Bakersfield Comes up Short in the Ninth

Three runs in the bottom of the ninth was not enough to prevent Bakersfield from dropping their third straight after an eleven game win streak. Billy Hamilton had two more hits to raise his average to .402. For the time bing it appears that he and Pensacola shortstop Didi Gregorius will remain with their current teams after Louisville's Paul Janish suffered a wrist injury this past weekend.

A rally in the bottom of the ninth came up short for the Blaze last night as they lost to Lancaster at Sam Lynn Field. They started off the inning down four with two out and no one on base. Four batters later Andrew Means delivered a two-run single to cut the lead to 5-4. It was the second hit on the night for Means who was left on first with the tying run when the game ended. DH Travis Mattair hit a solo home run in the sixth. Thus far this season Mattair has shown an "all-or-nothing" type of stroke as six of his nine hits have gone over the fence. Josh Smith lost his third game after allowing three runs on five hits and four walks over five innings.

Blaze shortstop Billy Hamilton went 2-4 to raise his average to .402. There was some speculation that he and Pensacola shortstop Didi Gregorius might be promoted up a level to fill the vacancy left by Paul Janish at Louisville. The veteran Janish was hitting .315 for the Bats before suffering a wrist injury Saturday when he was hit by a pitch. Instead the Reds opted to move Kris Negron to short and promoted Pensacola backup Miguel Rojas. That means that for the time being Hamilton and Gregorius will continue to see action with their current teams.

Not only does Hamilton have the gaudy average, he's also shown plate discipline that has his given him a higher-than-expected gap between it and his .481 on-base pct. Though he has only one home run in around 100 trips to the plate, almost one third of his hits have gone for extra bases causing a surprising .598 slugging pct. Of course once he's on he knows what to do because he's stolen 29 bases in 35 attempts. That total is even more impressive when considering that he's reached base only 39 times via a walk or single.

High on his list for development this season was glove work. Last night he committed his eighth error in 24 games, which is roughly the same rate he had at Dayton last season. Perhaps playing shortstop long term is not in his future, but right now the Reds want to continue seeing his speed at the middle infield position. One thing for sure is that as long as the 21 year-old keeps up this kind of offensive production he will be playing somewhere long term and it won't be at the single A level.

Other News from the Farm:

For the second game in a row Louisville dropped an extra-inning affair at Norfolk. Last night the score was 5-4 after ten innings. Kristopher Negron, Neftali Soto, Mike Costanzo and Corky Miller all had two hits each while Daniel Dorn added his fifth home run. Miller is now leading the team with a .333 average. Once again Brett Tomko was able to leave a lot of opposing runners on base. He left after five allowing up two runs from seven hits and five walks. Josh Judy was scored upon for only the second time in nine appearances this season and was charged with his first blown save and the loss.

Cody Puckett drove in the winning run in the bottom of the tenth when Pensacola downed Jackson 5¬-4. Puckett went 3-4 with a walk on the night including his second home run and raised his average to .307. Henry Rodriguez and Koyie Hill added two hits each. Starter Tim Gustafson was lifted in the fifth inning before Wirfin Obispo came in to pitch three scoreless innings of relief. Donnie Joseph ran his streak of scoreless appearances to start the season to ten when he threw the final two frames and picked up his third win.

Billy Hamilton Theft Watch:

Hamilton reached base twice last night without stealing. He led off the fourth with a double and before he could run the pitcher made a throwing error in a pickoff attempt. Hamilton motored around third and was thrown out at the plate. He singled in the sixth and advanced to second on a walk before an inning-ending double play.

He now has 29 stolen bases in 24 games.

Dayton was idle last night. They resume their season tonight at Fifth Third Field with Justice French going for his fourth win of the season.

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