Matt Manning and Jackson Jobe rehab; Peyton Graham keys Lakeland over Bradenton

Bless You Boys

Toledo Mud Hens 6, St. Paul Saints 0 (box)

The Hens took a 2-1 series lead heading into the weekend after a rehab start for Matt Manning started the game. The right-hander was still a little wild, but he was also hard to hit.

Manning tossed four scoreless innings, allowing just a single. However, he walked five along the way, striking out six. He walked a pair in the first with one out, but punched out Trevor Larnach with a good changeup and popped up Chris Williams on a heater to escape. His miss continued to be gloveside and while he wasn’t missing by much, he fought it at a few points in his outing. Also notable, was that balls and strikes were called by the automated system in this game, and boy that strike zone looks pretty tight with no deft glovework from the catcher to help a pitcher out.

Manning threw 73 pitches, though only 41 for strikes. On the plus side, he did some of his best work under pressure. A pair of walks and an infield single loaded the bases for the Saints in the third. Manning punched out Matt Wallner swinging over a curveball down and in, and then got a break as Larnach lined into an inning ending double play. Manning physically looked good to go, but he’ll need his fastball command back to hit the ground running. We’ll see the Tigers are satisfied enough with his progress to activate him for his next start. Guessing they will.

Parker Meadows didn’t hit the ball hard but managed to spark the offense anyway. He opened the bottom of the first with an infield single, stole second, and took third when the Saints tried to backpick him at second and the infielder was off the bag and not expecting the throw. He scored on a Nick Solak ground out. Leading off the third, Meadows dumped a single into left field, advanced to second on another Solak ground out, and took third on Justyn-Henry Malloy’s single. A Tyler Nevin sac fly scored him to make it 2-0. Malloy then stole second, but Andre Lipcius grounded out.

In the fifth, Nevin drilled a line drive home run to right field, his third for the Hens. 3-0 Toledo. A two-run double from Corey Joyce in the eighth scored Lipcius and Donny Sands. Parker Meadows brought the final run home in the form of Andrew Knapp via a sacrifice fly.

Brenan Hanifee tossed three scoreless innings of relief with four strikeouts to lead the bullpen.

Meadows: 2-4, 2 R, RBI

Nevin: 1-3, R, 2 RBI, HR

Joyce: 1-2, 2 RBI, 2B, 2 BB

Manning: 4.0 IP, 0 ER, H, 5 BB, 6 SO

Coming Up Next: LHP Bryan Sammons (0-1, 7.59 ERA) takes on RHP Louie Varland (2-0, 4.20 ERA), who the Tigers just saw last weekend pitching for the Royals, at 7:05 p.m. ET on Friday night.

Hartford Yard Goats 10, Erie SeaWolves 9 (box)

The SeaWolves appeared to have this in the bag after a solid start from Wilmer Flores and three long balls from the offense. However, a disastrous ninth inning on all fronts saw the Yard Goats drop six runs in the bottom half to walk this one off. That is not what the SeaWolves need as they cling to the divisional lead.

Flores allowed two runs over five innings of work. He allowed three hits and three walks, striking out six. Effective, but still not as sharp as we saw him for long stretches last year.

The lineup got it going in the third, when a two-out double from Colt Keith scored Ben Malgeri. Wenceel Perez singled in Keith, and Andrew Navigato belted a two-run shot to left center field to make it 4-1 Hens. Flores allowed a run in the bottom of the third, but in the fourth Gage Workman walked, stole second, and then scored on a Hartford error to make it 5-2 Hens. A Julio E. Rodriguez two-run shot in the sixth made it 7-2 and the SeaWolves were rolling.

Reliever Adam Wolf allowed two runs in the seventh as Hartford close the score to 7-4, but the SeaWolves weren’t done. Workman led off the eighth with his sixth home run of the season, and Keith would single home Malgeri again to make it 9-4.

You’d think that was enough but a rough inning from Andrew Magno, compounded by errors on Trei Cruz at second base and Gage Workman at third kept the inning alive despite just three singles allowed by Magno and the Yard Goats scored four runs before Angel De Jesus took over to try and close it out. He failed miserably, giving up a three-run walkoff home run to Jack Blomgren on the second pitch he saw.

Fortunately, Altoona and Akron each lost to stay 2.5 and 3.5 games back in the divisional race with just three more game left this weekend. A victory on Friday night will clinch the first half, Southwest division title. The SeaWolves take a 2-1 lead in the Hartford series into the weekend.

Keith: 3-5, R, 2 RBI, 2B, SO

Navigato: 2-4, R, 2 RBI, HR, 2B, BB, SO

Workman: 1-4, 2 R, RBI, HR, BB, 2 SO, SB

Flores: 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 H, 3 BB, 6 SO

Coming Up Next: LHP Brant Hurter (2-3, 3.05 ERA) looks to bounce back after a rare rough outing. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. ET on Friday night. Hartford hasn’t announced a starter.

Great Lakes Loons 9, West Michigan Whitecaps 4 (box)

Williander Moreno was rocked in his start as the Loons had an easy time of it on Thursday.

Moreno gave up six earned in just 2 13 innings of work. Angel Reyes allowed two more, and Jack Anderson gave up one in the sixth.

Jace Jung had the day off, but the Whitecaps briefly had the lead when they scored two in the bottom of the first. Carlos Mendoza and Danny Serretti started the inning with walks. Brady Allen and Izaac Pacheco struck out, but Josh Crouch came up with a two-run double that briefly made it 2-1 ‘Caps. Crouch also had a two-run single, scoring Serretti and Allen in the fourth, collecting all four RBI’s for West Michigan in this one.

Crouch: 2-4, 4 RBI, 2B

Mendoza: 0-1, R, 4 BB, SO

Moreno (L, 3-1): 2.1 IP, 6 ER, 8 H, 3 BB, 0 SO

Coming Up Next: RHP Wilkel Hernandez (1-4, 5.01 ERA) takes on RHP Kendall Williams (0-0, 2.25 ERA) at 6:35 p.m. ET on Friday night at LMCU Ballpark.

Lakeland Flying Tigers 13, Bradenton Marauders 4 (box)

Jackson Jobe was really good in his rehab start, and Peyton Graham had a huge game as the Flying Tigers finally dropped a big number on someone.

Jobe’s stuff was really crisp. He sat around 97 mph, topping 98 mph a couple of times with good riding life and a good induced vertical break number. The 3000 rpm breaking balls showed out for him, and Jobe debuted a new cutter at 91 mph with 2800 rpms that will be interesting to watch develop. He struck out five in 2 23 scoreless innings, allowing three singles on the day. The talent level is quite high here.

Meanwhile, the offense took advantage of Jobe’s outing by building an insurmountable lead.

Peyton Graham led off the bottom of the first with a single and then stole second with one out. Dom Johnson and Andrew Jenkins followed with singles, scoring Graham. A balk then moved both base runners up with Lazaro Benitez at the plate. Benitez drove in Johnson with a ground out, and then Abel Bastidas and Jose De La Cruz worked walks to load the bases, forcing an early pitching change for the Marauders. Another balk scored Jenkins, before Luke Gold struck out to end the inning. 3-0 Lakeland.

In the third, Dom Johnson led off with a triple and scored on a Jenkins single. In the fourth, Gold led off with a single and Moises Valero drew a walk. Both scored on a double down the left field line from Graham. Mario Feliciano doubled Graham to third on a fly ball that Graham had to wait on, but which dropped in. A Johnson sacrifice fly scored Graham to make it 7-0 Lakeland, and Jenkins then singled in Feliciano to make it 8-0.

In the top of the fifth, right-hander Tanner Kohlhepp made his pro debut returning from Tommy John surgery after being drafted in the fifth round back in 2021. We were pretty intrigued by his arm angle, spin, and velocity coming out of college. Good to see him finally put the injury behind him. Kohlhepp was a bit wild, hitting a batter and balking him to second before the run scored on a Graham throwing error.

In the bottom of the fifth, Johnson and Jenkins each came up with RBI singles to make it 10-1. Graham cracked home run number four in the sixth with Valero aboard to make it 12-1, and in the eighth, Graham dumped a pop-up into shallow right field that was misplayed into an RBI double to complete the scoring.

Graham: 4-6, 3 R, 5 RBI, HR, 2 2B, SB

Johnson: 3-4, 2 R, 2 RBI, 3B, SO

Jenkins: 4-5, R, 4 RBI

Jobe: 2.2 IP, 0 ER, 3 H, 0 BB, 5 SO

Coming Up Next: The series is tied at a game apiece with first pitch set for 6:30 p.m. ET on Friday.

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