Erie MLN: Rollercoaster Season Continues

What has happened to the Erie SeaWolves? The roller coaster ride this season continues. The ‘Wolves looked like they had righted the ship after getting off to a horrible start this year. At one point Erie was in first-place, then everything just seem to fall apart, again.

The SeaWolves were 13-6 as of May 19. The slide began from there. Erie entered a pivotal series with first-place Altoona. Erie went on another eight game losing streak, their second of the season before getting a win against the Harrisburg Senators on Friday, May 28. In the win that broke the eight game streak Erie (25-28) pitcher Andy Oliver once again showed why he is TigsTown's No. 9 prospect. The left-hander threw seven strong innings allowing only one run while striking out six. Oliver picked up his team leading fifth win on the season. "Playing defense behind I sit there and think I sure don't want to face him (Oliver)," said Michael Bertram. "He's throwing 93-94 MPH and going right after hitters." "It's fun playing defense behind him." "He's hard for hitters to pick up," said manager Phil Nevin "I feel like I had good outing," said Oliver. "I couldn't command my fastball early on, but my defense picked me up. The ‘Wolves could not build on the momentum from Oliver's win though. Erie dropped their next two games before finally closing out the Harrisburg series with a win. Again though the Erie could not build off of the victory dropping the first two games of their three game series against Akron. Erie finished the month of May with a 15-15 record, and has dropped the first two games in June. Ciriaco Returns Audy Ciriaco returned from a 13-day absence and his presence was felt in the line-up immediately. After Harrisburg tied the game 1-1 against Oliver in the top of the sixth Ciriaco stepped to the plate with two men on. The ‘Wolves third baseman connected for a three-run home run that cleared the left field wall at Jerry Uht Park and propelled Erie to the 7-4 win. Ciriaco, who was returning after resting his wrist, the same wrist that delayed his call-up to Erie earlier in the season was not done with the power surge. TigsTown's No. 16 prospect stepped to the plate against the Senators on Sunday, May 30, with Erie already down 5-0. He connected for his second home run of the series, a grand slam that brought the ‘Wolves to within a run. Ciriaco followed with another home run on Memorial Day to complete his offensive explosion. "It feels good to be back," said Ciriaco. "I am able to turn on pitches again, and don't have to guess." Since returning Ciriaco is 6-for-23 (.260), with three home runs, and 10 RBIs. Ciriaco now has four home runs on the season, and may be a sign that his wrist is finally starting to heal so he showcase some of the power that makes him one of the Tiger's most intriguing prospects. Offense Breaks Out, For a Day At Least The ‘Wolves provided their own fireworks on Memorial Day defeating the Harrisburg Senators 11-9. One of the most remarkable things that occurred during the win was that the ‘Wolves hit for a team cycle in the bottom of the sixth inning. Erie scored six runs in the inning. "It was pretty cool that we did that," said Cale Iorg. Iorg (TigsTown's No. 11 prospect) doubled and finished the day 3-for-3. The shortstop had been slumping and made some adjustments at the plate. "I got rid of the leg kick and since then I have been able to recognize pitches better," said Iorg. Shawn Roof tripled in the inning for the ‘Wolves. The utility infielder is leading the team with a .301 batting average, while playing second and third base. Ciriaco provided the long ball for Erie in the inning, a two-run shot that hit off the Erie Civic Center. Blazing Bertram The ‘Wolves first baseman has hit safely in 32 of his last 37 games. His season batting average is up to .277 on the season after being as low as .049. Although he has cooled off a little of late he is still hitting .278 (10-for-36) over his last 10 games. "I started off really slow this season," said Bertram. "I was putting a little too much pressure on myself earlier in the season." Bertram's confidence has grown as the season has gone on, and if the ‘Wolves are going to be productive offensively Bertram will be a key contributor. Quick Hits - Andy Oliver has not walked a batter in his last two starts. He is 1-1 in that span after losing to the Akron Aeros on Wednesday night. The lefty allowed 5 runs (four earned), while striking out five. - Wilkin Ramirez hit his league leading 15th home run of the season against Akron on Tuesday. Unfortunately Ramirez also leads the league in strikeouts with 79. - Erie continues their road trip with one more game in Akron before traveling to Bowie for a three game series. When the ‘Wolves return home they will face two new foes over a six game home stand. Portland and New Hampshire come to town for the only time this season.

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