Lake Elsinore Storm, Fort Wayne WIzards clinch

Oxspring pitched deep into the game but took the loss. Mobile could not continue the hitting from the night before. The Lake Elsinore Storm clinched a first half Championship which translates into a playoff spot at the end of the year and a first round bye. Mike Ekstrom came through in a big way for Fort Wayne and it lead to a playoff spot for the Wizards, courtesy of a second place finish in the first half race.


On Thursday, we erroneously reported Brian Fryer as being hitless in 13 at bats when he plays in right field. He is actually seven for his last 13 in right field entering play on Friday and hitless in 13 at bats in left field. Our apologies to Brian for misrepresenting him.

Portland lost 5-3

For the fifth straight game, Chris Oxspring lasted seven innings but for the first time in five games he took the loss. He allowed four runs on eight hits and three walks while striking out seven. It is the fourth time he has walked three in a game this season and the eighth time he has surrendered four or more runs in 13 starts. Oxspring's ERA sits at 4.69 for the year largely due to his ability to go deep in games.

Josh Barfield went 2-for-4 with an RBI, giving him hits in 17 of his last 19 games. He is hitting .382 for the month of June. Interestingly, only 14 of Barfield's 73 hits on the year have gone for extra bases putting him on pace for 30 this year. Forty-nine of his 129 hits last year went for extra bases.

Newcomer Scott Stewart allowed one run on one hit, a homer, and ground into a double play at the plate. The left-hander has now allowed homers in consecutive relief appearances with the opposition 4-for-11 off him. He is perfect against left-handers since joining Portland while righties are hitting .308 off him.

Mobile lost 7-2

BayBears manager Gary Jones spoke with broadcaster Tim Hagerty prior to Friday's game.

On Nick Trzesniak being dinged up with a leg injury:

It is a little sore today. Just as a precaution he is not in the lineup today. There is no rush. If we have to give him an extra day or two it is no problem.

On Thursday night and pounding out 19 hits:

It was the kind of game that will get hitters to relax.

On the motto for the rest of the first half:

The main goal is to continue to play hard in this first half. I believe the team is showing signs of playing on a more consistent basis. I think we will be fine.

Unfortunately the team sputtered on Friday.

Mike Thompson gave up six runs on ten hits in five innings of work. Over the last four games Thompson has allowed 38 hits, a .384 average against. By comparison he gave up 54 hits over his first ten starts, .229 against. He has given up 19 runs in the last three outings after surrendering 19 total runs over his first 11 outings. The righty also had two wild pitches in the game. He had just three entering play.

Casey Baker went 1-for-3 to extend his hitting streak to eight games. He also added an RBI, his fifth of his current streak. Baker is 11-for-25 during the eight game span with nine runs scored and three stolen bases. He has raised his average from .186 to .236 in the process. Baker is hitting .368 in June with six of his eight RBI's.

Paul McAnulty pushed his hitting streak to 13 games but it was Greg Sain with the only two-hit game for Mobile. Sain has four multi-hit games in his last five affairs and a six game hitting streak. Sain is 10-for-23 over the streak and has struck out just twice. The first baseman has 57 hits on the year and just 16 of those went for extra bases. Fifty of his 107 hits a year ago went for extra bases.

Lake Elsinore won 11-5, clinches first half title, playoff spot and first round bye

Eddie Bonine got back into the starting rotation on Friday and it is a move that will keep him there for the foreseeable future. Bonine went a season-high five innings and allowed two runs, one earned, on four hits while striking out four. Since the start of June, Bonine has limited the opposition to a .227 batting average against. In April and May, the opposition hit .326 off him.

Juan Ciriaco added two more RBI's to his team leading total – his second multi-RBI game in as many days. Ciriaco has knocked in eight runs over his last seven games to give him 44 for the season. His 23 extra base hits are tied for the team lead. Ciriaco also stole his tenth base of the year and committed his 26th error of this campaign. He is on pace to have over 50 errors this year at his current pace.

George Kottaras went 4-for-6 with a homer and three RBI's. It was the second four-hit night this year and marked the fourth time that he has knocked in three in one game. Kottaras also scored three runs – the first time he has scored more than two in a game. Kottaras, however, was charged with his 10th passed ball of the season.

Fort Wayne won 2-1, earns playoff spot

Just when they needed it, Super Mike came through with an inspiring performance to give Fort Wayne their seventh playoff appearances in 13 seasons. After allowing 15 runs over his last two starts, Mike Ekstrom settled into the ace role and tossed 7.1 innings and yielded one run on five hits and a walk while tying a season-high by striking out six to move to 9-1 on the year. It is the ninth time in 14 starts that he has allowed one run or less. In 30.1 innings from the fifth inning and beyond comprising all of his starts, Ekstrom has allowed just three runs.

Matt Varner came on to pitch the ninth after Ricky Steik got out of a jam left by Ekstrom with two on and one out in the eighth. Varner earned his 22nd save of the year by striking out two of the three batters he faced. Varner has given up just six hits over his last 13 appearances and has not yielded a run over that span. Since the start of May, Varner has held the opposition to a .159 average against.

The Wizards had two hits through the first six innings and they were the only ones that mattered. Colt Morton and Matt Lauderdale combined for back-to-back jacks to lead off the second inning. It was the first of the year for Lauderdale and the eventual game-winner while Morton hit his ninth. Morton has RBI's in each of his last four games and in nine of the last 11.

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