Even with a 10-13 record, Gwinnett starter Manny Banuelos (2-0 3.42 ERA) set out to prove that you can't judge a book by its cover. Coming into Saturday evening, Toledo and Gwinnett had each posted a win through half of a four-game road series at Coolray Field. Toledo looked to lefty Kyle Ryan (0-3 5.20 ERA) to toe the rubber against Banuelos and the Braves. Ryan was successful in holding off Gwinnett through four innings before the Braves struck in the bottom of the fifth courtesy of an RBI single by Braeden Schlehuber.
Ryan worked through five innings, allowing five earned runs on seven hits while walking two and striking out a pair of Braves. Ryan was replaced by reliever Melvin Mercedes in the sixth inning. Gwinnett went on to score another four runs in the sixth and Toledo was unable to answer with an offensive push of their own.
Dixon Machado and Xavier Avery would combine for Toledo's only offense with three hits on the night. The Mud Hens would finish 3 for 27 at the plate, walking five times and recording six strikeouts overall. Toledo falls to 1-2 against the Braves, falling to 10-12 on the year with the loss.
Machado: 1-3, BB
Hessman: 0-3, BB, SO
Moya: 0-4, SO
Ryan (L): 5.1 IP, 7 H, 5 ER, 2 BB, 2 SO
COMING UP NEXT: Toledo will send right hander, Tim Melville to close out the four-game series against Gwinnett Right-hander Williams Perez (2-0, 1.57 ERA) Sunday afternoon at Coolray Field. Following an off-day on Monday, Toledo will begin a six-game home stand back at Fifth Third Field.
Altoona Curve 5, Erie Seawolves 3 (box)
It's been a stretch of road that no team enjoys traveling, but finding an exit ramp for the Erie Seawolves has been easier said than done. The Curve have successfully held the Wolves winless in their previous four encounters and looked to righty Angel Sanchez (2-0 1.00 ERA) to notch a fifth win.
Sanchez went toe-to-toe with Erie righthander Warwick Saupold (0-1 8.53 ERA) and Erie set the tone early off quick aggressive play by outfielder, Wynton Bernard. Bernard added his seventh stolen base following a walk and scored a quick run off a single by Corey Jones at the top of the first inning.
Erie struck the go-ahead blow in the fourth inning, scoring Brendan Harris off a throwing error by Altoona's Angel Sanchez, lifting Erie over Altoona 3-2. The celebration was short-lived as Josh Bell came to the plate with runners on second and third and placed the final nail in the coffin with a three-run drive handing the Wolves their 11th consecutive loss this year. Erie falls to 6-15.
Bernard: 1-4, R, 2B, BB, SO
Jones: 1-3, R, RBI, BB
Harris: 1-1, R, RBI, 3 BB
De La Rosa (L): 0.1 IP, 1 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, HR
COMING UP NEXT: Erie will return Sunday afternoon for the finale of the three-game series, placing lefthander Josh Turley (2-1 2.12 ERA) on the hill to face Altoona righty Jason Creasy (2-0 2.14 ERA). Erie will begin a four-game road series against Trenton beginning on Monday.
Tampa Yankees 7, Lakeland Flying Tigers 4 (box)
Coming into Saturday, Tampa and Lakeland had started the season with an even split of the six encounters they have had so far. Lakeland looked to lefthander Kevin Ziomek (2-3 4.88 ERA) to lead the charge in gaining the upper hand against second place Tampa.
Lakeland struck first offensively in the first inning after watching Jiwan James reach safely after striking out, due to a passed ball that got by Tampa catcher Wes Wilson. James would go on to score Lakeland's first run of the night off a single by Ben Verlander.
Ziomek maneuvered five innings for Lakeland, holding Tampa scoreless until a big fifth inning from both dugouts with both Tampa and Lakeland tacking on three runs apiece. Ismael Salgado was the man of the hour for Lakeland with two hits on the night, both doubles, as well as a run scored. Verlander recorded two hits of his own, including adding an RBI to his resume.
Ziomek would finish in the sixth, being replaced by reliever Montreal Robertson (1-3 5.27 ERA). Robertson would allow one hit through two innings while striking out four, but the damage done by Tampa with four runs in the sixth would close the door on Lakeland, bringing their record against the Yankees to 3-4.
Salgado: 2-3, 2 2B, R, BB
Verlander: 2-3, RBI, BB
James: 1-5, R, RBI, SO
Borchering: 0-4, 3 SO
Ziomek (L): 5.1 IP, 6 H, 7 R, 3 BB, 7 SO
COMING UP NEXT: Lakeland will conclude their series on Sunday afternoon with Tampa before heading home to host Daytona with a three-game match up.
West Michigan Whitecaps 9, Lake County Captains 7 (box)
Fans got a taste of everything on Saturday afternoon in Comstock Park as they looked on for game two of the three-game series between West Michigan and Lake County.
West Michigan came into Saturday's campaign against Lake County ready to bounce back from a loss the previous night and looked to left hander Trent Szkutnik (2-0 3.63 ERA) to seal the deal. The offense of Lake County struck hard with two quick runs in the second inning against Szkutnik. Following their third run in the third inning off a solo shot from Lake County's Yu-Cheng Chang, West Michigan came to life, scoring five runs at the bottom of the third. Michael Gerber stretched his hit streak to eight consecutive games, delivering a three-run bomb to score Derek Hill and Ross Kivett.
Following the argument of Gerber's drive bouncing off the wall and back into play, a review kept the home run call in West Michigan's favor. Lake County was not shy in making their feelings known on the subject and manager, Shaun Larkin was ejected for his persistence. Larkin's ejection would be the first of two for Lake County after Greg Allen became vocal in the middle of the seventh after he was called out attempting to steal second base.
Gerber's drive led the way to enough offense to hold off a late two-run rally in the seventh by Lake County. West Michigan brought in closer Johan Belisario in the eighth who finalized the victory after allowing one hit and striking out three to give West Michigan the victory. It was Belisario's third save on the year for the Whitecaps.
Szkutnik was awarded the victory working five innings, allowing three earned runs on 11 hits, including a home run, while striking out two. West Michigan moves into a tie with Lake County for fifth place in the Eastern Division.
Gerber: 2-4, HR, R, 3 RBI, SO
Kivett: 2-4, R, 2 RBI
Hill: 1-3, 2B, 3 R, 2 BB
Szkutnik (W): 5.1 IP, 11 H, 5 R, BB, 2 SO
COMING UP NEXT: West Michigan will conclude their series with Lake County Sunday afternoon, with the battle for a climb in the Midwest League Eastern Division on the line. The Whitecaps begin a six-day travel schedule before returning back to Comstock Park on May 11.