Reds Get Lively in Fourth

Cincinnati went back to the college ranks in round four to selected right-hander Ben Lively out of Central Florida. Lively is a finesse pitcher with a four-pitch repertoire and prototypical pitcher's build. The 21 year-old has indicated that he's ready to leave college and could be expected to debut at Billings in the short season.

When Cincinnati's pick came around in the fourth round of this year's draft they went back to the list of eligible college players to select Ben Lively out of Central Florida with the 135th overall pick. He is a 6'4"/195# right-handed pitcher out of Gulf Breeze, FL. Three years ago the Indians drafted him out of high school in the 26th round.

During his final collegiate season he led Golden Knight pitchers with a 2.04 ERA while going 7-5 in 15 appearances. He showed excellent command against NCAA hitters with a K/BB ratio of 105/28 over 106 innings. His draft position was close to where many analysts predicted before the onset.

Like Reds third rounder Mark Armstrong, Lively is another pitcher that currently does not have overpowering stuff and his fastball spends a lot of time in the low 90's. However he does utilize four pitches with a slider being his favorite secondary offering. In addition to that there's also a curve ball and changeup that he's not afraid to use.

His comments before the draft indicate that he's ready to move on from college and start the next phase of his baseball career. The recommended slot value for his position is $303,500 and the Reds have a bonus pool of $5,596,600. The team has already signed to top Phillip Ervin at slot value and seven of their picks in the first ten plus competitive bonus rounds are college players and presumably easier to sign because they've used up most of their amateur eligibility.

Lively is 21 years old, making him a candidate to begin his pro career at Billings after the short seasons start. It might be a challenge for him right off the bat because the high altitude venues of the Pioneer League are not a friend to pitchers relying on breaking stuff. Expectations are that everything will soon be set for him to start throwing to wooden bats and taking the test against professional hitters.

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The Reds and Cubs finished their game at Wrigley despite horrible weather conditions with Cincinnati getting a 6-2 win. Offensively it was the Brandon Phillips show as the second baseman drove in all his team's runs. He started out with an RBI single at the first and then widened the lead with a grand slam in the fourth. Finally he capped off the Reds scoring with an RBI-groundout in the eighth. Phillips, Zach Cozart, and Xavier Paul each had two of the nine Reds hits while Joey Votto reached twice with a single and walk. Homer Bailey was strong for eight innings and took the win. He allowed only one unearned runs and four hits while striking out eight against two walks.

A couple of runs in the ninth weren't enough for Louisville as they fell 5-2 to visiting Durham. Billy Hamilton had three hits for the Bats while Josh Fellhauer and Denis Phipps both reached twice with a hit and walk. Pedro Villarreal took the loss by allowing four runs off five hits in six innings. Jose Arredondo and Logan Ondrusek both tossed a scoreless inning of relief.

Pensacola finished a suspended game from the previous night by allowing five runs in the ninth inning in a 7-5 loss at Mississippi. Ray Chang had three hits and three RBI for the Wahoos including three-run homer in the first to give his team an early lead. Corey Wimberly singled home a run in the second and a solo home run by Theo Bowe in the ninth completed the fish scoring. Loek Van Mil allowed five runs including a walk-off home run in less than one inning pitched for the loss.

In their regularly scheduled game Pensacola allowed one run in the eighth, which was an extra inning in the DH-shortened game and lost 2-1. Shaun Ellis got no decision from a nice start, allowing one run on two hits and a walk while striking out four in five-plus innings. Chris Manno entered in the seventh and allowed a walk-off home run in the next frame for the loss. The Wahoos took a brief lead in the sixth off an RBI double by Tucker Barnhart. He and Theo Bowe each had one of their team's four hits and both also reached via a walk.

Bakersfield jumped on visiting Visalia with six runs in the fourth en route to a 13-7 win. Mike Dennhardt picked up the win from a quality start, allowing three runs (two earned) on seven hits in six innings. The Blaze took an early lead when Ryan Wright and Yorman Rodriguez led off the first inning with back-to-back home runs. Wright struck again to get scoring started with a two-run double in the fourth. He then scored on a double by Marquez Smith who scored on Steve Selsky's single. Finally Juan Duran cleaned off the bases with a two-run homer. The Blaze weren't done then because Kyle Waldrop and Chris Berset plated another by leading off the next inning with back-to-back doubles. Selsky added a two-run homer in the sixth and Waldrop kept the attack going by knocking in a run with his second double and scored the final Bakersfield run from a hit by Wright. Wright led his team with three hits and four RBI. Waldrop and Berset also added three hits each. Four Blaze hitters chipped in with two hits: Rodriguez, Smith, Selsky and Juan Perez.

Dayton got blown out early in a 14-4 loss at Fort Wayne. Drew Cisco was roughed up for eight runs (seven earned) and lifted in the third inning for the loss. The Dragons avoided a shutout with four runs in the ninth including an RBI single by Jeff Gelalich and three-run homer by Junior Arias. Beau Amaral, Joe Terry, and Tanner Rahier each had two hits and Zach Vincej reached twice with walks.

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