At first it looked like the beginning of July would be a lot like June as Erie lost 3-of-4 games at The Diamond against the Richmond Flying Squirrels (41-46). Brooks Brown recorded the only win for Erie in a 6-0, complete game shut out on July 3.
It was Brown's Eastern League leading third complete game of the season. "It was my best game of the season," Brown said.
Although Erie dropped the finale in extra innings a confidence seemed to be restored in the team. Erie had lost 8 straight games by just one run.
The ‘Wolves returned home for a series against Bowie. The Baysox entered in second- place in the Eastern League Western Division.
In the opening game Erie provided some July 5 fireworks coming from four runs down in the bottom of the ninth before winning 8-7 in extra innings. First baseman Michael Bertram delivered the clutch hit with a two-out three-run double.
"It feels amazing," said Bertram. "We just had a rough trip where we lost a bunch of games on a game winning hit. To do that to someone else is great."
"After a stretch like we just went through a win like this our team deserved that," said manager Phil Nevin. "This team has never given up, they fought every game on the road- trip, but they just never give up and they showed that tonight."
The win catapulted Erie to a sweep of the Baysox. Erie outscored Bowie 37-14 in the series. "Offense is contagious and right now we are relaxed and performing," said shortstop Cale Iorg.
The offensive breaking out wasn't the only story of the past week.
Left-handed starter Charlie Furbush, a recent call up from Lakeland had one of the best starts for the SeaWolves this year. In the second game of the series, a 8-3 Erie victory Furbush allowed just two runs in his seven innings of work while striking out 11 Baysox hitters. It was the most strikeouts in a game recorded by an Erie pitcher on the year.
Both Duane Below and Andy Oliver recorded 10 strikeouts in starts earlier this season.
"I just attacked the zone and did what I've been doing all year," said Furbush. Erie carried the momentum from the first two games and exploded for 12 runs in the third game and another nine in the finale.
Adjusting Well to Double-A
After finding success in Lakeland this season Charlie Furbush (TigsTown's No. 29 prospect) earned the call-up to Erie, and why wouldn't he with the stats that he compiled. The left-hander was just 4-5, but it was his staggering strikeout total that gets your attention. In just 77 innings of work Furbush totaled 109 strikeouts and .229 batting average against.
In his first two starts with the SeaWolves Furbush put up respectable, but not exceptional numbers, he saved that for his start against Bowie on July 6.
Furbush established his dominance right from the start. He limited Bowie to just two hits through the first six innings. His first strikeout came in the second inning. At one point he ran together a stretch of six straight strikeouts.
"Charlie was good tonight," said Nevin. "He seemed to have everything working."
Furbush possesses a fastball that sits between 88-92 MPH, but it was his curveball and command that had Bowie hitters off-balance all night long.
"Obviously he's got an electric fastball, but having the secondary stuff is key to success at this level," Nevin said.
"I kept the ball down in the zone and was able to get outs," said Furbush.
Furbush moved to 1-0 for Erie with a 2.57 ERA in his three starts in Double-A.
Welcome back Cale and Audy
With the left side of the infield sitting on the disabled list the ‘Wolves couldn't wait for TigsTown's No. 11 prospect Cale Iorg and No. 16 prospect Audy Ciriaco to return to the line up.
Iorg was battling a tight hamstring that he sustained while playing the Baysox in Bowie. In the two games since his return Iorg is 5-for-10 with four runs scored.
Ciriaco was on the disabled list again with his nagging wrist injury. The injury has seemed to really hamper the third baseman's offensive production this year. You wouldn't know that after his performance in his return to the line up on July 8. He was 2-for-5 on the night and hit his eighth home run of the season.
"The wrist is feeling better," said Ciriaco. "I was able to swing with little pain tonight. I just need to keep doing my exercises."
- Outfielder Andy Dirks (TigsTown's No. 47 prospect) had reached base in eight straight plate appearances before grounding out in the bottom of the fifth inning of Erie's 9-1 win over Bowie on Thursday, July 8.
- TigsTown's No. 30 prospect Deik Scram may be showing signs of breaking out of his season long funk. He has hit in five straight games, and was 4-for-4 against Bowie on July 8. The outfielder has raised his average above the Mendoza line to .207.
- The Akron Aeros (43-43) come to Erie for a four game series before the Eastern League All-Star break.