Wilmer Flores improves as Colt Keith and Jace Jung stay hot in weekend action

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Toledo Mud Hens 5, Lehigh Valley IronPigs 1 (Fri)(box)

Toledo Mud Hens 9, Lehigh Valley IronPigs 5 (Sat)(box)

Lehigh Valley IronPigs 4, Toledo Mud Hens 2 (Sun)(box)

With victories on Friday and Saturday, the Hens claimed a 4-2 series victory over Lehigh Valley before the IronPigs won on Sunday.

On Friday, Matt Manning made a rehab start, throwing 59 pitches, allowing one unearned run in three innings of work. He wasn’t real precise and still falling off the mound toward first base and pulling the ball glove side as a result, but it was too much for IronPigs hitters to do any real damage against. Still, he did give up five singles and a walk to two strikeouts, and looked like he could use another outing to get dialed in. That opportunity made not come to pass considering the Tigers’ desperate need for pitching, and the fact that Manning is coming off a foot injury instead of an arm issue.

New left fielder Nick Solak tripled in this one, scoring twice and driving in a run. Justyn-Henry Malloy and Parker Meadows each had two hits, Meadows including a double, and Tyler Nevin collected a pair of singles as well. Beau Brieske threw 1 13 innings with just a walk allowed to two strikeouts.

On Saturday, the Hens racked up 10 hits and eight walks to win pretty handily. The crux was a seven-run third inning that included a three-run jack from new acquisition, infielder Joe Rizzo, who introduced himself with a three-hit game. Malloy had two hits including a triple, and drove in three runs as well as drawing his requisite walk.

Trey Wingenter and Brieske each threw a scoreless inning, with Brieske working back-to-back days, throwing 95-97 mph and looking ready to rejoin the Tigers in the bullpen soon.

On Sunday, Parker Meadows doubled twice, staying hot in the month of June. Andre Lipcius also had two hits, but the offense was pretty quiet overall in the loss. Matt Wisler was the opener, but after a scoreless first inning, lefty Jack O’Loughlin took over. The Australian continued his low key breakout this year with four innings of one-run ball with six strikeouts. The offense failed to add on runs after a two-run first, and Aneurys Zabala was tagged for three runs in relief to take the loss.

Coming Up Next: The Hens welcome in the St. Paul Saints for six starting Tuesday night at 7:05 p.m. ET.

Erie SeaWolves 6, Harrisburg Senators 1 (Fri)(box)

Harrisburg Senators 7, Erie SeaWolves 0 (Sat)(box)

Erie SeaWolves 8, Harrisburg Senators 0 (Sun)(box)

With weekend victories on Friday and Sunday, the SeaWolves took this road set four games to two with the offense generally having a good series other than on Saturday.

Wilmer Flores got the start on Friday, and he continues to look better and better after a rough start to the season. Flores punched six tickets in six innings, allowing just three singles and a walk.

Colt Keith, who returned to action with a home run on Thursday after a somewhat mysterious four-game absence from the lineup, sparked the offense with a three-run shot in the third inning. Since his return, Keith has been in the designated hitter slot only. There were some rumors of arm fatigue, but the Tigers haven’t made any comment on his absence.

Chris Meyers had a three hit game, while Dillon Dingler added a pair of singles and a walk in the winning effort.

Saturday saw the first bad start of lefty Brant Hurter’s season. The big southpaw was lifted after throwing 32 pitches in a rough first inning that saw Harrisburg score four runs, and then cruise to victory. The lineup got one hit, a single from Trei Cruz, who also walked in the game. Keith went 0-for-4 with three punchouts.

On Sunday, Joe Lockhart and Adam Wolf combined for six shutout innings while the offense built a big lead. Trei Cruz hit his 10th home run of the year in the first to get things started, and then a four-run fourth inning provided separation. Meyers, Dingler, and Cruz all had RBI singles in the inning.

Cruz had a single to go with the home run, while Keith singled and walked. Meyers and Dingler each had two hit games. Blake Holub was particularly impressive in his two innings of relief, piling up four strikeouts to one walk without allowing a hit.

Coming Up Next: The SeaWolves carry a 34-29 first half record, which leads the Southwest division by 1.5 games over Akron, into Hartford this week to battle the Yard Goats starting Tuesday night.

Captains 9, Whitecaps 8 (Fri)(F/10)(box)

Captains 5, Whitecaps 3 (Gm1)(F/7)(Sat)(box)

Whitecaps 7, Captains 0 (Gm2)(F/7)(Sat)(box)

Captains 5, Whitecaps 0 (Sun)(box)

The Whitecaps took the first two of this series with the Lake County Captains. However, they lost three of four over the weekend including a makeup game for Wednesday’s rain out, to split the series with Lake County.

On Friday, the Whitecaps mounted a nice comeback after falling behind early, but a wild 10th inning saw Lake County walk it off with a five run inning against reliever Bryce Tassin after the Whitecaps scored four in the top half of the frame.

Jace Jung stayed hot with his 11th home run of the season. Danny Serretti, Izaac Pacheco, and Brady Allen all went yard in the losing effort.

On Saturday in game one, Wilkel Hernandez was rocked for five runs in six innings of work, striking out seven. I sense a move to the bullpen in his fairly immediate future. Eliezer Alfonzo’s seventh inning two-run homer made this closer than the game felt. Izaac Pacheco and Austin Murr each doubled in the contest.

If you missed it, Whitecaps’ manager Brayan Pena uncharacteristically lost his cool with the home plate umpire in this one and was tossed. This was the kind of furious, intimidating tirade you don’t see much anymore, followed by Pena’s leisurely stroll into the the stands to commune with the people.

In game two, relievers Angel Reyes and Trevin Michael combined for five scoreless frames with eight strikeouts as the Whitecaps built a lead and then won going away with a three-run sixth and another run in the seventh, and final, frame.

Brady Allen’s ninth home run, a two-run shot in the third inning, got things started for the ‘Caps. He also doubled later, racking up three RBI’s in the game. Jace Jung walked three times and scored twice. A two-run double from Roberto Campos in the sixth broke this one open for good.

On Sunday, lefty Carlos Pena gave the ‘Caps a pretty good start of six innings with two runs allowed, despite four walks issued as he allowed just one hit, a solo home run in the fourth. The offense just didn’t do much, collecting seven hits and just two walks on the day.

Coming Up Next: The Whitecaps welcome the Great Lakes Loons into LMCU Ballpark this week, with Tuesday night’s contest set for 6:35 p.m. ET.

Dunedin Blue Jays 13, Lakeland Flying Tigers 2 (Fri)(box)

Lakeland Flying Tigers 4, Dunedin Blue Jays 3 (Sat)(box)

Lakeland Flying Tigers 8, Dunedin Blue Jays 4 (Sun)(box)

After going down 1-3 in the series with Friday’s loss, the Flying Tigers roared back with back-to-back weekend wins to split the series with the Blue Jays affiliate.

On Friday, Joe Miller, Marco Jimenez, and Chris Mauloni were rocked, and the offense managed just five hits. Peyton Graham singled and walked, but no one else reached base twice.

Carlos Marcano gave the Flying Tigers a solid start on Saturday, and they took advantage. Marcano allowed two runs, one earned, over five innings of work with four strikeouts to zero walks. Lakeland was down by two runs when a four run fifth powered them into the lead for good. J.D. McLaughlin got them started with a leadoff double. Graham had an RBI single, while an error, a bases loaded walk to Dom Johnson, and a sacrifice fly from Jose De La Cruz pushed the runs across.

On Sunday, outfielder Lazaro Benitez, third baseman Abel Bastidas, and second baseman Luke Gold all had two hit games to power the Flying Tigers. Bastidas’ leadoff double in the second inning sparked a four-run rally with RBI hits from Cristian Santana and Benitez. They scratched across a run in the fourth, and then doubles from Gold and Sergio Tapia plated another one in the fifth. An RBI double from Bastidas in the sixth made it 7-3, and Gold singled in Bastidas to make it 8-3 as Lakeland cruised from there.

Coming Up Next: The Bradenton Marauders come to town for six starting at 6:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday night.

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