A Week In Review (May 11-17): Birmingham Barons

The Barons seemed to have awoken, compiling a very solid 4-2 mark last week led by former reliever, now starter, Tetsu Yofu, and surprise starter Neal Cotts.

The Barons could not get the week going on Sunday, as their game against West Tennessee was postponed due to rain. The postponed game was to be made up on Monday as a part of a doubleheader.

The Barons played Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde on Monday, playing one game superbly, and the other pitifully. In the first game, Tetsu Yofu made the spot start, and he pitched brilliantly, winning the game 4-2. The 29-year-old only gave up three hits in five innings, one of which was a two-run homerun. Other than mishap, Yofu was nearly flawless, striking out seven and not walking a single Diamond Jaxx batter. Closer Royce Ring struck out the side in the 7th for his eighth save of the year. Catcher Carlos Maldonado delivered the big blow for the Barons, slamming a two run double in the fifth. Before the double, Scott Bikowski drove in a run on his RBI single. Chad Durham went 2-4 in the game, but wasn't driven in.

In the second game, Barons starter Brian West was pounded four seven hits and three earned runs in only two innings of work, losing 7-1. Jim Bullard could not stop the bleeding after relieving Jeff Bajenaru, giving up four earned runs and a homer in his three innings of work. The offensive side of the ball fared no better, scattering a minuscule six hits, scoring only one run. Gabe Alvarez scored the only Barons run, driving in Scott Bikowski, who went 2-3.

On Tuesday, it was the battle of the Chicago prospects as Neal Cotts opposed Angel Guzman on the mound. Both pitchers received no decisions, and pitched below average as the Barons won 7-6. Cotts was pulled after only three innings, giving up three earned runs on three hits and four walks. Reliever Clay Eason didn't fare any better, giving up two earned runs in his three innings pitched. After Eason left, the Barons pen did a 180, throwing shutout ball for six innings. Jeff Bajenaru picked up the win after working the 12th. The offense was alive and kicking Tuesday night, pummeling the Jaxx pitchers for a season high 23 hits. Chad Durham and Scott Bikowski led the way for the Barons getting four hits each. Josh Shaffer, Carlos Maldonado, and Gabe Alvarez had three hits a piece. Alvarez also drove in three runs on the game.

The Barons had a much needed day off on Wednesday, probably tired from rounding the bases on their 23 hits the night before.

The Barons carried their momentum from Tuesday into their game with Carolina on Thursday, winning 5-2 on a three run 8th inning. Starter Enemencio Pacheco was pulled in the 5th inning for unknown reasons. Pacheco only gave up one earned run in his four innings, walking three and striking out three. SoxNet favorite Jim Bullard picked up the win in relief, only pitching a third of an inning. The win was Bullard's first of the year for the Hogs. Jeff Bajenaru and Royce Ring pitched scoreless frames to ensure the Barons win. Outfielder Darron Ingram was the power source for the Barons, going 2-4 with a homer and three driven in. Chad Durham did well in the leadoff spot, going 2-4 with two RBIs.

Dennis Ulacia was pounded on Friday, giving five runs in an 8-2 Barons loss. Ulacia gave up six hits as well as four walks which led to his five earned runs. Jake Meyer and Clay Eason could not stop the Mudcats offensive barrage, giving up a combined three runs. The Barons offensive reverted back to their dormant state, managing to collect only four hits throughout the entire game. First baseman Ryan Hankins had two hits, the most of any Barons hitter.

The man who started off the week so well far the Barons, also closed it on a positive note. Starter Tetsu Yofu picked up his second win in a week, defeating the Carolina Mudcats 8-4. Yofu scattered seven hits in six innings, giving up two earned runs in the process. Jeff Bajenaru gave Wally Backman a scare in the 7th and 8th innings, giving up two earned runs. Luckily for Backman, Jake Meyer and Royce Ring slammed the door, preserving the win for the Barons. Chad Durham finished up his great week going 3-6 with four runs batted in. Utility man Danny Sandoval also had a great night, going 3-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored.

The Barons hope to duplicate last week's success this week against the following opponents:
Sunday – @Carolina
Monday – @Tennessee
Tuesday – @Tennessee
Wednesday – @Tennessee
Thursday – @Tennessee
Friday – @Mobile
Saturday – @Mobile

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