Huge games from Jake Holton and Jose De La Cruz power the SeaWolves and Flying Tigers

Bless You Boys

St. Paul Saints 8, Toledo Mud Hens 7 (box)

The Hens stormed back after a rough outing from Brant Hurter, but the bullpen couldn’t hold a late lead as the Saints took their second straight.

Ryan Vilade gave Hurter an early lead when he launched a solo shot in the first inning. Riley Unroe led off the third with a single and scored on a Vilade double to make it 2-0 Hens.

However, after a solid start, Hurter came apart in the bottom of the third. He walked two hitters in between hits and ultimately allowed five runs, capped by a Jair Camargo three-run home run. To his credit, he pulled it together again to go five innings, and the offense struck back immediately.

Bligh Madris led off the top of the fourth with a walk, and back-to-back doubles from Eddys Leonard and Justice Bigbie made it 5-4 Saints. Andrew Navigato came through with a two-run shot with two outs in the inning, and the Hens had recaptured a 6-5 lead. Leonard added a solo shot, his second home run of the year, in the sixth to make it 7-5.

Unfortunately, recent pickup Easton Lucas had even much more trouble finding the strike zone than Hurter had. He started the seventh issuing a walk and then giving up a double. Another walk loaded the bases, and yet another forced in a run. Trey Wingenter took over with two outs and promptly allowed an RBI single and then wild pitched in a run before getting out of the inning. The Hens didn’t have another comeback in them.

Leonard: 3-4, 2 R, RBI, 2B, HR

Vilade: 2-5, R, 2 RBI, 2B, HR, K

Navigato: 1-3, R, 2 RBI, HR, BB

Hurter: 5.0 IP, 5 ER, 7 H, 3 BB, 4 K

Erie SeaWolves 11, Somerset Patriots 2 (box)

Wilkel Hernandez survived issuing a bunch of walks, and Jake Holton and Hao-Yu Lee powered the offense to a big night when they really needed it to hang onto their slim playoff hopes.

The SeaWolves got singles from Lee and Holton in the first inning but couldn’t cash them in, and that felt a little ominous for their chances in this one. However, Hernandez held things down early on, and in the third the offense struck gold.

Carlos Mendoza got things started, as he often does, with a single and a steal of second base. Lee walked, and then he and Mendoza pulled off a double steal to get both into scoring position. Holton then sprayed a hard ground ball down the first base line for a two-run double.

Hernandez was pitching well and made the lead stick with a quick 1-2-3 bottom of the third with two strikeouts.

In the fifth, Brady Allen led off with a walk and Mendoza was hit by a pitch. A sharp single from Lee only allowed them to advance 90 feet, but Trei Cruz and Holton came up with consecutive singles and it was 5-0. Chris Meyers was hit by a pitch and that reloaded the bases. Singles from Julio E. Rodriguez and Eliezer Alfonzo made it 7-0 before the Patriots got out of the inning.

Hernandez finally ran out of gas in the bottom of the sixth, hitting the leadoff man and then wild pitching the runner to second. Hernandez bounced back to get a strikeout and a ground out, but then issued a walk and surrendered a two-run double that ended his outing.

Still, the SeaWolves offense was relentless in this one, badly needing a victory.

They got a leadoff single from Meyers in the seventh and he eventually scored on a sacrifice fly from Alfonzo. In the eighth, Lee doubled with one out and scored on a Holton single. Holton then took second on a wild pitch and scored on a Meyers single to make it 10-2. A Julio E. Rodriguez double in the top of the ninth led to their final run on a Mendoza RBI single.

Holton: 4-5, 2 R, 5 RBI, 2B, K

Lee: 3-5, 3 R, 2B, BB, SB

Mendoza: 2-5, 2 R, RBI, K, 2 SB

Hernandez (W, 3-3): 5.2 IP, 2 R, ER, 3 H, 4 BB, 5 K

Dayton Dragons 9, West Michigan Whitecaps 6 (box)

Lefty Joe Miller was rocked in this one, and the bullpen was unable to stem the tide as the Dragons roared on Wednesday.

The ‘Caps had an early lead when Seth Stephenson launched a solo shot to left center field. Roberto Campos and Luis Santana walked with two outs, and after a Dayton pitching change, Luke Gold singled in Campos to make it 2-0.

That lead didn’t last long, as Miller was clobbered for seven runs in the top of the second, including a pair of home runs. Chris Mauloni allowed a run in the third, and it was 8-0 Dayton.

The ‘Caps got a run back in the bottom of the fourth when Gold led off with a single and scored on a Danny Serretti double. In the fifth, Stephenson and Max Anderson led off with singles. A Santana sac fly scored Stephenson, and singles from Gold and Serretti set up Bennett Lee, who doubled in two more runs to make it 8-6.

Unfortunately, the comeback stalled out at that point. The Dragons scored a run on Marco Jimenez in the seventh, and their bullpen locked it down the rest of the way.

Stephenson: 3-5, 2 R, RBI, HR, K, SB

Gold: 3-5, 2 R, RBI, 2 K

Lee: 1-4, 2 RBI, 2B, BB, K

Miller (L, 0-2): 2.0 IP, 7 ER, 6 H, BB

Lakeland Flying Tigers 10, Bradenton Marauders 2 (box)

The Flying Tigers had a big day at the plate, but were only able to keep pace with the Clearwater Threshers, who won their sixth straight to keep their half game lead in the division.

Things didn’t start terribly well, as Cleiverth Perez led a bullpen day off by surrendering two runs in the second inning. The Flying Tigers squandered a single and two walks in the second inning. However, Jake Miller took over in the third and the lefty continue his run of dominance, and the rest of the bullpen took the baton and passed it on, blanking the Marauders the rest of the way.

Kevin McGonigle led off the third with a triple to the wall in center field. Max Clark struck out, but McGonigle scored on an Eduardo Valencia ground out. Jose De La Cruz followed with a double, and Patrick Lee singled him in to tie the game 2-2.

Things stayed that way for a few innings, but eventually it was the Marauders bullpen that cracked. Patrick Lee led off the sixth with a walk, stole second, took third on an error, and then scored on a wild pitch to give Lakeland a 3-2 lead.

In the seventh, David Smith led off with a walk and eventually scored on a Valencia single. A two-run McGonigle single made it 6-2 in the eighth. Clark and Valencia followed McGonigle with walks, and Jose De La Cruz came up with a two-run single of his own to make it 8-2. In the ninth, the Flying Tigers got a pair of walks to leadoff the inning. Clark singled in one run and Jose De La Cruz another to make it 10-2.

Jose De La Cruz: 5-6, R, 3 RBI, 2B

McGonigle: 2-6, 2 R, 2 RBI, 3B, K

Clark: 2-5, R, RBI, BB, K

Miller (W, 4-1): 3.0 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 0 BB, 5 K

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