Instead of playing a game on Monday in Fresno, Omaha played two on Saturday night. The Storm Chasers took the first game by a 3-2 score.
Clayton Mortensen allowed his first runs of the season in the bottom of the fifth, though one was unearned. Overall, he allowed the two runs on six hits over six innings. He struck out three and his ERA rose to 0.41. Louis Coleman earned his second save with a hitless seventh. He walked one and struck out three.
The Storm Chasers also took the second game. They won 5-0.
It was all about the pitching of starter Ryan Verdugo. He allowed just two hits before running into trouble in the seventh. After opening the inning with two strikeouts, he allowed two hits and was pulled in favor of Wilking Rodriguez. Rodriguez got a fly out to end the game.
Verdugo struck out nine and did not walk a batter. He improved to 4-1 on the season.
The Omaha offense also gave Verdugo some room to breathe, scoring five runs across the second and third innings. In the second, Christian Colon singled in two runs with two outs. In the third, Justin Maxwell homered, Matt Fields drove in one run with a single, and the final run scored on a wild pitch.
Max Ramirez provided all of the Naturals offense on two swings of the bat: a solo home run in the second and a three-run shot in the third. The 3rd inning homer came with two outs. Jorge Bonifacio and Ethan Chapman also had two hits in the loss. Chapman has seen his average climb to a respectable .264 with more regular playing time.
The loss negated the solid start by Jason Adam, who allowed three solo home runs over 7.1 innings. He struck out eight and did not walk a batter in his best (and longest) start of the season.
Ali Williams entered in the 8th inning with a runner on base and left him stranded. Andrew Triggs blew his first save of the season when he allowed a solo homer with two outs in the ninth. He then took his first loss of the season when he allowed the run in the tenth. It started with a hit batter and then a sac bunt before a single to left won the game for the Cardinals.
Shortstop Orlando Calixte committed his tenth error of the year and was taken out on defense in the bottom of the sixth. No word on why.
The Naturals are now returning home to Springdale for an eight-game homestand heading into the All-Star break.
Wilmington came back to beat Carolina, 6-1. One night after the Mudcats bullpen coughed up the lead, but did not lose it, they completely blew Saturday night’s game.
After being held to just one hit and two walks through the first six innings, the Blue Rocks offense came to life once the Mudcats pulled starter Shawn Morimonado.
Michael Antonio got the rally started with a one out single and came around to score on Cody Stubbs‘ double. Stubbs came around to score on Zane Evans‘ single to give the Blue Rocks the 2-1 lead. Evans then stole second base and scored with two outs on Kenny Diekroeger‘s single. That brought another pitching change, but the Blue Rocks scored another run on Terrance Gore‘s single (he then stole his 21st base of the season).
The Blue Rocks bullpen held down Carolina after Sean Manaea only pitched three innings due to poor command (65 pitches, just 33 strikes). Though he only allowed one hit, he walked four and struck out four. Zeb Sneed followed with two scoreless innings of relief. Aroni Nina allowed a run over 2.1 innings, but it could have been worse.
Nina walked five and left in the 8th inning with two on base and one out. Mark Peterson, who has struggled over the last few weeks, stranded both. He then threw a perfect ninth for his 12th save of the season, which still leads the Carolina League.
*All-Star catcher Cam Gallagher left after the first inning when his throwing arm hit the batter on a strike em out, throw em out double play. Manager Darryl Kennedy believed he was more scared than anything, but it’s doubtful he will play in Sunday’s first half finale. Not sure on his availability for the All-Star Game yet.
In the first, the RiverDogs scored twice and the Legends scored their lone run in the bottom of the inning. Ramon Torres doubled with one out and came around to score on an Elier Hernandez single with two outs.
The Legends had their chances, like a runner on third base and one out in the eighth, but two back-to-back strikeouts ended the possible rally.
Jake Junis was the hard luck loser, as he allowed all three runs on five hits and three walks over seven innings. He struck out seven. Junis had retired nine in a row before a one out walk in the sixth. He did not allow a hit after the 3rd inning. Andrew Edwards worked two scoreless innings of relief.