Omaha had their game in Round Rock suspended by rain in the 3rd inning with the game tied at 1-1 (it also started in a delay). The game will be completed on June 1st. The two teams finish up their series on Friday night.
The Storm Chasers had just tied up the game on Jimmy Paredes‘ RBI double.
With the game tied at 1-1, the Cardinals scored four runs in the fourth off Naturals starter Tim Melville. Three runs scored on a home run. Melville allowed five runs (three earned) on six hits and four walks over four innings.
The Cardinals did not stop there. They scored five runs off Noel Arguelles (though only two were earned) on three hits and a walk. Matt Murray allowed an inherited run to score in the sixth and allowed his own run in the eighth (2.2IP, 4H, 2BB, 2K).
On offense, the Naturals collected nine singles. Whit Merrifield, Mark Threlkeld, and Ethan Chapman (who did not start) all had two hits. Threlkeld drove in both runs with two outs (in the first and sixth).
Wilmington lost their series opener at home to divisional rival Lynchburg, 9-2. The Hillcats broke the game open with a seven-spot in the eighth. It was the worst game I have seen the Blue Rocks play all season. They came out flat, which manager Darryl Kennedy mentioned it maybe having to do with getting back from their road trip at around 4:30am.
Blue Rocks starter Jonathan Dziedzic during an April 2014 start (Jen Nevius).
The score does not dictate how well starter Jonathan Dziedzic pitched. He allowed two total runs over six innings of work. He allowed just two hits and struck out two. Only one of the runs was earned, though he could have come away with zero earned runs allowed.
“He pitched a really good ballgame,” DK said. “I thought he was sharp, as sharp as I’ve seen him in a while. He had everything working tonight, spotted down. But again, he has to take the tough loss.”
In the first, the Hillcats scored after a two out triple (which was misplayed a bit in right field). Kevin Ahrens hit a ground ball to Hunter Dozier at third base and Dozier made a high throw to first. It was a close play either way and it was ruled a hit rather than an error.
In the sixth, the Hillcats scored another. Jose Peraza (the Carolina League’s third best hitter now at .333) hit a line shot at Raul Mondesi, who just flat out missed it (if he had not at least got a glove on it, it might have hit him in the head). Peraza would come around to score on Mark Donato‘s errant throw to third base after a ground out.
Then things got ugly in the 8th inning, right after the Blue Rocks cut the deficit to one run on Johermyn Chavez‘ solo home run.
Aroni Nina was on the hill for his second inning of work. As good as Nina was in the seventh, he was terrible in the eighth. The Hillcats loaded the bases on a hit batter, a single, and a walk. A passed ball scored the first run, which then led to an intentional walk. A wild pitch brought in another run and then Nina walked another to reload the bases.
That was it for Nina and in came Zeb Sneed. Inherited runners have been a problem all season for the Blue Rocks (60% score) and Sneed allowed all three to score on a bases clearing triple from the first batter he faced (Tyler Tewell). Sneed then hit a batter before a sac fly brought in another run. Peraza’s two out RBI single scored the final run of the inning.
All-in-all, the Hillcats sent 11 men to the plate, scored seven runs, collected four hits, got hit twice, and worked three walks (though one was intentional after going 3-1 and a wild pitch). “The eighth inning just killed us,” DK said after the game.
The Blue Rocks offense had chances early against Hillcats starter Lay Batista, who was making just his second Carolina League start. In the bottom of the third, they loaded the bases with nobody out for the top of the order Batista proceeded to strike out Raul Mondesi, Bubba Starling (for the second time), and Hunter Dozier (for the second time).
The Blue Rocks once again loaded the bases in the bottom of the ninth, but scored just one run on Donato’s ground out. They struck out a total of nine times, four times with a runner on third base.
*Former Blue Rock Carlos Mendez is the Hillcats hitting coach so it was nice to see him back in town.
The Legends took a quick 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first on Michael Antonio‘s two-run home run (his fourth of the season). Antonio went 3-for-3.
With the game tied at 3-3 in the sixth, Elier Hernandez hit a solo homer (his third of the year). He had two hits and drove in a run in the third on a sac fly. They added some insurance in the seventh on Antonio’s two out RBI single.
Jake Junis earned his third win of the season, as he went eight strong innings. He is the first Royals minor leaguer to complete eight innings this season. Junis allowed three runs (two earned) on six hits and one walk while striking out five. He retired the final 11 batters he faced. Jose Miguel Rodriguez threw a perfect ninth to pick up his third save of the season.