Max Clark slams Flying Tigers to series victory

Bless You Boys

Toledo Mud Hens 5, Columbus Clippers 3 (box)(Thur)

Columbus Clippers 4, Toledo Mud Hens 3 (box)(Fri)

Toledo Mud Hens 6, Columbus Clippers 5 (box)(F/11)(Sat)

After losing two of three at home, the Mud Hens came back to take two of three in Columbus.

On the Fourth of July, Ty Madden gave the Hens a decent outing, but it took until the ninth inning for the offense to come alive. The right-hander still had some bouts of control trouble, walking four, but he struck out six and allowed three runs over six innings of work.

The Hens scored first, giving Madden a one-run lead in the first when Parker Meadows started the game with a walk, stole second base, and scored on a Dillon Dingler single. Otherwise, neither club could push across any runs. Madden had the Clippers locked down through five innings, but stumbled to a three-run sixth on a walk, single, three-run home run combo that spoiled his outing to a degree.

Meadows doubled with one out in the seventh and Justice Bigbie followed with a walk. It looked like they were in business down 3-1, but Spencer Torkelson’s 106 missile to center field was caught by Estevan Floriel, and Dingler flew out.

Finally, with Mason Hickman on the mound for Columbus, Alvaro Gonzalez drilled an opposite field double to get the Hens started. Meadows singled to left field as well, and Bigbie was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Torkelson took a breaking ball at the very top of the zone for strike three in a 3-2 count. Bligh Madris pinch-hit for Dingler and he struck out. Ryan Vilade then stepped to the dish and crushed a grand slam to dead center field. It was beautiful, coming off the bat at 108.4 mph and traveling 426 feet.

Look at this thing.

Devin Sweet dealt a 1-2-3 ninth to the stunned Clippers, and that was that.

Vilade: 2-5, R, 4 RBI, HR, K

Meadows: 2-4, 2 R, 2B, BB, SB

Madden: 6.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 H, 4 BB, 6 K, HR

On Friday night, the Hens had another tough opponent in RHP Triston McKenzie as he works his way back to the Guardians. Lael Lockhart Jr. had his own plans and outdueled McKenzie before the Hens bullpen let a lead slip away late.

Lockhart tossed five scoreless innings with eight strikeouts on the night. The Hens offense was pretty quiet too, until the fourth inning when Dillon Dingler broke a 0-0 tie with his 11th home run of the season. Like Vilade’s slam, it was an absolute moonshot that traveled 437 feet.

In the fifth, Stephen Scott led off with a double and took third on a McKenzie wild pitch. Justice Bigbie lifted a sacrifice fly to make it 2-0. In the sixth, McKenzie left a curve up a bit and Javier Báez launched it to left for a solo shot to lead off the inning.

Columbus came back with Lockhart out of the game. Miguel Diaz allowed a run in the seventh, and Andrew Magno two in the eighth. The Hens couldn’t answer back and the Clippers eventually walked it off against Sean Guenther.

Baez: 1-3, R, RBI, HR, K

Lockhart: 5.0 IP, 0 R, 3 H, 2 BB, 8 K

Saturday’s victory turned into an 11 inning odyssey after the Hens took an early lead and looked like they had it in hand.

The game began with Akil Baddoo ripping a double to left. Javy Báez grounded out to move Baddoo to third, and a Spencer Torkelson single to left scored him. A passed ball advanced Torkelson and he scored on a Dillon Dingler double to make it 2-0. The rally continued but was snuffed when Dingler was cut down at home on a Bigbie ground ball.

In the second, Báez doubled with two outs, and Torkelson doubled him home to make it 3-0. Dingler singled Torkelson to third but Bligh Madris popped out to end the inning.

Meanwhile, Brant Hurter spun a pair of scoreless innings until running into a little trouble in the third and fourth innings. Finally, Hurter allowed the tying run before departing in the sixth inning.

Both teams scored two runs in the 10th inning, but in the 11th Torkelson walked and Dingler and Madris were hit by pitches to force in a run. Michael Bienlien came on in the bottom half and did a nice job putting this one away.

Baez: 2-4, R, 2B

Torkelson: 2-5, R, 2 RBI, 2B, BB

Dingler: 2-5, RBI, 2B, 2 K

Hurter: 5.1 IP, 3 ER, 7 H, BB, 0 K, HR

Coming Up Next: The Hens head to Omaha to play the Storm Chasers in the final series before the All-Star break.

Akron RubberDucks 6, Erie SeaWolves 1 (Fri)(box)

Akron RubberDucks 6, Erie SeaWolves 1 (Sat)(box)

Akron RubberDucks 8, Erie SeaWolves 2 (Sun)(box)

After getting swept in Akron, the SeaWolves managed to take two of three at home to salvage something from the series.

On Thursday, they piled up some runs early and the pitching staff did the rest.

Jake Holton opened the second inning with a double. A Ben Malgeri walk and a Gage Workman doubled made it 2-0. Brady Allen later singled in Workman to make it 3-0. In the third, Hao-Yu Lee singled and Jake Holton mashed a two-run homer.

So it was 5-0 Erie pretty early on, and Carlos Pena ran with the lead, spinning six innings of one run ball. Carlos Mendoza led off the seventh with a walk and eventually scored on a Holton single to make it 6-1.

Holton: 3-3, 2 R, 3 RBI, 2B, HR, BB

Workman: 2-3, RBI, 2B, 2 BB, K, SB

Pena (W, 4-3): 6.0 IP, ER, 3 H, BB, 4 K

On Friday night, UPMC Park was packed in Erie for the return of their ace, Jackson Jobe.

The right-hander leaned into his cutter again in this one, hitting 99 mph with the fastball and showing off plenty of lethal sliders and split-changeups. His no-hit streak for Erie ended at 38 hitters when he gave up a single in the second inning. A pair of grounders that got through the infield and a sac fly scored a run against him in the fourth. He walked one and struck out eight.

The SeaWolves took a while to get started offensively, but down 1-0 in the fifth they rallied to tie the game on singles from Eliezer Alfonzo, Brady Allen, and Carlos Mendoza. They then seized control in the sixth.

Hao-Yu Lee led off with a single and Trei Cruz walked. A red hot Jake Holton then blasted a three-run shot to left. Chris Meyers walked, and singles from Malgeri and Workman made it 5-1 Erie.

And then in the bottom of the seventh, Lee doubled on a hard ground ball the opposite way. Lee took third on a wild pitch and his aggressive secondary leads there drew a wild throw for Akron’s catcher. Lee scored and it was 6-1.

Garrett Hill and PJ Poulin each tossed two innings of scoreless relief.

Holton: 2-4, R, 3 RBI, HR

Lee: 2-4, 2 R, 2B, K

Jobe: 5.0 IP, ER, 3 H, BB, 8 K

Saturday’s game got out of hand for Erie pretty early. Wilkel Hernandez was knocked around for three innings, and Trevin Michael blew up for five runs in relief. The duo allowed five home runs total. It was a pretty uneventful game for the SeaWolves offense as they managed just six hits.

Workman: 2-4, R, RBI, HR

Lee: 1-4

Hernandez (L, 4-4): 3.0 IP, 3 ER, 6 H, BB, K

Coming Up Next: The Seawolves welcome the Somerset Patriots in for six starting on Tuesday night.

Great Lakes Loons 4, West Michigan Whitecaps 2 (Thur)(box)

West Michigan Whitecaps 2, Great Lakes Loons 0 (Sat)(Gm1)(F/8(box)

West Michigan Whitecaps 5, Great Lakes Loons 3 (Sat)(Gm2)(F/7)(box)

The Caps managed to take the doubleheader on Saturday to split the six-game home and away series with the Loons.

On Thursday, Colin Fields pitched well but the offense couldn’t get much going. Jim Jarvis cracked a solo shot in the first for an early lead, but Fields allowed two runs in five innings of work and struck out seven.

The Whitecaps briefly tied the game in the sixth when Jarvis walked and advanced on an errant pickoff throw. Seth Stephenson doubled him in to make it 2-2. The bullpen wasn’t bad but they allowed two runs and the ‘Caps lineup couldn’t make a comeback.

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

Stephenson: 1-4, RBI, 2B, SB

Fields: 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 2 H, 3 BB, 7 K

Game 1 of Saturday’s doubleheader was a speedy, quiet affair with only four hits per team. Max Alba returned to the Whitecaps from the injured list and worked as an opener in this one. Lefty Joe Miller then took over for four. Yosber Sanchez threw two strong innings as well. That made eight scoreless innings, but the ‘Caps hadn’t scored either.

Finally in the eighth inning with Luis Santana starting on second, Patrick Lee singled and a Danny Serretti sacrifice fly scored Santana as the game’s first run. Lee took second on that play and then stole third. He scored on a passed ball to make it 2-0.

Marco Jimenez locked down the bottom half of the inning for the save.

Miller: 4.0 IP, 0 R, H, 4 BB, 5 K

In Game 2, Carlos Marcano allowed a couple of early runs, but the Whitecaps fought back and pulled away in the sixth inning.

The Loons scored two in the third, but in the top of the fourth the Whitecaps tied things up. Seth Stephenson led off with a walk and then stole second base. Luis Santana walked and both advanced on a passed ball. With two outs, Patrick Lee, who has shown really impressive power, speed, and arm strength already in his brief Tigers tenure, smoked a double to the wall in center field to score them both.

Marcano allowed another run in the bottom half as the Loons reclaimed the lead. The ‘Caps finally seized control in the sixth. Stephenson led off with a walk but was forced at second on a Max Anderson ground ball. Luis Santana singled, and Luke Gold followed with another single to score Anderson. Patrick Lee again stepped up and hammered a double the opposite way to score Santana and Gold. 5-3 Whitecaps and the bullpen did the rest.

Patrick Lee: 2-3, 4 RBI, 2 2B, K, SB

Santana: 1-2, 2 R, BB

Marcano (W, 2-8): 5.0 IP, 3 R, ER, 6 H, BB, 3 K

Coming Up Next: The Whitecaps head to Wisconsin for six with the Timber Rattlers next week.

Lakeland Flying Tigers 1, Tampa Tarpons 0 (Thur)(box)

Tampa Tarpons 2, Lakeland Flying Tigers 1 (Fri)(Gm1)(F/7)(box)

Tampa Tarpons 7, Lakeland Flying Tigers 6 (Fri)(Gm2)(F/7)(box)

Lakeland Flying Tigers 9, Tampa Tarpons 2 (Sat)(box)

The Flying Tigers took this series four games to two despite getting swept in Friday’s doubleheader.

They made it three straight on Thursday evening with a 1-0 victory. The game was delayed by rain, but in the bottom of the first the Flying Tigers struck early with the only run in the game.

Kevin McGonigle opened things with a walk. He was cut down trying to take third on a very well placed bunt toward third from Max Clark. Shortstop George Lombard Jr. made a heads up play getting to third and applying a good tag to get McGonigle. However, Clark stole second base with two outs, and scored on a Jose De La Cruz single.

The pitching staff did the rest.

Gabriel Reyes tossed two scoreless and then lefty Jake Miller took over. Miller has a good breaking ball and a lot of deception in his delivery. He’s starting to attract our notice and he did nothing to dissuade growing enthusiasm, firing four scoreless innings here to lower his ERA to 1.25 on the year. Eiker Huizi blanked the Tarpons for two innings to earn his sixth save.

Clark: 2-4, R, SB

Jose De La Cruz: 1-3, RBI, BB, 2 K

Miller (W, 6-1): 5.0 IP, 0 R, 4 H, BB, 3 K

In Friday’s Game 1, the offense just couldn’t get anything accomplished. They managed just two hits on the day.

Hayden Minton got the start and he was decent. The right-hander gave up two in the second inning, but went four innings with five strikeouts. Cam Brown and Cole Patten were good in relief in this seven inning contest.

The Flying Tigers missed on good scoring opportunities in the first and the fourth. Finally in the bottom of the sixth, Jace Jung led off with a walk and stole second as Brett Callahan struck out. Lombard Jr. couldn’t handle the throw and Jung reached third, scoring on a Jose De La Cruz single. The Flying Tigers then went in order in the bottom of the seventh to lose.

Jose De La Cruz: 1-2, RBI, BB

Clark: 1-3, K

Minton (L, 2-3): 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, BB, 5 K

The Flying Tigers found their hitting shoes in Game 2, but right-hander Zack Lee finally gave up some runs and had a tough game. The Flygers stormed back to take a late lead only to lose it in the bottom half of the sixth.

Lee allowed four runs in four innings of work, running his ERA up to 2.27 on the year. Just didn’t have it in this one as the Tarpons knocked him around for eight hits, though Lee did not allow a walk and struck out four.

Kevin McGonigle tied the game 2-2 in the second inning when he singled in Clayton Campbell and Samuel Gil. Unfortunately a potentially big rally stalled there.

In the third, Brett Callahan tripled and scored on an Eduardo Valencia ground ball, and that made it 3-2, but Lee allowed two runs in the fourth to lose it. In the fifth, Callahan led off with a single, stole second base, and took third on an errant throw. Valencia scored him again with a ground ball to make it 4-4.

Thomas Bruss then gave the lead back by allowing a run in the bottom of the fifth.

The offense came back again in the sixth. Daneurys De La Cruz and Cristian Santana singled with one out, and then a McGonigle single loaded the bases. David Smith walked to force in a run, and a sacrifice fly by Callahan made it 6-5 Lakeland.

Yet again, the pitching staff couldn’t hold the lead as Conner Holden allowed two in the bottom of the sixth, and the Flying Tigers ran out of gas in the seventh.

McGonigle: 2-3, 2 RBI, BB

Callahan: 2-3, 2 R, RBI, 3B, SB

Campbell: 2-4, R, K

Lee: 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 8 H, 0 BB, 4 K

The series was on the line on Saturday, and Max Clark and the offense brought out the heavy lumber to win it.

With two outs in the first inning, Jace Jung went yard, launching a moonshot to right field to make it 1-0 Lakeland. Jose De La Cruz followed with a walk, and Callahan singled, with De La Cruz taking third on an error and then scoring on a wild pitch. 2-0 Lakeland.

In the bottom of the second, after Andrew Sears spun two scoreless innings, Clayton Campbell reached with one out on an error. David Smith and Kevin McGonigle followed with singles to load the bases, and Max Clark crushed a changeup on the inner edge for a grand slam. 6-0 Lakeland.

Sears gave up a run in the third, but otherwise locked it down to go five innings with just the one run allowed. Quinn Gudaitis spun a clean sixth, and in the bottom half the offense came through again.

David Smith walked with one out and then stole second base. McGonigle walked as well as Smith stole third. Clark then doubled in Smith while a sacrifice fly from Jung plated McGonigle. 8-1 Lakeland.

Campbell singled in Valencia in the seventh. Eli Villalobos allowed a run but Carlos Lequerica tossed a perfect ninth to end it.

Huge game for Max Clark.

Clark: 2-4, R, 5 RBI, 2B, HR, BB

McGonigle: 1-4, 2 R, BB, K

Sears (W, 3-3): 5.0 IP, ER, 4 H, 2 BB, 4 K

Coming Up Next: The Flying Tigers travel to St. Lucie to take on the Mets this week in the final series before the All-Star break.

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Jobe dominates, while Max Clark and Kevin McGonigle homer in their final game for Lakeland

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