Flying Tigers win but Clearwater takes the division title

Bless You Boys

St. Paul Saints 8, Toledo Mud Hens 5 (box)

Bryan Sammons had a rare brutal outing on Thursday night, and the offense couldn’t overcome it.

Things looked good for a while. Sammons gave up a solo shot in the bottom of the first, but Andrew Navigato answered with one of his own in the third. In the fourth, with two outs, Dillon Dingler smoked a hot ground ball down the right field line for a double. Ryan Vilade doubled him home, and Bligh Madris pulled a screamer over the right field wall for a two-run shot. 4-1 Hens and pretty good work against a quality pitching prospect in Twins’ RHP David Festa.

Unfortunately, that’s when Sammons fell apart late in his outing. He allowed a run in the fourth, and then Brooks Lee took him deep for a three-run shot in the fifth as the Saints scored four in the inning. Sammons was knocked out with another run against him in the sixth, and Andrew Magno allowed a solo shot in his inning of work.

Singles from Vilade and Madris started the top of the ninth with some promise, but a double play ball from Justice Bigbie spoiled things while scoring Vilade. Riley Unroe struck out to end it.

Jace Jung was scratched prior to the game, inspiring rumors of a call-up, but no news has emerged as of this writing. Spencer Torkelson went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts.

Madris: 2-4, R, 2 RBI, HR, K

Vilade: 2-4, 2 R, RBI, 2B

Sammons (L, 4-4): 5.1 IP, 7 ER, 8 H, 3 BB, 6 K

Erie SeaWolves 9, Somerset Patriots 7 (box)

Huge games from Hao-Yu Lee and Chris Meyers powered the SeaWolves to a much needed victory on Thursday night.

Manager Gabe Alvarez mixed left and right-handed pitchers Jake Higginbotham and Garrett Burhenn for a combined seven innings of two-run ball with eight strikeouts. Higginbotham, the lefty, went three innings and Burhenn four, each recording four strikeouts.

They were gifted a pretty nice lead as well, and they made it hold up. The game started, as has become traditional, with Carlos Mendoza reaching base and then stealing second. Hao-Yu Lee singled him to third and then stole second base as well. Left-fielder Chris Meyers stepped to the dish and blasted a three-run shot to right field for a quick 3-0 lead.

Higginbotham gave back a run in the second inning, but the SeaWolves then held the lead through a few scoreless frames until they struck again in the fifth.

It again starting with Mendoza, this time leading off by reaching on an error instead of drawing a walk. He also didn’t have to steal second base, because he was promptly wild pitched to second base. Hao-Yu Lee then absolutely crushed a ball to left center field for a 400 foot two-run homer, his 11th on the season. Two batters later, Meyers came to the plate again and went yard for the second time in the contest. 6-1 SeaWolves.

In the top of the sixth, it was Gage Workman who led off with a walk and then stole second. He was wild pitched to third, and Brady Allen singled him home. Allen was caught stealing second, but Mendoza came up and was hit by a pitch. And yes, yes he did quickly steal second base again. I rarely see him hit the ball really hard but every time you look up Mendoza is on base somehow and looking to run. Jake Holton launched a two-run shot, and it was 9-1.

The game seemed very well in hand even when Burhenn allowed a run in the bottom of the seventh. Then RJ Petit gave up three runs in the eighth. Tim Naughton gave up two in the bottom of the ninth to make it 9-7, but PJ Poulin came on to strike out the final batter and pick up his fourth save.

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

Mendoza: 0-2, 3 R, BB, HBP, 2 SB

Meyers: 2-4, 2 R, 4 RBI, 2 HR

Burhenn (W, 2-1): 4.0 IP, 6 H, BB, 4 K

Dayton Dragons 7, West Michigan Whitecaps 1 (box)

It was a rough night for the Whitecaps offense as a few Dayton outbursts were enough to win easily in this one.

Carlos Marcano got the start, and he was pretty effective. The right-hander went six innings, allowing three runs, one earned, and without allowing a walk. He punched out five along the way.

The Whitecaps got on the board in the bottom of the second. Roberto Campos reached on a swinging bunt and Luis Santana followed with an infield single. A wild pitch advanced them both into scoring position and a Danny Serretti sac fly plated Campos for their only run of the game. Offense continues to be hard to come by for this group. Perhaps reinforcements from Lakeland aren’t too far away now that the first half has ended for the Lakeland Flying Tigers.

The Whitecaps only had six hits and no walks in this one. A double from Jim Jarvis was their only extra base hit. Gabriel Sequiera blew up in the seventh, allowing four runs to steal the deal.

Jarvis: 1-4, 2B

Marcano (L, 1-6): 6.0 IP, 3 R, ER, 5 H, 0 BB, 5 K

Lakeland Flying Tigers 4, Bradenton Marauders 2 (box)

The Flying Tigers did what they needed to do on the last day of the first half. Instead of the offense, it was outstanding pitching, particularly from Joe Adametz, that carried the day.

Unfortunately, the Clearwater Threshers won their seventh straight as they roared back from the Flying Tigers brief capture of first place to take the first half divisional title. Three days of rain outs, and a walkoff grand slam against them on Saturday made this a tough final week for the Tigers High-A affiliate. Now attention will turn to whether the Tigers will begin promoting some of their top performers like McGonigle and Clark. Still, they have three more games to play in Bradenton, because this scheduling is weird.

Adametz spun five innings of two-hit ball, allowing just an unearned run while punching out seven.

Lakeland’s offense struggled early on as well, and the Marauders led 1-0 after scoring on Adametz in the fifth. But in the top of the sixth, Kevin McGonigle led off with a double. Max Clark flew out and Eduardo Valencia walked. A Jose De La Cruz single plated McGonigle, and a Patrick Lee single got Valencia to third. Samuel Gil brought him home with a sacrifice fly. 2-1 Flying Tigers.

In the eighth, Valencia doubled and Jose De La Cruz again singled in the run. Cam Brown allowed a run in the bottom half of the inning, and so it was 3-2 Lakeland in the ninth. Samuel Gil led off the top of the inning with a single, and two walks followed with one out. Gil was cut down trying to score on a McGonigle ground ball, but a passed ball allowed a run anyway. Eiker Huizi collected his fourth save without issue.

Jose De La Cruz: 3-4, 2 RBI

Valencia: 1-3, 2 R, 2B, BB

Adametz (W, 4-0): 5.0 IP, R, 0 ER, 2 H, 2 BB, 7 K

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