though, striking out Bees RF Alex Jackson, who represented the potential winning run.
5/6/15: Peoria Chiefs 2 @ Clinton LumberJacks 0
In an excellent pitched game from both sides, the Chiefs eked out a 2-0 win to take the series. Peoria wasted no time taking the lead. Darren Seferina led off the game with a single to right and then swiped second. With one out, Collin Radack singled in Seferina.
Led by Daniel Poncedeleon’s six inning-shutout with eight punchouts, the bullpen also threw in a great effort. Jhonny Polanco, Tyler Bray, and Robby Rowland pitched their own perfect innings in support. Polanco and Bray both earned their third holds of the season, and Rowland nabbed his fourth save.
Oscar Mercado went 0-for-4, ending his 10-game hitting streak.
5/7/15: Peoria Chiefs 0 @ Burlington Bees 9
Chiefs starter Dewin Perez felt the sting from the Bees in his third start back from injury. Burlington brought out the big bats, highlighted by a seven-run bottom of the second.
Perez finished with 1 1/3 innings pitched and six runs on four hits under his belt.
Rowland couldn’t stop the bleeding out of the bullpen. On a 1-2 pitch with the bags packed, Bees 2B Andrew Daniel smacked one over the wall in left, making it a 7-0 game. Burlington added on two more runs in the bottom of the fifth.
Peoria’s offense was dismal as the 3-4-5 hitters (Diekroeger, Thompson, and Radack) combined for seven of the team’s 11 strikeouts. Diekroeger and Radack both had hat tricks, punched out three times.
5/8/15: Peoria Chiefs 3 @ Burlington Bees 2
A quality start from Matt Pearce gave the Chiefs a nice bounce-back win. Nick Thompson, who batted from the two hole for the day, homered in the first inning on the first pitch he saw. Andrew Sohn scored the second run on a wild pitch in the top of the third.
The only blemish on Pearce’s quality start came via an unearned run for the Bees in the fourth. Fran Whitten singled in Zach Houchins, who reached first on a throwing error from Sohn at second base.
Pearce struck out eight on five hits with no earned runs over six innings pitched.
Burlington showed some life with Andrew Daniel’s solo shot to make it 3-2 in the bottom of the eighth. However, that was all she wrote for the home club. Kyle Grana came in the ninth to cap the win for Peoria.
5/9/15: Peoria Chiefs 3 @ Burlington Bees 1
The starting pitching continued on its roll. Fernando Baez took the bump and tossed six shutout innings to give Peoria its eighth win in the last 12. Manager Joe Kruzel was more than pleased with Baez, calling his performance “tremendous.”
Collin Radack broke the scoreless tie in the top of the sixth via an opposite field solo shot on the first pitch he saw from Bees starter Keynan Middleton. The Chiefs added two more in the seventh to make it 3-0.
Rowland came in to the ninth and gave up a run, but still earned the save.
Stats of the Week
The Chiefs starting rotation had not allowed a run in 20 1/3 innings prior to Burlington’s outburst against Dewin Perez on May 7th.
Oscar Mercado leads the Midwest League in stolen bases with 18.
Austin Gomber - The young lefty did not go unnoticed with his career-high outing of eight innings of shutout ball against Clinton this week, receiving Midwest League Pitcher of the Week honors as a result.
Gomber has settled himself down after a rough outing two weeks ago against the Quad Cities River Bandits in which he gave up six runs in 5 2/3 innings pitched. In his last two starts, Gomber’s stat line features two earned runs and 11 strikeouts on 15 innings pitched while boasting a 1.20 ERA.
Blake Drake – The 21-year-old outfielder is still struggling at the plate. Drake did not record a hit through this period and sat out in the Burlington finale. Drake also committed an error in the May 5th Burlington game that resulted in their only run crossing the plate that evening. Currently, Drake is 14-for-76 in 28 games this season for an average of .184.
There was no player movement this week.
The Chiefs are 15-15, which put them in third place in the Midwest League Western Division. The Quad Cities River Bandits (HOU) remain in first and have a firm grasp on the lead. The River Bandits are 25-6 overall and currently hold a 12-game winning streak.
On Monday, May 11, the Chiefs kicked off a four-game set on the road against the Cedar Rapids Kernels (MIN). After that, the Chiefs are back at home with three against Beloit (OAK) and four with the Quad Cities River Bandits.
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