Chick Wins (Finally); Casey Baker Breaks Out

Stop the presses! Travis Chick picks up his first win of the season, Matt Bush has back to back multi-RBI games, and according to Ronnie Merrill, "ninety-five right into my bat" is the reason for his home run output. He leads the BayBears with four jacks, while no other Mobile player has more than two. Clayton Hamilton credited "aggressiveness" and his "defense" as the reasons for his eight inning gem.

Portland lost 8-2

Welcome to Portland, Roger Deago. The left-hander, recently promoted from Mobile after posting a 1.38 ERA and not allowing a run over his final two starts, lasted five innings and surrendered six runs on ten hits and two walks. It was his worst start since allowing six runs on August 25, 2003. Deago had not allowed more than four runs in any start last season and that happened just once in 2004. Deago had limited opponents to a .208 average in Mobile.

Ben Johnson went 2-for-4, claiming half of the Beavers hits on the day. It was his second multi-hit game in a row, the first time he has accomplished the feat on the season. Johnson has hits in eight of his last nine games, raising his average from .211 to .239. The only thing Johnson had done well so far this season is hit .290 with runners in scoring position. He hasn't had that many chances, however, garnering just 31 at bats.

Jon Knott went 1-for-2 with two walks and an RBI. Knott has RBI's in three straight games for the first time this year. He also has hits in four straight games to give him his highest average of the year, a modest .227. Four of his last five hits have gone for extra bases. With 21 walks on the year, Knott has an on base percentage of .351.

Mobile won 8-3

Ronnie Merrill, a guest with Mobile BayBears broadcaster Tim Hagerty prior to the game after hitting two homers in Tuesday's game to put his total at a team-leading four for the year, admitted homers weren't something he looked for.

"It is something new for me," said Merrill, whose career high in homers is eight. "It is not something I am trying to do. It is a matter of putting a good swing on the ball. I got in two good hitter counts. Ninety-five (miles per hour) right into my bat goes a long way."

As for the mood of the team after losing eight of their last ten:

"I think it is decent," Merrill admitted. "It is not great. We are down after we lose. Everyday we come to the park we have a good attitude."

Merrill went 1-for-5 with two RBI's on Wednesday. He has knocked in seven runs over his past four games. His 19 RBI's lead the BayBears.

Travis Chick earned his first Southern League victory, coming in his seventh start of the year. Chick went 5.2 innings and allowed three runs on seven hits while striking out seven. Since surrendering eight runs in consecutive outings, Chick has given up eight runs over his past three outings.

Casey Baker entered the game without an extra base hit to his name in 25 games. Batting leadoff, Baker homered in his first at bat and doubled in his next two times to the dish, giving him his first three-hit game of the year. Baker also scored four runs to match the amount of runs he scored over the previous 20 games. The homer also resulted in his first RBI of the season.

Lake Elsinore lost 7-1

Chris Tierney went six innings, allowing six runs, two earned, on a season high 11 hits. The lefty has yet to allow more than three earned runs in a game but has walked ten batters over his last 9.1 innings and batters are hitting .322 off him this year with a 1.72 WHIP (walks plus hits per inning pitched).

Juan Ciriaco had one of two Storm hits on the day, a double to drive in the lone run. Ciriaco's last seven hits have gone for extra bases. The shortstop has been the epitome of a contact hitter, walking twice in the last 13 games and striking out three times over his last 15 contests. His 20 RBI's are tied with Peeter Ramos for second most on the team.

Eddie Bonine allowed a run on three hits in two innings of work. It is the third straight game he has allowed a run and the right-hander has allowed runs in seven of his 13 appearances. Hitters are batting .327 off him this year and .419 with runners in scoring position.

Fort Wayne won 3-1

In the longest outing of his pro career, Clayton Hamilton cruised through eight innings of work, allowing one run on two hits and two walks. He has allowed two earned runs or less in five consecutive starts and has won six straight starts. Over the last 29.1 innings, Hamilton has allowed four earned runs. He has held the opposition to a .222 average against this year.

"Today I knew it was an aggressive team we were facing," Hamilton said via phone. "I just wanted to keep the ball down and get them out early in the count."

Hamilton also credited the defense behind him for helping him out on Wednesday.

"Our defense is unbelievable," the right-hander added. "Matt Bush made a play up the middle that was a big league play. Dowdy snagged a pretty hard hit ball. The defense has been great."

And of the longest outing of his career, Hamilton wasn't sure he would make it to the hill for the eighth inning but was glad he got the chance, "I still was spotting the ball pretty good and didn't lose any velocity.

Over the last 11 games he has appeared in, Matt Varner has registered 11 saves. He has thrown nine straight scoreless outings, allowing five hits and one walk over that span. Eight of those saves have come on the road with Wednesday's save his third at home. While hitters are batting .194 against him on the road, they have hit .333 off him at home.

Matt Bush drove in two runs for the second consecutive game. He has a five game hitting streak, going 7-for-17 with six RBI's. Bush has pushed his average up from .208 to .240 over the last seven games. Bush is batting .283 in the eight hole and has hit just .197 anywhere else in the lineup. Bush committed his 12th error of the year to lead the Midwest League. He has four errors in his last five games.

MadFriars Top Stories