M's Minor League Playoff Roundup - 9/14

Tacoma and Wisconsin each lost on Wednesday, and now they face must-win scenarios heading into the third game of their respective series'.

Rainiers, Foppert drilled by Nashville, Fall Behind 2-0 in Series
By Joe Kaiser


Nashville scored nine runs in the first four innings at their home field on Wednesday and Tacoma booted the ball around, committing five errors in all, as the Sounds pulled away for an 11-5 win over the Rainiers.

The loss leaves Tacoma down 2-0 in the best-of-five Pacific Coast League championship series. Game three will be held on Friday as the Rainiers return home to Cheney Stadium. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. The Rainiers will try to keep their playoff hopes alive by sending southpaw Damian Moss to the hill to face Sounds right-hander Gary Glover.

If necessary, games four and five will also be held in Tacoma.

For the second night in a row, the Rainiers' starter didn't fair well against the hard-hitting Sounds' lineup. On Tuesday, it was Bobby Livingston. On Wednesday, it was Jesse Foppert. The right-hander allowed seven runs – five earned – in just 2.2 innings before giving way to relief, and the Rainiers never recovered from the early deficit.

The foursome of Sean Green, Michael Bumstead, Jeff Heaverlo and Masao Kida allowed four runs over 5.1 innings of relief.

Nashville starter, Tommy Phelps, didn't make the best of starts either, giving up five runs in six innings, but still managed to earn the win by benefiting from the Sounds' early offensive surge. He struck out seven, walked four and gave up three home runs on the night.

The homers came off the bats of Abraham Nunez (1st inning), Justin Leone (5th inning) and T.J. Bohn (6th inning). Nunez and Bohn were the only Rainiers with multi-hit games, each collecting two.

Nashville had four batters with at least two hits, and finished with 13 as a team.


Rattlers Lose Again, Face Elimination on Thursday
By Jeff Harrison


Wisconsin couldn't get anything going on offense and its pitching eventually gave way as the South Bend Silver Hawks took game two of the Midwest League championship series, 4-1, pushing the Rattlers to the brink of elimination.

South Bend ace Ross Ohlendorf had the Rattlers number all night. The right-hander limited the Rattlers to one run on five hits in 7.1 innings of work.

The loss puts the Rattlers down 0-2 in the best of five game series with the Silver Hawks. In game three, the Rattlers will return to Fox Cities Stadium on Thursday night at 6:35pm. Robert Rohrbaugh will be the starting pitcher for the Timber Rattlers and South Bend will counter with Koley Kolberg.

On Wednesday, South Bend jumped ahead when Cesar Nicolas, who went 2-3 with a run scored and an RBI, led off the bottom of the second with a homer to left field.

The lone score for the Rattlers came in the top of the fourth inning when Oswaldo Navarro hit a line double to left field. He later advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on a groundout by Jeff Clement.

Right-hander Aaron Jensen pitched well most of the evening, keeping the Silver Hawks bats at bay. That all changed in the bottom of the seventh inning when South Bend grabbed the lead.

After a leadoff walk and a single, Jensen hit Wilkin Castillo with a pitch to load the bases. Brent Johnson had a fielding error on the next play that allowed Orlando Mercado to reach safely and Carlos Gonzalez to score from third, breaking the 1-1 tie. The next batter, Jeremey Milons, drove in Nicholas from third with a force out to second base, making it a 3-1 lead for South Bend. The scoring was rounded out when Brandon Simon singled on a bunt to Navarro at second base, scoring Castillo to make it 4-1.

The last effort for the Rattlers came in the eighth inning when Josh Womack drew a walk and Johnson was hit by a pitch, putting two runners on with one out. But the Rattlers playoff star Navarro struck out for the third time and Clement popped up to end the inning and the Rattlers' hopes of a rally.

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