Buffalo Bisons 9, Toledo Mud Hens 5 (box)
Over 8,000 fans were in attendance for Thursday's contest between the Mud Hens and the visiting Buffalo Bisons. Toledo looked to lefty Mike Belfiore (1-6, 7.36 ERA) to command the hill against Buffalo lefty Andrew Albers (2-5, 2.79 ERA) in an offensive see-saw battle. Buffalo took an early 3-0 lead in the third, thanks in part to a two-run shot off the bat of Brad Glenn. Toledo answered back, posting five runs over three innings. Jefry Marte led the Mud Hens at the plate with a pair of hits, a pair of RBI and a two-run long ball of his own in the fourth to score Jeff McVaney. Daniel Fields and Steven Moya each added a double to the cause. Belfiore worked six innings, allowing four earned runs off seven hits, including the long ball to Glenn. Buffalo ran away with a four-run offensive push at the top of the eighth off Toledo reliever Josh Zeid and secured the 9-5 victory over Toledo.
Marte: 2-4, HR, 2 R, 2 RBI
Wilson: 2-4, R
McVaney: 1-4, R, 2 SO
Fields: 1-4, R, 2B, BB, SO
Belfiore: 6.0 IP, 7 H, 4 ER, 3 BB, 4 SO
Zeid (L): 1.0 IP, 3 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, SO
COMING UP NEXT: Buffalo (22-19) returns to Toledo (16-24) for game two of the four-game series at Fifth Third Field. Toledo ace Buck Farmer (4-1, 3.25 ERA) is slated to face off against Buffalo lefthander Daniel Norris (1-1, 2.50 ERA) for their second pairing this season.
After dropping his previous two outings for Lakeland (19-21), righthander Tommy Collier (3-4, 2.09 ERA) came ready to preform against Bradenton righty Luis Heredia (0-0, 11.57 ERA) on Thursday evening. Despite striking out six, there was no slowing down the Bradenton (21-20) offense as they roughed up Collier for five runs off six hits scattered over four innings of work for the Flying Tigers. Lakeland struggled to ignite a spark at the plate, led by Javier Betancourt who posted two of the Flying Tigers' four total hits on the night. Jiwan James scored the only run off a single from Betancourt in the first. Bradenton was dominant at the plate, compiling 16 hits off Lakeland pitching, a number that the Flying Tigers would ultimately fall short in attempting to keep stride. Lakeland falls to 19-21 with the loss.
Betancourt: 2-3, RBI, BB
Rhymes: 1-2, 2B, BB, SO
Collier (L): 4.2 IP, 6 H, 5 R (2 ER), 6 SO
COMING UP NEXT: Lakeland will return Friday evening to play host in game two of the four-game home stand against Bradenton. Lakeland lefty Locke St. John (2-2, 3.38 ERA) will command the hill for the Flying Tigers against Bradenton left hander Cody Dickson (3-3, 3.55 ERA).
West Michigan Whitecaps: 6, Bowling Green Hot Rods: 3 (box)
Anyone who purchased a ticket to Thursday's game between West Michigan and Bowling Green received more than their expectation as the contest concluded as the longest game on record for this season for the Whitecaps. Spanning over four hours, West Michigan was treated to yet another sharp showing from starter Trent Szkutnik (3-0, 3.57 ERA) as he maneuvered six innings for the ‘Caps, holding the Hot Rods to one run off four hits and mowing down six. The West Michigan offense was slow to gain momentum as the power trio of Ross Kivett, Michael Gerber and Joey Pankake combined for three hits in 18 plate appearances.
The ‘Caps were held scoreless until the 12th when Kivett posted his first hit in the form of a signature double, extending his active hit streak to 13 games at West Michigan. Bowling Green's Jace Conrad went deep for the second night in a row off reliever Joe Jimenez to tie the game once again. The tug-of-war was strong-armed by West Michigan as outfielder Austin Schotts punched a two-run single stretching the Whitecaps' lead to 6-3. Bowling Green was unable to answer back and West Michigan was able to ride the bus home with a victory.
Shepherd: 2-4, 2B, HR, 3 R RBI, 2 BB, 2 SO
Zeile: 1-6, 2B, R, RBI, SO
Kivett: 2-6, 2B, R
Schotts: 1-6, 2 RBI, 2 SO
Szkutnik: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 6 SO
Jimenez (W): 2.0 IP, H, 1 ER, 4 SO
COMING UP NEXT: West Michigan (20-21) will be back at Fifth Third Ballpark on Friday evening to host the start of a four-game home stand against the third place Dayton Dragons (22-19).
Several familiar faces took the field to treat fans in Toledo on Thursday. Toronto Blue Jays' shortstop Jose Reyes and Detroit Tigers pitcher Bruce Rondon each made appearances in the first phase of their rehabilitation assignments. Reyes is covering from a cracked rib while Rondon is making his way back from a battle with bicipital tendonitis. Reyes had one hit off four at-bats for Buffalo. Rondon went less than an inning for Toledo, allowing one run (earned) off a pair of hits and striking out one. Rondon hit 99 miles per hour on the stadium radar gun and was consistently in the 96-98 mile-per-hour range, according to Jason Beck.
The Erie Seawolves had Thursday evening to relax and will return to work on Friday, hosting the visiting Trenton Thunder (20-20) in a four-game home stand at Jerry Uht Park.