Results tagged ‘ Lakewood BlueClaws ’
Success for the Hickory Crawdads this season has usually been courtesy of the team’s big bats. It was true again Sunday afternoon as Hickory swatted four home runs in defeating the Lakewood (N.J.) BlueClaws 10-3 in front of 1,528 fans at L.P. Frans Stadium.
The win gave Hickory (16-7) a split in the four-game series, which helped it avoid their first losing series of the season, as well as back-to-back losses for the first time. It also gave the Crawdads a winning homestand at 4-3 this week. They will take off Monday before starting a seven-game road trip the next day at Greenville (S.C.).
Hickory also used the victory to pick up ground on first-place Delmarva (Md.) in the South Atlantic League’s Northern Division standings. The Shorebirds (17-4) dropped a 3-0 game to Augusta (Ga.) and have lost two straight, which has shrinked their lead over Hickory to two games.
Lakewood (8-16) wrapped up its road trip at 4-3 and now return home to face West Virginia on Tuesday.
The Crawdads pounded out 11 hits on Sunday with four of them leaving the park. Hickory now has double-digit hits in five games overall this season, two of those coming in the series and four of the five total against Lakewood pitching.
With the four home runs, Hickory now has 33 for the season, which is six more than Greensboro. The Crawdads also lead the SAL with a .429 slugging pct.
The barrage started in the first against Lakewood starter Francisco Morales (0-2). After the first two hitters fanned, Curtis Terry drilled a 96 miles-per-hour fastball to right for his sixth home run of the season. Three pitches later, Sam Huff walloped a 97 mph pitch well out to left for his 11th of the season. Huff is not tied with Round Rock’s Yordan Alvarez and Reno’s Kevin Cron for the minor league lead.
In the third, Matt Whatley added a two-run shot – his first of the season – to left.
An error on a force play opened the gate for Hickory to add two more in the fourth. The first run scored when Frainyer Chavez successfully laid down and beat out a squeeze bunt that scored Pedro Gonzalez from third. On the play, Miguel Aparcio advanced from first to third, which proved beneficial for the Crawdads after Chris Seise brought him in with a fly ball to center to make it 6-0.
Tim Brennan held Lakewood scoreless through four innings, but ran into trouble with two outs in the fifth. With Malvin Matos on first, Cole Stobbe joined him with a single. Jonathan Guzman singled in Matos before back-to-back misplays on the infield set up the second run. Ben Pelletier grounded to third but the throw went to second, where Guzman beat third baseman Sherten Apostel’s throw, to load the bases. Rafael Marchan hit a routine grounder to second, but the first baseman Terry slipped while covering the bases and that brought in two more runs.
Grant Anderson was brought in and he ended the rally by getting Abrahan Gutierrez to hit the first pitch and fly out to right.
Gonzalez got the two runs back with his seventh home run of the season, a two -run shot to left. The outfielder is now second in the SAL in homers.
The Crawdads rounded out the scoring in the sixth on Terry’s RBI double, and he later scored when first baseman Matt Kroon dropped a throw on the relay home following Gonzalez’s single.
Hickory’s bullpen allowed just three walks over 4.1 shutout innings. After getting the final out in the fifth, Anderson (3-1) worked around a walk in the sixth.
Hever Bueno pitched two scoreless innings with two walks allowed. Dylan Bice struck out two of the three in the ninth to close out the win.
Three Lakewood (N.J.) BlueClaws pitchers combined to hold the Hickory Crawdads to three hits in a 4-1 win Saturday afternoon in front of 3,529 at L.P. Frans Stadium.
Lakewood has won two out of three during the four-game series, which wraps up Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. Hickory (15-7) will try to avoid its first series loss of the season after winning the first six.
Lakewood (8-15) entered the series ranked near the bottom of the South Atlantic League in most pitching categories. However, for the second time in three games, the BlueClaws held the Crawdads to three hits in winning both of their games. For Hickory, it is the third time during the homestand and fourth out of seven it has had just three hits in a game.
As it turned out, the BlueClaws scored what it needed in the second against Crawdads starter John King (1-2). Carlos De La Cruz hit the first of his doubles in the game to start the inning. Two outs later, Jake Holmes fisted a roller down the line past first for a run-scoring triple. Ben Pelletier’s infield hit scored Holmes to make it 2-0.
Coming off 13 hits on Friday, the Crawdads picked up the attack again early. They put two on with two outs in the first but stranded both. Pedro Gonzalez swatted his sixth home run of the season in the second to cut Hickory’s deficit in half.
The Crawdads seemed poised to tie or take the lead in the third against Jhordany Mezquita. Coming off Friday’s four-hit game, Jonathan Ornelas chopped a single over the head of the first baseman Holmes. Ornelas stole second and after Matt Whatley walked, he stole third as well. Curtis Terry struck out, but Sam Huff built a 3-0 advantage. However, Mezquita was able to get Huff to foul out to Holmes and Sherten Apostel to fly out to left.
That turned out to be the last hurrah for the Crawdads in the game. Mezquita pitched the four innings and Robinson Martinez turned threw a scoreless fifth before turning the ball over to Dominic Pipkin. The right-hander allowed just one walk over the final four innings and struck out four to pick up the scorer’s decision win. Pipkin improved to 1-1 on the season.
King allowed just the two runs over seven innings, which is his pro career high, as well as the team high for the season. The lefty surrendered nine hits without a walk and struck out four.
Lakewood added its final two runs against reliever Scott Engler in the eighth on a home run by Alec Bohm, his third of the year.
Jonathan Ornelas had four hits and sparked an early rally to lead the Hickory Crawdads to a 6-2 win over the Lakewood (N.J.) BlueClaws Friday night at L.P. Frans Stadium.
The Crawdads and Blue Claws have now split the first two games of the four-game series, which will resume Saturday afternoon at 5 p.m.
Hickory (15-6) moved within 2.5 games of first-place Delmarva (Md.) in the South Atlantic League’s Northern Division after the Shorebirds (16-2) were rained out of their game against Augusta (Ga.) Friday night. Those two teams will play a doubleheader on Saturday. The win also allowed the Crawdads to avoid losing back-to-back games for the first time this season. Lakewood defeated Hickory 3-1 in game one of the series on Thursday.
After just 55 hits over the last 10 games, Hickory put together 13 on Friday with 11 coming in the first four innings, during which the Crawdads scored all their runs.
Ornelas’ four-hit night is a pro career high for the Texas Rangers’ third-round pick in 2018. The native of Glendale, Ariz. had three hits on four occasions last year with the AZL Rangers and once already this season on April 12 vs. Kannapolis.
With the Crawdads collectively struggling for offense, Ornelas was placed in the leadoff spot for the first time this year, and that immediately paid off. After a lackluster three-hit performance on Thursday, the Crawdads got a jolt of instant energy from Ornelas during his first trip to the plate.
Facing starter Tyler McKay (0-2), Ornelas sent a blooper down the line in shallow right. Sensing extra bases, Ornelas sprinted out of the box, steered wide in the turn around first and eventually slid into second just ahead of the throw for a double. One out later, Matt Whatley snapped an 0-for-21 slump with an RBI single over the drawn-in infield.
Sam Huff followed with a two-run homer to right to make it 3-0. The high-arching blast was Huff’s fourth-consecutive game with a home run, which was also his SAL-leading tenth of the season. It also increased the team total to a league high 27.
Lakewood (7-15) scored a run in the second, courtesy of an error. With runners at first and second and one out, a wild pitch advanced both 90 feet. An attempt by Matt Whatley to cut down Jonathan Guzman moving to second sailed into center and allowed Malvin Matos to score from third.
The Crawdads rebounded quickly in the third, when they put the first three aboard. Huff started the inning with a walk and moved to third when Sherten Apostel doubled off the base of the wall in left. Jose Almonte singled in Huff and Chad Smith’s grounder to first brought in Apostel. Gilmael Troya’s wild pitch scored Almonte to complete the inning and make it 6-1.
The game’s scoring finished in the fourth when Lakewood’s Cole Stobbe smashed his first homer of the season.
Ornelas added singles in the second, fourth and seventh innings to complete his four-hit night. Whatley and Apostel also had three hits each.
Lakewood put 11 baserunners aboard in seven innings but hit into three double plays and stranded six. One double play in the third likely saved a run and kept the BlueClaws at 3-1. With runners at first and second, Matos hit a ball to the left side of the bag at second. Seise moved to his right and in fielding the play, he reacted quickly to a bad hop by catching the ball with his head turned toward the outfield to start the 6-4-3 twin killing.
Jean Casanova pitched the first four innings for the Crawdads before Tai Tiedemann took over. Lakewood threatened to score against Tiedemann in the sixth, when Matos was hit by a pitch with one out. Guzman singled to put runners on the corners on the corners with two outs. However, Wes Robertson was brought in and struck out Stobbe to end the threat.
Trejo singled to start the seventh but was eliminated on a double play turned between first baseman Apostel and Seise. Robertson pitched to the minimum over his 3.1 innings of work and struck out three to earn the win (1-0).
Lakewood BlueClaws (Philadelphia Phillies) (6-14, seventh place, South Atlantic League Northern Division)
Hickory Crawdads (Texas Rangers) (14-5, second place, South Atlantic League Northern Division)
The Hickory Crawdads continue their weeklong homestand with a four-game series against the Lakewood BlueClaws from Thursday through Sunday.
IF YOU PLAN TO GO:
WHERE IS IT?: 2500 Clement Blvd., 1 mile west of U.S. Hwy 321, near entrance to Hickory Airport.
GAME TIMES/ PROMOTIONS:
Thursday: Lakewood at Hickory, 7:00 p.m. Thirsty Thursday, Salute to Scrubs Week (Healthcare professionals receive a free ticket with a current ID badge), NFL Draft Party
Friday: Lakewood at Hickory, 7:00 p.m. Salute to Scrubs Week (Healthcare professionals receive a free ticket with a current ID badge)
Saturday: Lakewood at Hickory, 5:00 p.m. Sanctus Real Post-Game Concert
Sunday: Church Bulletin Sunday (Bring a church bulletin to the ticket office and receive a $6 ticket with $4 from each ticket donated back to the respective church), Red Out Night (Wear red and receive a free ticket to the game), Bark at the Park.
TICKETS: $9 tickets in advance, $10 at the gate. Children (12 and under) and seniors $8, $15 for VIP section. NOTE: Tickets for Saturday’s game and concert are $16, $21 for VIP seating.
PARKING: All parking is $3.
RECENT SERIES HISTORY:
The Crawdads took three of four from Lakewood in New Jersey to open the 2019 season. The BlueClaws dominated the South Atlantic League a year ago and they did not spare Hickory from their wrath. Lakewood won 7 of 10, which included a 3-1 mark at LP Frans last August. Since 2009, when the Crawdads-Rangers affiliation began, Lakewood is 17-16 at Hickory, 55-50 overall.
PROBABLES (Lakewood/ Hickory)
Thursday: RHP Colton Eastman vs. RHP Ronny Henriquez
Friday: RHP Tyler McKay vs. RHP Jean Casanova
Saturday: LHP Jhordany Mezquita vs. LHP John King
Sunday: RHP Francisco Morales vs. RHP Tim Brennan
The Crawdads enter the series on the heels of two straight wins over Augusta (Ga.) to claim a 2-1 series win. Hickory is 6-3 at home this season.
Manager: Matt Hagen (2nd season)
Prospects – (team rankings are by MLB.com):
RHP Hans Crouse No.1 (No. 80 in top-100)
SS Chris Seise No. 12
IF Jonathan Ornelas No. 18
C Sam Huff No. 21
3B Sherten Apostel No. 22
RHP Ronny Henriquez No. 20
Possible lineups: C: Matt Whatley or Sam Huff; 1B Curtis Terry; 2B Frainyer Chavez or Jonathan Ornelas; 3B Sherten Apostel; SS Chris Seise; OF LF: Miguel Aparicio or Chad Smith; CF: Pedro Gonzalez; RF: Jose Almonte.
Jose Almonte – Tied for 9th doubles (6)
Pedro Gonzalez – Tied for 2nd homers (5)
Sam Huff – 1st home runs (8), 1st total bases, 1st slugging pct. (.750), 2nd OPS (1.063), tied for 9th runs, tied for 10th strikeouts
Chris Seise – 2nd caught stealing (4), tied for 10th stolen bases (5)
Curtis Terry – 1st RBI (21), tied for 2nd homers (5), 3rd total bases, tied for 3rd doubles (8), 5th slugging pct. (.600)
Matt Whatley – 5th walks
Tim Brennan – 8th WHIP (0.76)
Hans Crouse – 4th WHIP (0.69), tied for 4th hit batters (3), 10th ERA (1.33), 10th innings (20.1)
Scott Engler – Tied for 6th saves (2)
Abdiel Mendoza – Tied for 6th saves (2)
Slash line (BA. OBP/ SLG/ OPS):.227 (19th)/ .291 (11th)/ .424 (2nd)/ .715 (3rd).
Other key rankings: 1st home runs, 3rd total bases, 4th runs, 11th hits, next to last walks,
1st ERA (2.42), 1st WHIP (1.02), fewest runs allowed, fewest earned runs allowed, fewest walks allowed, fewest hit batters, 4th fewest hits allowed, 11th home runs allowed (8),
Though the lost the finale of a three-game series at Rome, Ga., the BlueClaws won two of three against the Braves coming off a 1-10 stretch. The two wins at Rome snapped an 0-8 start on the road.
Manager: Mike Micucci (1st season)
Prospects – Lakewood (rankings by MLB.com):
3B Alex Bohm No. 1 (No. 56 in top-100, No. 6 3B)
SS Luis Garcia No. 4
RHP Francisco Morales No. 8
C Rafael Marchan No. 14
RHP Dominic Pipkins No. 23
LHP Jhordany Mezquita No. 26
Possible Lineups: C: Rafael Marchan or Abraham Gutierrez; 1B: Matt Kroon; 2B: Luis Garcia or Jonathan Guzman; 3B: Alec Bohm; SS: Jonathan Guzman or Luis Garcia; LF: varied; CF: Yerwin Trejo or Malvin Matos; RF: Carlos De La Cruz or Malvin Matos.
Alex Bohm – Tied for 3rd hits, 6th batting avg. (.343), 6th on-base pct. (.425), tied for 8th walks, 9th OPS (.947), tied for 9th doubles (6), tied for 10th total bases
Carlos De La Cruz – Tied for 3rd caught stealing
Jonathan Guzman – Tied for 10th stolen bases (5)
Rafael Marchan – Tied for 9th doubles (6)
Colton Eastman – Tied for 6th earned runs allowed, tied for 8th runs allowed
Ethan Evanko – Tied for 9th appearances (7)
Kevin Gowdy – Tied for 2nd walks allowed
Robinson Martinez – Tied for 6th saves (2)
Tyler McKay – Tied for 10th earned runs allowed, tied for 10th runs allowed
Jhordany Mezquita – Tied for 6th earned runs allowed, tied for 10th runs allowed
Slash line (BA. OBP/ SLG/ OPS): .235 (6th)/.306 (7th)/ .313 (13th)/ .318 (12th)
Other key rankings: 1st caught stealing, 2nd steals, 3rd hits, 4th strikeouts, 11th total bases, 12th runs scored, 13th home runs (5)
Most hits allowed, most walks allowed, 2nd most runs allowed, 2nd most earned runs allowed, 13th ERA (4.84), 13th WHIP (1.49),
Hickory Crawdads (Texas Rangers) (70-68 in 2018) at Lakewood BlueClaws (Philadelphia Phillies) (87-51 in 2018)
The Hickory Crawdads open the 2019 at First Energy Park for a four-game series.
GAME TIMES: Thursday 6:35 p.m., Friday 7:05 p.m., Saturday 4:05 p.m., Sunday 1:05 p.m.
BROADCASTS: Games are streamed live at milb.tv and on the Lakewood BlueClaws website
PROBABLES (Hickory/ Lakewood)
Thursday: RHP Hans Crouse vs. RHP Colton Eastman
Friday: LHP Jake Latz vs. RHP Jack Perkins
Saturday: RHP Jean Casanova vs. LHP Jhordany Mezquita
Sunday: LHP John King vs. RHP Victor Santos
Recent Series History:
Lakewood won 7 of 10 from the Crawdads in 2018 with a 4-2 mark at First Energy Field. The South Atlantic League schedule tends to send Hickory to Lakewood rather than the reverse. Hickory will play 7 of 11 in New Jersey this season.
Since 2009, the teams have played 97 games. Sixty-eight of those have been played in Lakewood, where the BlueClaws are 37-31 against the Crawdads. Overall, the BlueClaws are 54-47 against Hickory since 2009, the start of the Rangers-Crawdads affiliation.
Prospects to watch- Hickory (rankings are by MLB.com):
RHP Hans Crouse No.1
OF JP Martinez No. 2
SS Chris Seise No. 12
IF Jonathan Ornelas No. 18
C Sam Huff No. 21
3B Sherten Apostel No. 22
Prospects to watch-Lakewood (rankings by MLB.com):
3B Alex Bohn No. 1
SS Luis Garcia No. 4
RHP Francisco Morales No. 8
C Rafael Marchan No. 14
RHP Dominic Pipkin No. 23
RHP Kevin Gowdy No. 24
LHP Jhordany Mezquita No. 26
NOTES; Hickory opens on the road for the fourth straight season. The last home opener was in 2015, a 5-2 win over Hagerstown (Md.) … The Crawdads opened the previous two seasons at Greensboro, losing 6-1 in 2018 and 14-4 in 2017. The Crawdads last opening day win was in 2016 when they beat Kannapolis 5-1… This is the first time since 2010 Hickory opened a season outside of the state of North Carolina. The Crawdads opened that year at Hagerstown and lost a 1-0 game to the Suns.
Lakewood BlueClaws (Philadelphia Phillies) (72-43 overall, 31-15 second half, 1st SAL North) at Hickory Crawdads (Texas Rangers) (59-56 overall, 29-18 second half, 2nd SAL North)
The Crawdads continue their homestand with a four-game series against the BlueClaws
IF YOU PLAN TO GO:
WHERE IS IT?: Clement Blvd., 1 mile west of U.S. Hwy 321, near entrance to Hickory Airport.
IF YOU PLAN TO GO:
GAME TIMES: Friday and Saturday, 7 p.m. Sunday 5 p.m. Monday noon.
Friday – Post-game Fireworks, Super Hero Night
Saturday – App State Hat Giveaway (1st 500 fans), 90s Night, Catawba Science Center Night
Sunday – Church Bulletin Sunday
TICKETS: $9 dollars for regular seats, $14 for VIP section.
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. Here is that menu http://www.milb.com/content/page.jsp?ymd=20130627&content_id=51970362&sid=t448&vkey=team4
The Crawdad Café has a menu that features more diverse items, including the Mac & 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 (Kannapolis/ Hickory)
Friday: RHP Gustavo Armas vs. RHP Tyree Thompson
Saturday: RHP Andrew Brown vs. RHP Hans Crouse
Sunday: RHP Julian Garcia vs. RHP Noah Bremer
Monday: RHP Spencer Howard vs. RHP Tyler Phillips
Recent Series History:
Lakewood holds a 4-2 series lead in 2018 with all the games played in New Jersey. The majority of the games between the two clubs over the past 10 seasons have been played at the BlueClaws ballpark. During the stretch dating back to 2009, which is the start of the Crawdads affiliation with the Rangers, Lakewood is 51-46 overall. However, just 29 of the 97 games have been played at Hickory, where the Crawdads hold a 15-14 edge. This is the first series played by the teams at LP Frans since 2016, when the BlueClaws took 2 of 3.
Prospects to watch- Hickory (rankings are by MLB.com):
RHP Hans Crouse (No. 5): 2018 stats at Spokane: 8 games (8 starts), 38 IP, 25 H, 11 R (10 ER), 2 HR, 11 BB, 47 K, 2.37 ERA, .179 OBA, 0.95 WHIP. Second round pick of the Rangers in 2017 out of Dana Hills HS, Dana Point, Calif. Named to Northwest League/ Pioneer League All-Star Game this week. Making his first start with Hickory.
OF Bubba Thompson (No. 10): 2018 stats: .281/.336/.427, 14 2B, 4 3B, 5 HR, 18 BB, 75 K, 24 SB, 5 CS. This season vs. Lakewood: 2-for-22, 2B, 4 BB, 13 K. Last series vs. Kannapolis: 2-for-11, 2 BB 5 K, SB, CS. First-round pick of the Rangers in 2018 out of McGill-Toolen High, Mobile, AL. SAL Top-10 Rankings: 4th stolen bases.
RHP Tyler Phillips (No. 14): 2018 stats: 19 games (19 starts) 111 IP, 106 H, 39 R (36 ER), 3 HR, 3 HB, 12 BB, 111 K, 2.92 ERA, .247 OBA, 1.06 WHIP. This season vs. Lakewood: 2 starts, 12 IP, 20 H, 8 R (8 ER), HR, BB, 6 K. Last start vs. Kannapolis 8/7: 7 IP, 6 H, 13 K. In his last 29 starts stretching to 6/23/17 at Spokane 174.2 IP, 19 BB, 183 K. Sixteenth-round pick of the Rangers in 2016 out of Bishop Eustace HS, Pennsauken, N.J. Native of Lumberton N.J. SAL Top-10 Rankings: 1st walks-per-9-inning ratio among starters (0.97), T-2nd wins (9), 6th ERA 6th WHIP, 9th innings, 9th strikeouts, 10th hits allowed. Named to the SAL All-Star Game.
OF Pedro Gonzalez (No. 18) 2018 stats: .239/.305/.436, 16 2B, 5 3B, 12 HR, 28 BB, 101 K, 9 SB, 3 CS. This season vs. Lakewood: 4-for-18, 2B, BB, 6 K. Last series vs. Kannapolis: 3-for-9, BB, K. Obtained by the Rangers in 2017 from the Colorado Rockies for Jonathan Lucroy. Native of Santo Domingo, D.R.
RHP AJ Alexy (No. 19): 2018 stats: 17 games (15 starts), 84.2 IP, 74 H, 45 R (39 ER), 4 HR, 8 HB, 44 BB, 101 K, 4.15 ERA, .239 OBA, 1.41 WHIP. Not expected to pitch in this series. Last start vs. Kannapolis 8/9: 5.2 IP, 4 H, 2 R (2 ER), HR, 2 BB, 9 K. Joined the Rangers after a trade that sent Yu Darvish to the Dodgers in 7/17. Originally 11th round pick of Dodgers out of Twin Valley HS, Elverson, Pa. SAL Top-10 Rankings: 4th walks, 10th strikeouts, T-10th losses (7).
C Sam Huff (No. 22): 2018 stats: .244/.299/.452, 20 2B, 3B, 16 HR, 19 BB, 111 K, 7 SB. This season vs. Lakewood: 2-for-17, 2 BB, 6 K. Last series vs. Kannapolis: 1-for-8, HR, 2 K. Seventh round pick of Rangers in 2016 out of Arcadia HS (Phoenix, Ariz.). Named to the SAL All-Star Game. SAL Top-10 Rankings: 5th HR/ AB Ratio 1/21, T-6th HR.
RF Miguel Aparicio (No. 27): 2018 stats at Hickory: .222/.275/.383, 8 2B, 5 3B, 7 HR, 14 BB, 48 K, 3 SB, 5 CS. Has not faced Lakewood this season. Last series vs. Kannapolis: 2-for-7, 2B, 3 K, SB, CS. Signed with the Rangers as an international free agent in 2015. Native of San Carlos, Venezuela.
Others to watch – Hickory:
RHP Tyree Thompson: 19 games (16 starts), 89.2 IP, 95 H, 59 R, 46 ER, 13 HR, 5 HB, 33 BB, 55 K, 4.62 ERA, .274 OBA, 1.43 WHIP. This season vs. Lakewood: 2 starts, 10 IP, 10 H, 3 R (3 ER), 1 HR, 3 BB, 10 K. Last start at Hagerstown 8/4: 6 IP, 5 H, 3 R (3 ER), HR, HB, 2 BB, 4 K. Twenty-sixth round pick of the Rangers in 2016 out of Edna Karr HS, New Orleans. SAL Top-10 Rankings: T-4th losses (8), T-6th home runs allowed.
RHP Noah Bremer: 2018 stats: 13 games (13 starts), 62 IP, 73 H, 32 R (28 ER), 6 HR, 19 BB, 55 K, 4.06 ERA, .300 OBA, 1.48 WHIP. Has not faced Lakewood this season. Last start vs. at Hagerstown 8/5: 5 IP, 6 H, 2 R (2 ER), HR, 5 K. Sixth-round pick of the Rangers in 2017 out of the Univ. of Washington. Attended Berkeley (Calif.) HS.
RHP DeMarcus Evans: 2018 stats: 29 games, 6 saves, 45.2 IP, 27 H, 11 R (11 ER), 1 HR, 1 HB, 27 BB, 83 K, 2.17 ERA, .172 OBA, 1.18 WHIP. This season vs. Lakewood: 1 game, 1 IP, 2 BB, 2 K. Last game vs. Kannapolis 8/8: 2 IP, 4 K. Twenty-fifth round pick of the Rangers in 2015 out of Petal HS (MS).
RHP Joe Barlow: 2018 stats: 31 games, 6 saves, 51.1 IP, 19 H, 14 R (11 ER), 3 HR, 40 BB, 78 K, 1.93 ERA, .118 BA, 1.15 WHIP. This season vs. Lakewood: 1 games, 2 IP, 1 H, 3 BB, 2 K. Last game vs. Kannapolis 8/9: 1.1 IP, 1 BB, 2 K. Eleventh-round pick of the Rangers in 2016 out of Salt Lake CC. Attended Riverton (Utah) HS. SAL Top-10 Rankings: 1st OBA by relievers (.118), 2nd SAL among relievers Ks per 9 IP ratio (13.68), T-8th games, T-10th walks.
C Yohel Pozo: 2018 stats: .256/.312/.401, 21 2B, 1 3B, 9 HR, 26 BB, 43 K. This season vs. Lakewood: 4-for-22, HR, 2 BB, 6 K. Last series vs. Kannapolis: 3-for-7. Signed with the Rangers as an international free agent in 2013. A native of Maracaibo, Venezuela. Named to the SAL All-Star Game. SAL Top-10 Rankings: 2nd plate appearance to strikeout ratio (8.86).
IF Ryan Dorow: 2018 stats: .294/.359/.451, 22 2B, 3B, 10 HR, 29 BB, 91 K, 5 SB, 2 CS. This season vs. Lakewood: 2-for-17. 8 K. Last series vs. Kannapolis: 4-for-14, BB, 2 K. Thirtieth-round pick of the Rangers in 2017 out of Adrian College (MI). Attended South Haven (MI) HS. SAL Top-10 Rankings: 6th batting avg., 10th OPS.
2B-SS Yonny Hernandez: 2018 stats (Hickory only): .254/.363/.324, 8 2B, 3 3B, 2 HR, 45 BB, 49 K, 31 SB, 8 CS. This season vs. Lakewood: 2-for-13, 3 BB, 2 K, 2 SB. Last series vs. Kannapolis: 4-for-14, BB, CS. Signed with the Rangers as an international free agent in 2014. Native of Maturin, Venezuela. SAL Top-10 Rankings: 1st sacrifice bunts (13), 2nd stolen bases, 5th walks, T-6th CS, 7th OBP.
1B Tyreque Reed: 2018 stats: .267/.338/.485, 22 2B, 12 HR, 24 BB, 82 K, SB. This season vs. Lakewood: 3-for-14, 2B, HR, BB, 6 K. Last series vs. Kannapolis: 3-for-12, HR, 2 BB, K. Eighth-round pick of the Rangers in 2017 out of Itawamba (MS) CC. Attended Haulka (MS) HS.
Prospects to watch-Lakewood (rankings by MLB.com):
RF Jhailyn Ortiz (No. 7): 2018 stats: .220/ .281/.363, 14 2B, 11 HR, 24 BB, 117 K, 2 SB, 2 CS. This season vs. Hickory: 6-for-23, HR, 2 BB, 9 K. Last series at Charleston: 3-for-10, BB, K. Signed with the Phillies as an international free agent in 2015. Native of Jarabacoa, D.R. SAL Top-10 Rankings: T-9th strikeouts
RHP Spencer Howard (No. 19): 2018 stats: 19 games (19 starts), 91 IP, 79 H, 45 R (41 ER), 6 HR, 36 BB, 116 K, 4.05 ERA, .231 OBA, 1.26 WHIP. This season vs. Hickory: 2 starts, 10 IP, 11 H, 7 R (7 ER), 4 BB, 13 K. Last start at Charleston 8/7: 6 IP, 4 H, 2 BB, 6 K. Second-round pick of the Phillies in 2017 out of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Attended Templeton (CA) HS SAL Top-10 Rankings: 6th strikeouts, T-9th wins (7), T-10th losses (7)
SS Nick Maton (No. 30): 2018 stats: .268/.334/.424, 25 2B, 5 3B, 6 HR, 33 BB, 84 K, 4 SB, 3 CS. This season vs. Hickory: 4-for-15, 3 BB, 3 K, SB, CS. Last series at Charleston: 1-for-7, 2 K. Seventh-round pick of the Phillies in 2017 out of Glenwood HS, Chatham, Ill. SAL Top-10 Rankings: T-5th doubles.
Others to watch-Lakewood:
RHP Andrew Brown: 2018 stats at Lakewood: 10 games (6 starts), 44 IP, 30 H, 12 R (10 ER), 1 HR, 2 HB, 7 BB, 39 K, 2.05 ERA, .192 OBA, 0.84 WHIP. This season vs. Hickory : 1 game 2 IP, 3 K. Last start vs. Lexington 8/4: 7 IP, 3 H, 2 R (2 ER), 1 HR, 1 HB, 1 BB, 6 K. Thirteenth-round pick of the Phillies in 2016 out of Granite Hills (CA) HS.
RHP Gustavo Armas: 2018 stats (at Lakewood): 4 games (4 starts), 27 IP, 20 H, 6 R (6 ER), 3 HR, 4 BB, 24 K, 2.00 ERA, .206 OBA, 0.89 WHIP. Has not faced Hickory this season. Last start vs. Lexington 8/4: 7 IP, 5 H, 6 K. Signed with the Phillies as an international free agent in 2013. Native of Playa Iguana, Venezuela.
RHP Julian Garcia: 2018 stats: 24 games (4 starts), 54 IP, 46 H, 19 R (17 ER), 1 HR, 2 HB, 19 BB, 62 K, 2.83 ERA, .236 OBA, 1.20 WHIP. This season vs. Hickory: 1 game, 1 IP, 2 H, 1 R (0 ER), 1 K. Last start vs. Lexington 8/5: 6 IP, 4 H, 1 R (1 ER), 1 HB, 1 BB, 4 K. Tenth-round pick of the Phillies in 2016 out of Metro State Univ. of Denver. Attended Fossil Ridge HS in Ft. Collins, Colorado.
LHP Zach Warren: 2018 stats: 31 games, 10 saves, 46.2 IP, 28 H, 14 R (12 ER), 2 HR, 3 HB, 24 BB, 76 K, 2.31 ERA, .177 OBA, 1.11 WHIP. This season vs. Hickory: 1 game, 2 IP, 3 H, 3 R (3 ER), 1 HR, 2 BB, 3 K. Last game at Charleston 8/7: 1 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 2 K. Fourteenth-round pick of the Phillies in 2017 out of the Univ. of Tennessee. Attended St. Augustine Prep in Vineland NJ. SAL Top-10 Rankings: 1st SAL among relievers Ks per 9 IP ratio (14.66), 2nd OBA by relievers (.177), T-4th saves, T-8th games pitched.
IF-OF Jake Scheiner: 2018 stats: .292/.358/.465, 26 2B, 4 3B, 11 HR, 37 BB, 71 K, 9 SB, 5 CS. This season vs. Hickory: 6-for-24, 2B, HR, 2 BB, 4 K, SB. Last series at Charleston: 3-for-11, 2B, 3B, 2 K, SB. Fourth-round pick of the Phillies in 2017 out of the Univ. of Houston. Attended Maria Carrillo HS in Santa Rosa, CA. SAL Top-10 Rankings: 4th doubles, 5th hits, 7th OPS, T-7th RBI, 8th OBP, 9th batting avg., T-10th at bats.
1B-3B Madison Stokes: 2018 stats overall: .327/.422/.482, 10 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 16 BB, 24 K, SB, CS. Last series at Charleston: 2-for-9, 2 K. Tenth-round pick of the Phillies in 2018 out of the Univ. of South Carolina. Attended AC Flora HS in Columbia, SC. Called up to Lakewood on 8/3.
OF Matt Vierling: 2018 stats (at Lakewood): .283/.320/.425, 10 2B, 2 HR, 5 BB, 27 K, 3 SB, 2 CS. Has not faced Hickory this season. Last series at Charleston: 2-for-8, 2 K. Fifth-round pick of the Phillies in 2018 out of Notre Dame. Attended Christian Brothers College HS in St. Louis.
After the Hickory Crawdads tied the game in the ninth, the Lakewood (N.J.) BlueClaws struck for three runs in the 11th to take a 6-3 win on a hot, muggy Wednesday afternoon at L.P. Frans Stadium.
The win was the second straight by Lakewood (39-50 overall, 11-9 second half) at Hickory and overall their sixth out of the last seven games.
Hickory (47-43, 9-11) dropped to 19-23 at home this season and lost its fourth straight at home. The Crawdads are assured of continuing a drought in which they have not won a home series since taking three of four vs. Lexington (Ky.) from April 29 to May 2. Since that time, the Crawdads have lost six series and tied two others (9-19 overall).
As they did in game one of the series on Monday, the Crawdads took the early lead in the second. Ti’Quan Forbes tripled just past the dive of Jose Pujols in right to score Josh Altmann, who had singled and stole second earlier.
Lakewood rebounded with a two-out rally in the fourth as Damek Tomscha singled and Pujols followed with a two-run blast to right, his South Atlantic League leading 17th of the season.
Both starting pitchers held the opposing lineups from wreaking further damage through five innings. Lakewood’s Franklyn Kilome allowed three hits and two walks, and struck out seven. His counterpart Wes Benjamin gave up five hits to go with his two runs allowed and struck out five.
BlueClaws reliever Skylar Hunter contributed to his downfall in the sixth as an errant pickoff attempt of Frandy De La Rosa at first skipped into foul territory in right field. De La Rosa moved to third and scored when Tyler Sanchez singled to left.
A controversial play led directly to a run for Lakewood in the seventh inning. With runners at first and second and two outs, Zack Coppola singled on what looked to be a routine grounder to second. Frandy De La Rosa charged the ball and as he entered the baseline between first and second, the runner, Edgar Cabral, ran into De La Rosa, knocking De La Rosa flat and sending the glove high into the air. Cabral was ruled safe at second with Wilson Garcia scoring on the play from second. De La Rosa remained in the game, but Cabral was taken out after struggling to run to third.
Crawdads manager Steve Mintz argued the call and was eventually ejected from the game.
The score remained 3-2 until two outs in the ninth. Forbes singled and scored all the way from first when Pujols mishandled a bloop single into right by Yeyson Yrizarri.
Emerson Martinez (0-2) entered the game for Hickory in the 11th and immediately walked Pujols. A sacrifice moved him to second before Martinez got Duran to bounce to short. After a wild pitch, Grenny Cumana singled in Pujols and then scored on Deivi Grullon’s second homer in as many games.
Jeff Springer struck out two of the three batters he faced to close out his three-inning relief outing and pick up the win (1-0).
Crawdads leave ducks on the pond:
As has been the case much of the year, the Crawdads missed several opportunities to add runs to their ledger and finished the game 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position.
A couple of stout defensive plays contributed to Hickory’s woes. Though Altmann eventually scored from third in the second, Ricky Valencia missed an RBI when second baseman Josh Tobias, who was playing in to cut off the runner at third from scoring, made a diving stab of a sharp grounder to hold Altmann and retire Valencia.
With Forbes at third, the Crawdads had a chance to take the lead in the seventh, Eric Jenkins chopped a ball to the left of the mound. Third baseman Damek Tomscha made a hard-charging play to the ball and short armed a quick throw to first to barely catch the speedy Jenkins and end the inning.
Otherwise, the Crawdads flailed away at the plate and that cost them a scoring chance in the fourth. Dylan Moore and Altmann walked to start the inning and moved up to second and third on Kilome’s wild pitch. With his fastball command perilous at times, Kilome turned to the slider to get Tyler Sanchez, Valencia and Forbes on strikeouts.
Altmann again whiffed in the sixth with a runner at third in the sixth, though De La Rosa did eventually score in the inning.
For the season with runners in scoring position, the Crawdads collectively have a slash of .239/.316/.343. With the bases loaded, it is .183/.243/.267.
Forbes fortunes continue at third:
What is becoming routine this season, Forbes showed off the leather with a couple more quick grabs of short hops in the game, including perhaps his best of the season in the tenth. On a sharp grounder by Tomscha, Forbes made a sprawling backhand pick of a short hop. Then seated with his right leg bent behind him, Forbes got enough on a throw across the diamond to get Tomscha by a step.
Wes Benjamin continued a steady progression through the 2016 season on Wednesday night. Coming off Tommy John surgery, the goal was to steer the lefty through good health and thus far it is working. Of his 12 starts, Benjamin has completed five or more innings in ten of them. In those ten starts, he has given up more than three runs just once and has walked more than one batter in just two of his 15 overall appearances (13 walks overall in 71 innings)
Benjamin is a guy that spots his fastball (90-91) well around the strike zone. He’ll mix in a change and a curve for show and used both to good effect today. Benjamin was especially tough in a couple of long battles with Phillies No. 5 (mlb.com) prospect Cornelius Randolph, who fouled off several pitches in both appearances against Benjamin. After Benjamin spun a high-and-tight fastball to the lefty in the first, he spotted a 92 mph pitch on the corner at the knees to get the out. In the third, it was a change on the inside corner that got the job done for a caught looking K.
Benjamin has 26 Ks over his last 20.1 innings of work.
Martinez a one-trick pony:
Emerson Martinez had his second tough outing in a row in a win/lose situation and has been tagged for the loss in both.
On Saturday at Rome (Ga.), it was two walks and two wild pitches that led to two runs scored in the ninth for a Braves walkoff win. On Wednesday afternoon, it was the inability to throw the curve for strikes that did him in. By my count, all five of them were well out of the strike zone, staying up and well to the 3B corner side of the plate. With that info in hand, the BlueClaws hitters were able to pick out a fastball to their liking and went to the attack. Cumana’s RBI single and Grullon’s homer were both on fastballs down the middle.
Moore joins the club:
Dylan Moore stole his 30th base of the season when he swiped second in the fourth inning. He joins teammate Eric Jenkins in the 30-steal club, as the outfielder already has 39. The two become the sixth duo in club history to steal 30 or more in a season, the first since Odubel Herrera (34) and Christian Villanueva (32) turned the trick in 2011.
Yrizarri stays hot:
Yeyson Yrizarri had two more hits on Wednesday and he now has multi-hit games in six straight (11-for-22). Currently in the midst of a seven-game hitting streak, the 19-year-old has 11 RBI and 0 strikeouts in that span.
The Hickory Crawdads (51-30 overall, 7-6 second half) make their second of three trips this season to FirstEnergy Park to take on the Lakewood (N.J.) BlueClaws (39-42, 6-7) in a five-game series.
Probables (Hickory/ Lakewood):
Wednesday: Cody Buckel (RH, 0-2, 2.79) vs. Ranfi Casimiro (RH, 3-5, 3.51)
Thursday: Brett Martin (LH, 3-3, 2.73) vs. Austin Davis (LH, 0-2, 2.40)
Friday: Ariel Jurado (RH, 9-0, 2.15) vs. Elniery Garcia (LH, 6-6, 3.08)
Saturday: Collin Wiles (RH, 9-3, 2.29) vs. Shane Watson (RH, 0-1, 2.45)
Sunday: Austin Pettibone (RH, 1-1, 3.94) vs. Will Morris (RH, 0-0, 0.82)
Recent Series History:
Lakewood holds a 5-4 edge in the 2015 season series after taking three of five at Hickory to open the second half. The Crawdads and BlueClaws split the series at Lakewood in early June. Hickory is 32-30 since 2009 – the start of the affiliation with the Texas Rangers – and 18-18 on the road.
Entering the Series – Hickory:
The Crawdads took the first three games of the series at Greensboro before dropping the matinee Tuesday afternoon. Winners of six out of the last nine on the road, Hickory (23-15) currently holds the best road record in the South Atlantic League.
The team pitching ERA of 2.82 is nearly a half-run better than second-place Lakewood (3.29). However the BlueClaws bats battered Hickory pitching for 32 runs on 51 hits in the recent five-game series at L.P. Frans. Overall, the Crawdads pitching staff has surrendered the fewest hits, runs and earned runs in the SAL. They also have the lowest WHIP at 1.16.
At the plate, Hickory has reclaimed the top spot in the SAL with 61 home runs. They are third in slugging pct. (.384).
In the field, the Crawdads remain at the top of the SAL in fielding pct, having committed the fewest errors and turning the most double plays.
Entering the Series – Lakewood:
After winning three straight at Hickory, the BlueClaws are 3-6. They split a four-game series at home with Hagerstown over the weekend.
Lakewood will put the ball in play as the hitters taken the fewest walks and have the second fewest strikeouts in the SAL. The BlueClaws are second in doubles and third in hits. They are next to last in OBP (.312).
Players to watch- Hickory:
SP Ariel Jurado: Currently pitching in tandem with Yohander Mendez, Jurado is expected to start, but could be switched to the relief role. He is first in the SAL in WHIP (0.96), tied for second in wins (9) and fourth in ERA (2.15). Jurado has thrown only six innings in the second half and will likely be limited to around three innings for now. He currently has 60 Ks to just eight walks in 67 innings.
SP Collin Wiles: Having won six of his last eight starts, two of those have come against the BlueClaws over the last month (12,1 IP, 11 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 7 K). Opposing teams are hitting just .221 against Wiles. He is tied with Jurado with nine wins, is second behind Jurado in WHIP (1.00) and fifth in ERA (2.29)
SP Cody Buckel: After giving up nine baserunners in 2.2 innings against Lakewood on June 26, Buckel rebounded against Greenville with a three-hitter over six innings and struck out six to just one walk. SAL hitters are batting just .182 against Buckel, but he has thrown 16 walks and hit six batters in 29 innings.
SP Austin Pettibone: Has settled into the rotation nicely since gaining a permanent spot in late June. Spun a two-hitter over six innings against Greenville on June 30, then followed that up with a one-hitter through six at Greensboro before falling apart in the seventh for a no-decision.
RP Scott Williams: Has two wins and a save in the second half during which Williams has allowed one base runner (a solo homer) in seven innings and struck out 11. After sporting a 4.26 ERA in May, Williams has allowed two runs overall in 12.2 innings (8 appearances) on six hits and two walks with 17 Ks.
OF Luke Tendler: Arguably the hottest hitter in the lineup in the second half, Tendler is at .333/.375/.489 in the 12 games after the all-star break. He put up six RBI in the weekend series vs. Lakewood to open the second half and has a team-high of nine RBI against the BlueClaws this season. Tendler is tied for sixth in the SAL with 19 doubles.
C Jose Trevino: Has a .301/.322/.460 slash on the road compared to a .216/.252/.399 mark at home. He is off to a cool start in July (3-for-20) with all three hits coming at Greensboro on Saturday. Currently, Trevino is third in the SAL in homers (10) and tied for 11th in RBI (39).
OF Jose Cardona: Of current active players, Cardona has the highest avg. (.290) against the BlueClaws this season. Like Trevino, Cardona is off to a cool start in July and is three for his last 31 – two of the hits homers. His nine homers are tied for fourth in the SAL.
C Chuck Moorman: Joined the Crawdads at Greensboro, the 17th round pick of the Rangers in 2012 played two games at AAA Round Rock this season.
C-1B Jonathan Meyer: Had a six-game hitting streak (8-for-22) and a three-game RBI streak snapped in the shutout loss to Greensboro on Tuesday.
2B Carlos Arroyo: Currently in the midst of a three-game hitting streak (5-for-12) and has at least one hit in 17 of his last 22 games since going hitless in his first two games with the club.
OF Jairo Beras: Has begun to heat up again with hits in five straight games (7-for-18) before an 0-for-3 game on Tuesday. However, he has at least one strike out in seven straight (11 overall).
Players to watch- Lakewood:
SP Elniery Garcia: He has dominated the Crawdads in his two starts, having allowed two runs on nine hits over 13 innings with eight strikeouts. Garcia threw a four-hitter over seven innings against Hickory on June 28. He followed that up with a five-hitter over seven innings against Hagerstown in his last start. Garcia is ninth in the SAL in ERA (3.08) and WHIP (1.20).
SP Shane Watson: The first-round pick of the Phillies (Lakewood (CA) High) in 2012 missed all of 2014 with shoulder surgery and a 50-game suspension for a drug of abuse violation to start this season. Watson allowed one run on seven hits over 3.2 innings in his first start for the BlueClaws on Sunday.
SP Will Morris: Former teammate of Evan Van Hoosier at College of Southern Nevada, the 24th-round pick of the Phillies in 2013 made the first start of his career last Monday against Hagerstown (5 IP, 2 H, 2 K). Morris had 51 relief appearances over three seasons before the start.
RP Joey DeNato: Was selected to the SAL All-Star Game. He is eighth in the SAL with 26 appearances.
CF Herlis Rodriguez: Has two SAL hitter-of-the-week awards and is arguably the best hitter on the team after the promotion of key teammates Carlos Tocci and Rhys Hoskins to high-A. Currently seventh in the SAL in slugging (.469) and tenth in RBI (41).
3B Damek Tomscha: Has ripped through Hickory pitching this season at a .370/.419/.556 clip with seven RBI and a homer. He put together four straight multi-hit games at the end of June, but is hitless in his last four games and is 2-for-21in his last six. Tomscha has 20 doubles, tied for third in the SAL.
1B Kyle Martin: The Phillies fourth-round pick out of South Carolina last month made his pro debut at Hickory. He has a .340/.365/.580 slash in 13 games since joining the BlueClaws with six multi-hit games.
LF Cord Sandberg: Was the third-round pick of the Phillies in 2013 out of Manatee (FL) High and is currently the No. 13 prospect in the organization. Sandberg with 10-for-21 against the Crawdads two weeks ago with four extra-base hits, five runs scored and five RBI.
2B Scott Kingery: The Pac-12 player of the year was the Phillies second-round draft pick a month ago. Like Martin, he made his pro debut at Hickory with two hits in the opener. Kingery finished 6-for-21 in the series with six runs scored. So far in July, he is 3-for-24 (.125).
The Lakewood (N.J.) BlueClaws scored four runs over the final two innings to claim a 6-3 win over the Hickory Crawdads Saturday night at L.P. Frans Stadium.
The win for the BlueClaws (35-36 overall, 1-2 second half) was the second straight in the five-game series and dealt the first lost of the season to the Crawdads (45-26, 1-2) when they led or were tied after seven innings. Hickory was 40-0 when leading after seven.
The Crawdads scored all of their runs during two-out rallies. In the first, Eduard Pinto singled and Jose Trevino doubled before Jonathan Meyer singled in both.
After Emmanuel Marrero cut it to 2-1 in the third with his first pro homer, Hickory added a run in the fourth when Jairo Beras walked with two outs and scored on Carlos Arroyo’s triple.
Lakewood made it 3-2 in the fifth. Cord Sandberg reached on a bloop single to left, moved to second on a wild pitch, to third on a deep fly to right, and then scored when Joel Fisher lined a single to center.
The decisive rally came in the eighth against Crawdads reliever Joe Filomeno. With one out, Gustavo Martinez legged out an infield hit to short. Marrero sneaked a grounder just inside the bag at third for a double. Filomeno held runners at second and third when he struck out Drew Stankiewicz, but both scored as Scott Kingery ripped a double between third baseman Josh Morgan and the bag. Kingery then scored on Herlis Rodriguez’s double off the wall in right-center.
Lakewood’s final run in the ninth came when Kyle Martin homered to right against reliever Erik Swanson.
Brett Martin: Arguably his best start of the season. The homer he served up was a curveball down that Marrero went down to get. Threw 40 strikes out of 54 pitches, using mostly a fastball (89-92) –slider mix. He fanned two in the first – both on sliders – and two more in the second, one swinging on a slider, the other a fastball looking. Was definitely an outing to build upon.
Chris Dula: After giving runs in five straight outings and six out of seven, Dula kept the sinker (93-96) down for three groundballs – two for outs, the third an infield hit.
Jose Cardona: Went 2-for-4 with a double, lining a pair of fastballs for hits, including a 95 mph heater for a double.
Rock Shoulders: Went 0-4, but crushed the ball three times, only to see them die at the wall. Just not his night.
Josh Morgan: Had one hit – a dribbler up the middle in the fifth – but had two other hard hit liners that left fielder Cord Sandberg snagged. Like Rock Shoulders…
Joe Filomeno: Given the first chance to close out a tight game after the bullpen rearrangement, he had a tough night. Fastball was lively sitting around 93, but breaking balls were not close enough to the plate to entice swings, or sharp enough to miss bats when swung at. Kingery and Rodriguez both sat on first-pitch fastballs for back-to-back doubles that accounted for three runs. He struck out two in the inning, but needed eight pitches each to do so.
Late innings slump: Put only three runners aboard over the final four innings. Had only one runner in the same span in the previous game.
Kyle Martin: The Phillies fourth-round 2015 pick out of South Carolina hit his first pro homer in the ninth.
Manny Martinez: After Cardona slammed a fastball off the wall in the seventh, Martinez went predominantly to his curve to retire Michael De Leon on a grounder to first and Morgan on a popup to first.
Austin Smith: The left-handed reliever threw an explosive mid-90s fastball to strike out two, the second against Jairo Beras, who froze on a 91 mph heater on the inside corner.
Lakewood BlueClaws second baseman Scott Kingery began his pro career at L.P. Frans Stadium on Thursday. The second-round pick (48th overall) of the Phillies early in June out of the University of Arizona singled in his first at-bat.
“Kind of a blooper into left,” said Kingery of his first live-game experience. “It doesn’t matter how it happens, as long as I got that first hit.”
He tripled later in the game and scored what was then a go-ahead run before the Hickory Crawdads rallied from two down to gain a walk-off win.
The success in Kingery’s pro debut is a taste of what many in the Phillies organization hope to see in the future.
Phillies’ scouting director Johnny Almaraz labeled Kingery as someone could be “a quick mover” in comments made to the media after the draft selection. In mlb.com’s article on Kingery, the opening paragraph mentioned him as someone who could succeed Phillies second baseman Chase Utley.
All of this is high praise for someone who was a walk-on at Arizona after receiving his only scholarship offer from Central Arizona College. With an eye to the future and the hope to improve his craft as a baseball player, Kingery made the choice to go to Arizona with the full backing of his family.
“My dad told me, ‘if you’re going to be a good player, you’ve got to take a chance at a D-1. So, if you want to go to Arizona and walk on, we’ll support your decision.’”
Kingery went on to play three seasons with the Wildcats under longtime head coach Andy Lopez. While there, Kingery won back-to-back batting titles in the Pac-12. His athleticism also played out in the field when he moved to second base for his junior season after playing in the outfield. Despite his inexperience at the position to start the season, he learned quickly and was named to the Pac-12 All-Defensive team.
“It was my first year at second base, so coming in there, I didn’t know what to expect,” Kingery said of the move. “I figured some stuff out in the fall. Coming out with that defensive All-Pac 12 team, that was a great feeling knowing that I can go into my first season and make some good plays on defense and end up being on the defensive team.”
But it is the bat that earned him the high draft slot. Kingery batted .392 in 54 games with a .984 OPS. Despite winning the Pac-12 batting title the year before, he didn’t feel he started getting noticed until earlier this season.
“My sophomore year I had a good year, but at the beginning of this year is when things started to happen,” Kingery said. “I began to come into contact with some scouts. Once the season started, it took off from there.”
While all of the talk of being a quick mover and a successor to Utley swirl around him, for now Kingery is simply hoping to learn the routine of being a pro.
“At this point, I’m just trying to be the best I can be right here and not thinking too far ahead. I’m just looking to compete here. Hopefully I can move fast, but right now, I’m just focused on this team.”