Results tagged ‘ Charleston RiverDogs ’
In anticipation of an oncoming storm, neither the Hickory Crawdads and nor the Charleston (S.C.) RiverDogs expected to see a full nine innings Friday night. Played in a cool mist from the start, the game made it to the sixth inning before rain claimed the remaining innings and the Crawdads would up with a 2-1 win.
With the win, the Crawdads (13-21) salvaged the final game of the three-game series with Charleston (17-18), a series in which the RiverDogs took the first two by a combined 25-6 margin.
Fully aware of the rain to come, the game kept a brisk pace and that seemed to help both starting pitchers attack hitters effectively.
Hickory’s Edgar Arredondo had his best outing of the season as he allowed a run on five hits over five innings and struck out three. The five innings tied his longest outing of the season and he picked up his first win (1-2) of the season.
Coming off a rough week in which most of the Crawdads starters struggled, Arredondo’s outing was a welcomed sight for manager Spike Owen.
“It was really, really good to see,” said Crawdads manager Spike Owen. “He attacked the hitters tonight and really went after them. He had a really good changeup tonight and kept a good hitting team in check.”
A key moment, as it turned out, came in the fourth inning. Blake Rutherford doubled and when Donny Sands singled to left, manager Patrick Osborn gambled and sent Rutherford to the plate. Strong throws by LF Miguel Aparicio and 3B Yanio Perez got the ball to C Alex Kowalczyk in time, but the throw handcuffed the catcher and forced the backstop to drop the ball.
Sands went to second and advanced to third on a back.
Arredondo got two of his three Ks back-to-back to end the innings as both Brandon Wagner and Isiah Gilliam whiffed to strand Sands at third.
“Leaving the guy stranded at third base was big,” said Owen. “(Arredondo) showed good mound presence and composure. He attacked the hitters, which is what you have to do. His fastball and changeup were very effective.”
Former Texas Rangers farmhand Nick Green was nearly as sharp early, but then ran into trouble in the fourth. He walked Perez to start the inning then surrendered a double to right-center by Kowalczyk. A balk scored Perez and moved Kowalczyk. Ti’Quan Forbes served a soft fly to shallow CF. Rutherford lost the ball off the bat and his late charge for the catch went unrewarded with Kowalczyk scoring on the bloop single.
Green allowed just the two runs on five hits. He also walked three and struck out four.
That was all the rain allowed as the game was called after a 40-minute delay in the sixth.
The Charleston RiverDogs entered Thursday night’s game with a South Atlantic League high .319 batting avg. in May. The Hickory Crawdads have the league’s worst pitching statistically. That’s proved to be a bad combination over the last two nights and on Thursday, the result was a 14-4 thrashing by Charleston in front of 2,525 fans at L.P. Frans Stadium.
For the second straight night, Charleston (17-17) scored the first nine runs of the game and cruised to victory. The Crawdads (12-21) have been outscored 25-6 over the first two games of the three-game series.
Charleston put the first five runners aboard and eventually sent ten to the plate in the first inning to open a 6-0 lead. Poor defense and poor pitch execution by starter Michael Matuella went hand-in-hand. (More on the defense later.)
Matuella had little command of the fastball in his lone inning, which started with a four-pitch walk to Estevan Florial. After a dubious bloop single to center by Isaiah Gilliam, Hoy Jun Park tripled in both runners. Blake Rutherford singled in Park. Oswaldo Cabrera’s sac fly got a run and Diego Castillo’s two-run single capped the scoring and ended Matuella’s night.
The RiverDogs treated lefty Sal Mendez no better in the second as they sent eight more to the plate and scored three. Gilliam reached on an error and after Park replaced him on a fielder’s choice, Donny Sands singled him in. Cabrera added two more with a single.
Brian Keller kept the Crawdads without a baserunner until the fourth before Miguel Aparicio’s grounder went through the infield. Hickory finally got on the board one inning later as Isaiah Quiroz singled in two.
Alex Kowalczyk (2-for-4) hit a two-run homer in the sixth to cut the Crawdads deficit to 9-4.
However, RiverDogs tacked on three in the eighth and two in the ninth, all against Jake Lemoine, to account for the final margin.
“They have a good hitting ballclub, no doubt,” said Crawdads manager Spike Owen. “We just have to find a way pitching wise to limit the damage and make better pitches. That’s the bottom line. We’re not doing it. We’re not getting it done. The last two nights, we’ve not given our offense a chance to do anything.”
Crawdads pitching beginning to look historic… and not in a good way.
As a team, the Crawdads 5.72 ERA and 1.59 WHIP are the worst in the Sally League. They also have allowed the most hits, runs, and earned runs. With the quarter of the season two games away, one begins to look at how they stack up to Crawdads club records. They’re chasing a few.
Hickory has had just two seasons with an ERA over five, which came in back-to-back seasons in 2007 (5.13) and 2008 (5.02). The club record for the worst WHIP in a season is 1.54 in 2007. The Crawdads are also on pace to set club records for the most hits, runs and earned runs allowed.
Defense was offensive:
While Matuella didn’t have his best stuff, some of the first inning struggles could be laid at the feet of the defense.
After Florial walked, Gilliam hit a short fly to center that appeared to be an easy can of corn for Leody Taveras. Meanwhile, shortstop Anderson Tejeda and second baseman Yeyson Yrizarri were pulling a double-play decoy on Florial running hard to second. The decoy worked beautifully except… Taveras couldn’t pick up the ball and with no fielders pointing out the ball, eventually it fell harmless to the turf. So what could’ve been a double play with Florial totally fooled at second turned into a 1st & 2nd situation with no outs.
Later in the inning, a routine double play turned into one out when Tejeda’s throw to first went wide of Yanio Perez’s stretch at first.
And still later in the inning, 3B Ti’Quan Forbes took his time on a grounder by Ben Ruta. Forbes circled around to make the play, but as he appeared in no particular hurry to complete the play, Forbes throw to first was beaten by the hustling Ruta.
A frustrated Owen spread the blame around equally between hurlers and defenders.
“It accumulates and everything when you don’t make plays,” said Owen. “But, we talk to (the pitchers) all the time that sometimes you’re going to have to get four outs and sometimes five outs in an inning. You’re even going to do that in the big leagues. Obviously, not nearly as much, because they are big league infielders, but they have to overcome those things. They sooner they learn that and figure it out rather than say, ‘I should’ve been out of the inning’ or whatever. It is what it is out there….”
Owen later added, “We’ve got to clean it up all the way around, especially the pitching and defense. We’ve been working really hard during the last four defensively and cutting b.p. time saying ‘Let’s have a clean game.’ We haven’t been able to do that.”
Better Call Sal:
Once Mendez got settled, he went on to retire the last 14 batters he faced and fanned 6 over 5.1 innings. His work allowed the Crawdads offense to chip away at the lead and take some momentum into the late innings.
The two parts of his outing show just how careful he has to be with his stuff. His changeup is a formidable pitch, at least at this level, and had 7 or 8 missed bats. That with his fastball at 90-91, if he keeps his pitches down, he’s tough.
“I thought Mendez did a really nice job,” Owen said. “His first inning of work he left some balls up and he paid for it. Then he comes out and puts up zeroes from that point on. That’s a good adjustment by him.”
The way that Charleston starter Brian Keller mowed through the first three innings, it looked like history was in the making. He fanned six of the first ten hitters, which included a 10-pitch, three-strikeout third inning. The second time through the order, Keller started missing his location and the Crawdads hitters adjusted to the breaking ball.
Owen: “The guy that started was impressive and did exactly what you’d want to see with a guy that’s got a nine-run lead in popping and pounding the zone. We made some adjustments. It’s good to see that you’re down nine runs and still have competitive at bats from our side.”
Smoral on the Fire:
Lefty Matt Smoral made his Crawdads and Rangers affiliate debut on Thursday. A tall presence at 6-8, a SLOW delivery seemed to make his fastball even faster as it whipped from his left hand to the plate. However, the delivery never seemed in control as he flailed about the mound. There’s a lot of moving parts to the motion.
Smoral walked two and threw quite the wild pitch to the back stop. Control has been the issue for the former Toronto Blue Jays first-round pick as he has walked or hit 122 batters in 107.2 innings as a pro
Who was that Lemoine’s jersey?
There seemed to be a body language on the mound that said, “here ya go, hit it if you can.” And Charleston did: Five runs on six hits – all hit hard – over two innings of relief. Fastball straight as an arrow and it went to the wall harder. Throw in a walk and two wild pitches and you have a RiverDogs lineup fattening their stats.
Meanwhile, It’s the second poor outing in a row for the right-hander, who allowed two in a walkoff loss at Hagerstown (Md.) last Saturday.
Charleston RiverDogs (New York Yankees) (15-17, 5th SAL Southern Division) at Hickory Crawdads (Texas Rangers) (12-19, 7th SAL Northern)
The Hickory Crawdads continue a weeklong home stand with a four-game series against the Columbia Fireflies at L.P. Frans Stadium in South Atlantic League action.
If you plan to go:
GAME TIMES: Wednesday at 6:00 p.m., Thursday-Friday at 7:00 p.m.
Wednesday – Kids Win Wednesday: All kids 12 and under admitted free, also get vouchers for free meal, bounce house, speed pitch and carousel; Wine & Design with the Crawdads.
Thursday – “Thirsty Thursday”; Salute to Scrubs.
Friday – Post-game fireworks; Hispanic Heritage Night.
TICKETS: $9 dollars for regular seats, $14 for VIP section.
WHERE IS IT?: Clement Blvd., 1 mile west of U.S. Hwy 321, near entrance to Hickory Airport.
PARKING: All parking is $3.
CONCESSIONS: L.P. Frans Stadium has two main concession areas plus the Crawdads Café. The concession stands have your basic ballpark food: Hot dogs, burgers, chicken sandwich, BBQ, etc. The Crawdad Café has a menu that features more diverse items, including the Mac & Cheese Crawdog, Banana Foster Bites, Fried Pickles, Sloppy Burger, and more. Click here for the menu http://www.milb.com/documents/3/3/4/185907334/cafe_menu_6eeko6n2.pdf
Probables (Charleston / Hickory):
Wednesday: RHP Jio Orozco vs. RHP Kyle Cody
Thursday: RHP Nick Nelson vs. RHP Michael Matuella
Friday: RHP Nick Green vs. RHP Edgar Arredondo
Recent Series History:
The Crawdads held a 4-3 edge in the 2016 season series, but lost two of three at home to the R-Dogs in late August. The two teams have been nearly even since the 2005 season, with Hickory scraping a 59-58 edge, which includes a 29-28 mark at L.P. Frans and 30-30 at Charleston. Since the Rangers-Crawdads affiliation began in 2009, the Crawdads are 49-40 overall, 26-19 at home.
About the Crawdads:
After the bullpen blew their second 8-1 lead of the season during game two of the four-game series at Hagerstown (Md.), the Crawdads won the final two games to earn a split against the Northern Division’s current pacesetter… After a sputtered start at the plate, Hickory’s lineup has been at full throttle lately. The Crawdads have scored six or more runs during eight of the last 11 games with 8+ in six of those. Their .311 batting avg. in May (they hit .235 in April) is second in the SAL behind Charleston’s .318. Hickory scored 34 runs during the four games at Hagerstown… Despite the Crawdads strong performance at the plate, the pitching has had much to do with just a 6-5 mark over the last 11 games. Hickory remains last in the SAL in ERA (5.32), hits allowed and WHIP (1.55)… The Crawdads have had to play catch-up much of the season, scoring first in just 11 of 31 games. Even more troubling has been the ability to hold early leads as the Crawdads are 4-7 when scoring first… The series will feature two of the worst teams from the SAL in terms of fielding. The Crawdads have committed 41 errors with Charleston holding up the bottom with 46. Hickory’s errors have led to 29 unearned runs, trailing just Augusta (Ga.) in that category.
Prospects to watch- Hickory:
CF Leody Taveras (No. 1 MLB.com and Baseball America, No. 51 MLB.com top-100 prospects): Signed as international free agent 2015 out of Tenares, Dominican Republic. The 18-year-old has seen the ball incredible well over the past two weeks. Over his last 14 games, Taveras has 238 pitches and he has more hits (19) than swinging strikes (15). In his last 18 games, he is 25-for-69 (.362) with three doubles, a triple, a homer, 12 runs scored, 15 RBI, 6 walks, and 12 Ks.
SS Anderson Tejeda (No. 7 MLB.com, No. 16 Baseball America). Signed as an international free agent in 2015 out of Bani, D.R. Has been error prone lately with five miscues over his last six games and 6 in his last 9. Has begun to percolate at the plate, however. Tejeda went 4-for-11 in the last 3 games with five runs scored and a three-run homer. Shows some struggles not uncommon for an 18-year-old in a full-season league – 36 Ks in 108 PAs (36%) – but his 15 walks (14%) is quite uncommon for this level.
OF Yanio Perez (No. 15 MLB.com, 27 Baseball America): Signed as an international free agent out of Havana, Cuba. Has asserted himself as THE big bat in the lineup over the last couple of weeks. Has at least one hit in 13 of the last 14 games (24-for-53) with a slash line of .453/.492/.830. Has just 10 Ks during this stretch.
2B Yeyson Yrizarri (No. 17 MLB.com): Signed as an international free agent in 2013 out of the D.R. After a 1-for-39 funk (.065) to start the season, Yrizarri is nearly back to the .200 mark (.196/.222/.304). Had a four-hit game during a 7-inning contest on Sunday and went 7-for-15 at Hagerstown.
RHP Michael Matuella (No. 19 Baseball America, No. 20 MLB.com). Third-round pick in 2015 out of Duke Univ. Was on the path of becoming a first-overall pick in 2015 before back troubles and then Tommy John surgery derailed that promise. He pitched in only three innings last summer at short-season Spokane before further elbow tenderness caused the Rangers to shut him down. Threw 46 pitches in his first start vs. Columbia, then pushed up to 56 last week at West Virginia. Had 5 Ks vs. Columbia, none vs. the Power.
RF Jose Almonte (No. 28 MLB.com): Signed as an international free agent in 2013 out of Santo Domingo, D.R. Missed a week with a leg injury and then returned during the road trip and went 5-for-23 with two walks. Has seven free passes in 23 games after just 9 all last year.
RHP Tyler Ferguson (No. 30 Baseball America, No. 30 MLB.com): Sixth-round pick in 2015 out of Vanderbilt. Working on a string of five straight scoreless outings covering 7.1 innings with 14 Ks. Went 5-for-12 in the series at Hagerstown with a homer and 7 RBI.
Others to watch – Hickory:
C Alex Kowalczyk: 12th-round pick in 2016 out of Pittsburgh. Getting the bulk of playing time at catcher due to an injury to starter Ricky Valencia.
OF Franklin Rollin: 2013 international free agent out of La Romana, D.R. Continues to press for playing time with strong performances at the plate. Had a four-hit game Saturday at Hagerstown and has hits in 6-of-7.
RHP Kyle Cody: 6th-round pick in 2016 out of Kentucky. Along with Jonathan Hernandez, Cody has held steady in the rotation. Has lost three straight starts, but has allowed just four earned runs (three homers) and fanned 11 over 15.2 innings in that stretch.
About the RiverDogs:
Managed by Pat Osborn in his first season at Charleston. Obsorn managed high-A Tampa to the Florida State League finals in 2016… The R-Dogs lead the SAL with a .318 average in May, but are 2-5 so far, all during a just-concluded homestand. Four of the losses were by one run, which bumped the R-Dogs to 4-8 in such games this season… Playing at a home ballpark that is not conducive to power, as a team, the R-Dogs single opponents to death. Charleston is second in the SAL in hits, but in the middle of the league in homers and dead last with just ten homers. The R-Dogs are third in the league at .266 and they put the ball in play. Charleston has the second fewest K… On the mound, the staff has fanned the most in the SAL, something that bears watching in facing a team with the second most Ks at the plate.
Prospects to watch –Charleston:
CF Blake Rutherford: (No. 3 MLB.com, No. 3 Baseball America) First-round pick in 2016 out of Chaminade Prep (Canoga Park, CA). Played for 18-and-under USA National Team. After a satisfactory first month (.277/.388/.361) of the season, the 20-year-old is perhaps feeling the grind as the calendar turned to May (.182/.240/.318). Will work a walk (17 in 123 PAs), but is learning to watch breaking balls as is 29 Ks might indicate. Despite hitting left-handed, he has handled left-handed pitching quite well (.326 to .210 vs. righties). Currently fourth in the SAL with 10 doubles and sixth in walks. Has fanned 7 times over his last five games. Signed a Yankees-record $3.2 million contact, the most for a hitter draftee.
CF Estavan Florial: (No. 14 Baseball America, No. 16 MLB.com) International free agent in 2015 from Port au Prince, Haiti. Saw a 10-game hitting streak end in the finale of the R-Dogs homestand. Is fourth in the SAL in runs scored. Has 35 Ks in 125 PAs, 7th in the league.
C Donny Sands (No. 26 MLB.com) 8th-round pick in 2015 out of Salpointe Catholic (Tucson, AZ). Is 10-for-40 over his last ten games. A project at the plate, the former 3B is currently at the bottom of the SAL in catching base stealers, nabbing just 9 of 46 trying to steal.
Others to watch –Charleston:
SS Hoy Jun Park: International free agent in 2014 out of Seoul, South Korea. Leads SAL with a .362 average and is 9th in slugging (.532). Went 9-for-16 over the last four games. Currently in his second season at Charleston.
RHP Nick Green: Acquired by the Yankees in a trade with the Rangers last summer. Went to the Yanks along with former Crawdads Dillon Tate and Erik Swanson. Threw a one-hitter over eight innings and fanned nine in his last start on Saturday. Has allowed just four hits over his last 14.2 innings (two starts) with 16 Ks. Relies on a sinker to get grounders, has a 2.60 GO/AO and has yet to allowed a run in four road starts.
Note: The Crawdads sent OF Eric Jenkins and Argenis Rodriguez to the Rangers extended spring and received OF Miguel Aparicio and RHP Matt Smoral.
Jose Trevino cracked a two-run homer in the bottom of the eighth and then Jairo Beras threw out the game-tying run at the plate to end the game as the Hickory Crawdads held on to defeat the Charleston RiverDogs 5-4 in front of 3,423 fans at L.P. Frans Stadium
Charleston got off to a quick start against Crawdads starter Brett Martin when Devyn Bolasky started the game with a single and Angel Aguilar homered (3) to left to give the RiverDogs a 2-0 lead.
Hickory took the lead after scoring three in the second against RiverDogs hurler David Palladino. Beras started it with his ninth home run of the season. After the Crawdads loaded the bases, Michael De Leon’s single scored Juremi Profar and Eduard Pinto.
An error helped the RiverDogs get even in the fifth. Ryan Lindemuth doubled, stole third and scored when catcher Jose Trevino’s throw went into left. Martin left the game in the inning with a hip injury and his replacement Shane McCain retired nine of the first ten hitters he faced going into the eighth.
But in the eighth, the RiverDogs pieced together three hits after two outs with Isisas Tejeda’s run-scoring single bringing in Austin Aune to put Charleston ahead 4-3.
Hickory retook the lead when Edwin Garcia lined a single to right and Trevino delivered a towering homer (14) to left on a fastball by Brady Koerner.
Facing closer Scott Williams, the RiverDogs threatened to retake the lead in the ninth. Collin Slaybaugh singled and went to second on a passed ball. Ryan Lindemuth walked and Bolasky’s sacrifice moved the runners to second and third before Aguilar was walked to intentionally walked to load the bases. Billy Fleming hit a fly ball to Jairo Beras in medium-shallow right. Beras backed up and made the catch before firing a strike to Trevino at the plate to nail Slaybaugh and end the game.
Jurickson Profar had a single in four trips to the plate with the lone single coming on a change up and away in the first. He was hit by a pitch in the second, bounced to second in the fifth and struck out in the eighth.
Jairo Beras jumped a first-pitch, 95-mph fastball by Palladino and lasered a rope off the batter’s eye. The only question was would the liner be high enough to clear the fence. In looking to make the play, centerfielder Bolasky jogged three steps back before the ball found its target. His throw to end the game was directly on target to Trevino, who had plenty of time to tag Slaybaugh.
Shane McCain used a low-70s change, curveball and an upper 80s fastball to keep the RiverDogs off-balance, as he struck out four of the first six batters he faced. He found a little bad luck with two outs in the eighth when Austin Aune’s soft liner found open grass in center. McCain got away with a fastball up to Vicente Conde that was singled in front of Pinto in left. Tejeda’s seeing-eye single past McCain and second baseman Arroyo scored Aune for the brief lead.
Michael De Leon started a brilliant double play in the third that allowed Martin to complete a shutdown inning and hold the lead for the moment. With runners on the corners and one out, Joey Falcone hit a sharp grounder to De Leon’s right. De Leon made the backhanded grab, quickly fed the ball to Carlos Arroyo at second, who then made the fast turn and throw to nab the speedy Falcone. (Falcone left the game following the game with an undisclosed injury.)
Juremi Profar had a couple of singles and scored a run in the second. However, a key defensive play in the eighth kept the RiverDogs from extending their lead. After Tejada’s single scored the go-ahead run, Profar cut off the throw from Jose Cardona in center and caught Conde in a rundown trying to go to third.
Brett Martin gave up seven hits in 4.2 innings, but many of those were of the bad-luck variety. Bolasky’s leadoff hit in the first was a high chopper to third. The homer by Aguilar and his double in the third appeared to be pitches down and away that Aguilar went after and golfed to left. Tejeda added a broken-bat bloop single in the fourth. Martin retired seven in a row at one point (four grounders and a K) and finished with 63 pitches (45 strikes).
Jose Trevino had a rough night behind the plate committing two throwing errors on steal attempts and a passed ball. Both off-target throws appeared rushed in order to catch runners that took big jump against Martin. His passed ball in the ninth may have been on a pitch from Williams in which he was crossed up, as the two had a meeting following the play.
Carlos Arroyo stuck out three times on Friday after a two-K game on Thursday. He appears to be expanding the strike zone and unable to catch up to fastballs in the zone.
Scott Williams gave up a ground single to Slaybaugh on a fastball down and in. However, he compounded the inning with a four-pitch walk to number-nine hitter Lindemuth. His slider didn’t have the usual bite and was ignored by hitters.
Angel Aguilar, as stated earlier, went down to get a couple of pitches and hit both hard for extra bases. He had four straight hits over a two-game span and his hot streak clearly played into Charleston’s decision in the ninth to have Bolansky sacrifice with no outs after a four-pitch walk and Hickory’s decision to intentionally walk Aguilar.
David Palladino struck out three and gave up eight hits (four in the eighth), but showed good stuff throughout. His fastball hovered around 94-95 much of the game, but it was a tight slider that missed bats and often kept the Crawdads off stride with walk contact.
Philip Walby had the best stuff of any pitcher on both sides when he threw a 1-2-3 seventh. His fastball stayed 98-99 with a high 80s, biting slider. As dominant as he threw (10 pitches, 8 strikes, 4 missed bats), I was surprised that he didn’t come back out for the eighth.
Brody Koerner, the native of nearby Concord, changed speeds well with a leadoff strikeout of Jurickson Profar in the eighth. However, two straight fastballs up to Edward Garcia (single) and Trevino (homer) turned out to be the decisive point of the game.
Not known for their power the Charleston (S.C.) RiverDogs hit homers in back-to-back innings Thursday and sank the Hickory Crawdads 4-3 in South Atlantic League play Thursday night at L.P. Frans Stadium.
Despite the loss, Hickory (38-21) caught a break in its first-half Northern Division title chase when second place West Virginia blew a two-run lead in the ninth and fell to Savannah 4-3. The Crawdads lead the second place Power by 4 ½ games with ten to go. The magic number to clinch the first-half title is six.
For its part, Charleston (29-31) stayed in the race in the Southern Division. The win moved the RiverDogs into third place and put them four games behind both Savannah and Greenville.
The RiverDogs literally came out of the gate fast as speedy shortstop lined the second pitch of the game to right center for a triple. Dustin Fowler singled him in for the first run. One out later, Juan Graterol lined a double to the wall in left center to make it 2-0.
The Crawdads struck back in the first with a run. Josh Morgan walked, moved to second on a fielder’s choice and scored on Jose Trevino’s double to the left field corner.
Hickory took the lead in the second against R-Dogs starter Rony Bautista. Rock Shoulders walked and moved to second on a wild pitch. Carlos Arroyo singled him to third and also moved to second on a wild pitch. Jose Cardona then followed with a sharp single off the glove of the diving third baseman Ryan Lindemuth to give Hickory a 3-2 lead.
Collin Wiles then gave up his first home run of the season in the fourth when Austin Aune took him deep to right – his third of the season.
The home run surrendered by Wiles was the first given up by a starting pitcher since May 11, a span of 28 games covering 147.2 innings.
As rain began in the fifth, Fowler golfed a curveball out of the park in right for his third of the season to put the R-Dogs in front 4-3.
Entering the game 13th out of 14 teams in the SAL in home runs, Charleston has hit five of its 19 homers against Hickory pitching. The two homers allowed by Wiles was only the third time in 2015 that a starter has given up two in a game.
After a 29-minute rain delay, the RiverDogs replaced Bautista with reliever Matt Marsh. He shut down the Crawdads on two hits over the last five innings to pick up the win (1-0). The lone threat against Marsh came when Hickory put two runners on with two outs in the seventh, but was unable to score.
Austin Pettibone threw three perfect innings of relief for Hickory, striking out two. Scott Williams worked around a walk and a hit batter in the ninth to keep the Crawdads within a run. But Marsh struck out two in the bottom of the ninth, the last against Isiah Kiner-Falefa, to end the game.
**Jose Trevino had a complete game at the plate and behind it. He turned a 94 mph heater into the leftfield corner and stole a base to set the Crawdads up for a potential second run in the first. He reached six times in 12 plate appearances in the series and has a five-game hitting streak.
But it was his efforts as a catcher that was impressive. With a runner on first in the second, Trevino snagged a low glove-side curveball and made a strong throw to second to cut down Aune trying to steal. In the ninth, Williams struck out Aune with a slider that trickled behind Trevino. He found the ball quickly and put a throw on the money to Kiner-Falefa at third to cut down the slow-footed Juan Graterol at third.
He also had a hand in keeping the demeanor of a couple of pitchers in check. When Wiles had walked the first batter in the second and started the next hitter with a fastball off the plate, Trevino trotted out to the mound, said a couple of words, and then issued a backside slap before returning to the plate. Wiles then ended the inning with two pop ups before Trevino rang up the caught stealing. In the ninth, when Williams got into trouble due to control issues, again it was Trevino to the mound to go face-to-face with the hurler. A few words said, a two-handed love tap to the shoulders, then back to the plate. A 2-0 count to Aune turned into an infield fly before the strike-‘em-out-throw-‘em out.
**Eduard Pinto had walked six times total in his first 39 games entering the series. He walked twice on Thursday and finished with six walks the past three games. He also singled in the third and reached base 7 of 12 times in the series
**Isaiah Kiner-Falefa with a couple of nice play at third. In the second, he made a quick run to the fence past the dugout, then made a leaning catch for the out. In the eighth, Kiner-Falefa showed quick hands to snatch a sharp grounder from Fowler. The force of the hit spun Kiner-Falefa briefly before he recovered to make the throw to third.
**Jairo Beras appears to be on track to make a run at the plate. He took a fastball up and out to right for a lined single. In the sixth, he rapped the first pitch he saw from Marsh into the gap in left center for a giraffe-like gaited, legged-out double. In the eighth, Beras ripped a hanging curve that went straight to Aune in right.
** Austin Pettibone showed a good biting slider that played a big part in his perfect three innings. He missed four bats with the pitch and used it to set up a called-strike three on a fastball to Devyn Bolasky.
**Collin Wiles did not have his usual control much of the night. Fastballs and changes both stayed up and were spanked often. His breaking stuff didn’t have its usual bite. Wiles left an 0-2 change up that Fowler used for his RBI single in the first. He ahead of Graterol 0-2 in the first, but missed the plate with a fastball and slider before leaving a fastball over the plate for the RBI double. He did miss bats with his slider in the fifth and made a good pitch to Fowler – a curveball that Fowler went down to get and golfed out to right.
**Luke Tendler was eaten up with breaking stuff much of the night. After K-ing twice vs. Bautista – both on sliders down and in, the curveball of Marsh got him in the sixth. Of the ten breaking pitches he saw, Tendler whiffed on seven of them. The one fastball he struck, was late and turned into a routine 6-3.
**Matt Marsh held the Crawdads pretty well in check and had several hitters flailing at his curve (6 missed bats and a called 3rd strike). He did leave some pitches up that Hickory hitters were unable to get to fall. In the eighth, an 0-2 hanger to Beras was lined to RF for an out. The next batter Rock Shoulders saw a fat 0-2 fastball that was lined near the track in center.
**Fowler finished the series 7-for-12 with 3 RBI and 3 runs.
**Aune had a big hand in the outcome in right. He made a sliding catch of a slicing liner by Kiner-Falefa in the first, which minimized the damage for Charleston early. Two innings later, his strong throw to the plate was in time to catch Trevino trying to score from second on a single by Beras.
The Hickory Crawdads begin the final homestand of the first-half with a three-game series against the Charleston (S.C.) RiverDogs at L.P. Frans Stadium.
Tuesday: Luis Cedeno (RH, 3-5, 2.85 ERA) and Luis Ortiz (RH, 2-1, 2.00)
Wednesday: Matt Wotherspoon (RH, 0-0, 6.23) and Cody Buckel (RH, 0-1, 1.80)
Thursday: Matt Marsh (RH, 0-0, 4.50) and Collin Wiles (6-2, 1.92)
Recent Series History: The RiverDogs took three of four from the Crawdads in early May. Last year, Hickory edged Charleston 7-6 and was 5-2 at L.P. Frans. The Crawdads are 40-35 vs. the RiverDogs since the Rangers affiliation began in 2009.
Entering the Series:
Hickory (36-20) split a four-game series at Lakewood N.J. over the weekend before an off day on Monday. The Crawdads are 19-8 at home this seaon, but have won just one of the last three series played at L.P. Frans Stadium (6-4). Hickory leads second place West Virginia by 2 ½ games in the first-half Northern Division chase with 13 games left to play. The Power begin a three-game series at home against the Savannah (Ga.) Sand Gnats.
Charleston is just 5-5 in its last 10 games, but has picked up two games in that span and now trails first place Greenville by three games in the Southern Division chase. The top five teams in that division are separated by four games. The Sand Gnats are a game out, followed by Charleston, then Augusta at 3 ½ out and Rome four out in fifth place. Augusta travels to Greenville, while Rome is at Asheville.
Players to watch – Hickory:
IF Carlos Arroyo: With Travis Demeritte out due to a suspension and Michael De Leon nursing a quad strain, the 21-year-old native of Valencia, Venezuela was sent to Hickory from AAA Round Rock to fill the gap. He’s now played in ten games at three separate levels posting a .286/.333/.500 slash. He’ll be looked at to provide some speed as he has 11 triples and 25 steals in 131 pro games.
OF Jairo Beras: The Rangers had hoped that Beras would springboard off a strong finish to the 2014 season, but injuries (quad, back) and discipline issues (running out a pop up) have curtailed his season. He returned on Thursday at Lakewood and went 3-for-7 with a couple of walks, but went hitless in the final two games.
SP Luis Ortiz: He held the Hagerstown (Md.) Suns hitless until the fifth before they got to him with two walks, three hits and two runs that cost him the game in a 2-0 loss. After posting a 0.66 ERA in his first six starts, Ortiz has allowed seven earned runs in 13.2 innings with five walks.
SP Cody Buckel: Strong early on in his last start, Buckel walked five of the last 11 batters he faced. In what is expected to be the hottest day of the early summer, Buckel’s control issues could be key to not taxing the bullpen too early, and keeping the defense active in the hot sun.
RP John Fasola: Moreso for what could be his absence after throwing 3.1 innings to close out the Crawdads 5-3 win Sunday at Lakewood. The SAL all-star selection leads the league with 11 saves.
RP Yohander Mendez: Has yet to give up a run in nine relief outings (19.1 innings) with 14 baserunners allowed and 30 strikeouts.
Players to watch – Charleston:
SS Jorge Mateo: The solo top-30 Yankees prospect (no. 3 by Baseball America and mlb.com) on the roster. Has had marginal success getting on base (.268/.322/.371) but when he does, his speed is a factor. He leads the SAL with 38 steals and has scored a team-high 25 runs.
CF Dustin Fowler: Activated from the disabled list today, Fowler went 5-for-16 against Hickory last month with a homer and five RBI.
1B Connor Spencer: The Yankees 8th round pick out of UC Irvine is the RiverDogs lone all-star selection. He leads Charleston with 23 RBI and a .394 OBP.
C Collin Slaybaugh: Just called up from extended spring, the 26th round pick in 2014 out of Washington State went 8-for-8 in his first two games (June 3-4) against Augusta. He is 10-for-15 with three RBI, a walk and two steals.
SP Luis Cedeno: Has lost his last five starts. Facing lineups the second time through the order has been his downfall. Opponents are hitting .115 in the first inning and .200 in the second, but it just to .345 in the third and .400 in the fifth. He has given up eight runs and walked eight in his last 16.1 innings.
SP Matt Wotherspoon: The Pittsburgh (34th round 2014) product is in his second start with Charleston after pitching for AA Trenton and High-A Tampa. He allowed three runs on five hits in 4.1 in his first start against Augusta.
SP Matt Marsh: Demoted from Tampa, Marsh – teammates with Crawdads pitcher Adam Parks at Liberty Univ. – game up two earned runs on five hits in four innings last week against Asheville.