Toledo Mud Hens 4, Indianapolis Indians 2 (Gm 1)(F/7)(box)
The Mud Hens evened the series at a game apiece in Game 1 of Thursday’s doubleheader. However, that was not at all on anyone’s mind when Matt Manning had to come out of the game in the third inning. It turned out that Manning was ill and feeling light-headed, according to GM Al Avila, which was a huge relief as his velocity was down and his fastball command non-existent.
Meanwhile, Kody Clemens powered the offense, bouncing an RBI single to right to score Zack Short, and then doubling home Short in the third inning, before adding an inside-the-park home run on a deep fly ball to center field in the sixth. That’s a good day. Dane Myers continues his resurgence as a position player with an RBI double in the top of the seventh.
Bryan Garcia and Miguel del Pozo allowed a run apiece in relief, but Derek Law entered with one out in the seventh and a rally brewing and shut things down for his sixth save.
Indianapolis Indians 8, Toledo Mud Hens 4 (Gm 2)(F/7)(box)
Indy got a little payback in the Game 2, taking advantage of a Hens’ bullpen game to split the doubleheader. Once again, Clemens powered the offense, doubling home Short, who led off with a walk, in the top of the first as the Hens scored two. However, Drew Hutchison, now resigned to a minor league deal after testing free agency, allowed a pair of runs in the bottom half of the first.
Nivaldo Rodriguez allowed a pair of runs in the third as he walked the first two hitters he faced and compounded things with a fielding error. Dylan Rosa launched a solo shot in the fifth, and then Short doubled, later to be driven in by who else but Kody Clemens as the Hens re-tied the game in the fifth. Unfortunately, Rodriguez had further control problems in the sixth as Indianapolis score four to win going away.
Kody Clemens was 6-for-8 on the day with two doubles and an inside the park home runs, collecting five RBI along the way.
Coming Up Next: The Hens will look to even the series on Friday night at 7:05 p.m. EDT.
Erie SeaWolves 5, New Hampshire Fisher Cats 1 (Gm 1)(F/7)(box)
The SeaWolves bounced back from Tuesday’s loss and Wednesday’s rain out to sweep a doubleheader on Thursday behind excellent starting pitching. In Game 1, Austin Bergner carved up the Fisher Cats for 5 2⁄3 innings retiring 15 straight hitters after a double and a walk in the first. He allowed no runs on just two hits and a walk, while striking out seven.
Bergner’s teammates gave him a clear path to victory and a big lead by dropping five runs on New Hampshire in the bottom of the first. Andrew Navigato and Dillon Dingler started things off with back-to-back singles and Kerry Carpenter doubled to score Navigato and move Dingler to third. The rally almost died right there as Andre Lipcius grounded into a 6-3-2 double play with Dingler thrown out at home, but Parker Meadows was hit by a pitch and Gage Workman doubled home Carpenter. Quincy Nieporte followed with an RBI single to plate Meadows and Workman, and Daniel Cabrera was then walked on four straight before Luis Carpio laced a single to right to score Nieporte and make it 5-0 SeaWolves.
Billy Lescher allowed the Fisher Cats to score on a double, a wild pitch, and a ground out in the top of the seventh, but this one was more or less in the bag by that point anyway.
Erie SeaWolves 7, New Hampshire Fisher Cats 1 (Gm 2)(F/7)(box)
Game 2 featured the Double-A debut of right-hander Wilmer Flores, who is going to be rocketing up on midseason prospect lists the way things are going. The relentless march of this former undrafted free agent out of college continued unabated as he dominated the Fisher Cats over five scoreless innings of one-hit ball, striking out seven along the way.
Flores, working from the extreme first base side of the rubber as usual, mixed his low-90’s cutter and mid-90’s fourseamer effectively, showing better command as the outing progressed, and even showed a few solid changeups. As usual his nasty 81-82 mph power curve was a huge weapon, drawing plenty of swings and misses. There’s still some relief risk here, but the big right-hander threw a ton of strikes and worked in and out of the stretch effectively. He only just turned 21 and struck out 45.5 percent of hitters he faced with West Michigan, with a walk rate of 2.6 percent. Absolute beast. You’re going to see 50 FV tags on him this summer, if not higher.
The SeaWolves’ offense got on board in the bottom of the first courtesy of Gage Workman, who led off with a double, and then stole third as Dillon Dingler struck out, scoring as the throw from home missed its mark badly. Andre Lipcius cracked a three-run shot in the third with Dingler and Carpenter aboard to put this one in the bag with Flores on the mound. Carpenter added a solo shot in the fifth to push his OPS to .896 on the year. The SeaWolves added two more in the bottom of the sixth before Yaya Chentouf and Brendan White closed it out, each pitching through a jam to record a scoreless sixth and seventh inning, respectively.
Coming Up Next: RHP Reese Olson (2-2, 3.86 ERA) takes the mound at 6:05 p.m. EDT on Friday night at UPMC Park, as the Fisher Cats send RHP Paxton Schultz ( 2-3, 5.87 ERA) against him looking to even the series.
West Michigan Whitecaps 4, Fort Wayne TinCaps 2 (box)
Ulrich Bojarski and Jake Holton each homered on Thursday night in Fort Wayne as the Whitecaps took down the TinCaps to take a 2-1 lead in the six-game series.
The ‘Caps got all of their runs in the third as Bojarski led off with a solo shot, his third homer of the season. Trei Cruz singled and Corey Joyce walked before Holton went yard for his fourth of the year to build the 4-0 lead.
Jordan Marks gave them a decent short start allowing just an unearned run in the fourth. Fort Wayne scored against Jack O’Loughlin in the sixth, helped by a Cruz error at shortstop that made it an unearned run. Jared Tobey, Gio Arriera, and Andrew Magno shut it down from there to preserve the lead and the eventual victory. Magno’s save was his fourth on the year.
Coming Up Next: RHP Carlos Guzman (1-2, 5.76 ERA) gets the start on Friday night at 7:05 p.m. EDT, taking on RHP Efrain Contreras (0-1, 6.75 ERA).
Lakeland Flying Tigers 7, Jupiter Hammerheads 1 (box)
Lefty Carlos Pena gave the Flying Tigers a decent start on Thursday as they made it three straight over Jupiter. Pena kept the Hammerheads scoreless over five innings on three hits and three walks, with five strikeouts.
Lakeland got on the board in the third when Esney Chacon tripled and scored on a Carlos Mendoza ground out. The offense missed a few opportunities before breaking the game open in the sixth. A two-run double from Manuel Sequera finally extended the Flying Tigers’ lead as they went on to score four in the inning. Roberto Campos singled home Sequera with two outs, and Kingston Liniak doubled home Campos.
Lakeland got two more in the bottom of the seventh, as Chacon singled and took second on an error. Sequera lined one to left for an RBI single, and Izaac Pacheco and Justice Bigbie followed with back-to-back singles. Wilmer Fenelon allowed a run in the top of the ninth to lose the shutout, but this one was well in hand by that point.
Sequera led the way as the shortstop racked up three hits and three RBI, scoring twice. Pacheco had himself a two-hit game, as did Chacon.
Coming Up Next: The two clubs meet up in Lakeland at 6:30 p.m. EDT on Friday night as the Flying Tigers look to lock up a series victory. No starters were announced yet.