New Britain Rock Cats 9, Erie SeaWolves 4 (box)
After dropping a pair to Reading, Erie (40-60) looked to Tommy Collier (3-1, 3.23 ERA) to face the Rock Cats (60-42) on the road. New Britain made it clear that Collier would have to work for it, tagging him for eight earned runs off 11 hits through five innings of work. The SeaWolves were alive at the plate themselves, driving 10 hits, including solo homers from Wade Gaynor and the usual suspect, Dean Green, who drove in his 13th of the season. The Rock Cats and SeaWolves combined for 24 hits for the night, though the early push from New Britain won out, handing Collier and the SeaWolves their third consecutive loss.
Krizan: 2-5, R, 2B
Green, D: 3-4, R, HR, 3 RBI, SO
Castro: 1-4, R, 2B, 2 SO
Gaynor: 1-4, R, HR, RBI, 2 SO
Collier (L): 5.0 IP, 11 H, 8 ER, BB, 4 SO
COMING UP NEXT: The SeaWolves are back in action against New Britain on Friday evening for game two of their four-game series.
Charlotte Stone Crabs 5, Lakeland Flying Tigers 4 (F/19) (box)
If you’ve followed the Flying Tigers (40-61) at all this season, you’re well aware of the newly discovered tradition of playing beyond standard nine-inning regulation games – far beyond. Thursday evening followed the same footsteps as Lakeland faced off against the Charlotte Stone Crabs (61-42). Endrys Briceno (0-1, 2.25 ERA) took the hill for Lakeland to kick off the action, working five strong innings to hold the Stone Crabs scoreless off four hits and striking out four in his campaign. Javier Betancourt and Jiwan James combined for seven of the Flying Tigers’ 14 hits, including a solo shot from Betancourt in the 19th inning to bring Lakeland within one of the Stone Crabs.
The evening unfolded into the third five-plus hour event for the Flying Tigers this month, cycling through a combined 15 pitchers between the two clubs and ending the night with Lakeland DH Tyler Hanover (0-1, 18.00 ERA) and Charlotte first baseman Pat Blair (1-0, 4.50 ERA) on the hill. Former Tigers prospect Willy Adames proved to be the thorn in Lakeland’s side, driving an RBI single in the 19th that would give Charlotte the edge to pull out the victory. In an odd twist, Hanover, in his first professional pitching appearance would shoulder the loss for the Flying Tigers.
Betancourt: 4-8, R, HR, 2 RBI SO
James: 3-8, R
Powell: 2-7, R, 3B, SO
Briceno: 5.0 IP, 4 H, 1 BB, 4 SO
Hanover (L): 1.0 IP, 3 H, 2 ER
COMING UP NEXT: The Flying Tigers will be at it again on Friday for game two of their four-game series against the Stone Crabs at Joker Marchant Stadium.
West Michigan Whitecaps 3, Bowling Green Hot Rods 2 (F/11) (box)
It took two days, a bit of lightning, 11 innings, and a combined 23 hits in 85 at-bats for West Michigan (52-49) and Bowling Green (54-49) to find an ending, but what is minor league baseball without a little excitement? After weather pushed the action into Thursday, Gage Smith (4-1, 1.91 ERA) picked up where Artie Lewicki (1-3, 4.06 ERA) left off on the hill for West Michigan. Lewicki and Smith combined for six scoreless innings, holding the Hot Rods to four hits and striking out four. West Michigan was locked in at the plate, tallying 12 hits overall, including doubles from Christin Stewart, Michael Gerber and Will Kengor. The two teams carried a 1-1 tie into the 11th where Joey Pankake became the hero when he blasted a two-run single to give West Michigan the go-ahead. Whitecaps reliever Gabe Speier (3-1, 2.75 ERA) captured the win, his third this season.
Gerber: 3-5, R, 2B, HR, RBI, SO
Pankake: 3-5, 2 RBI, SO
Lewicki: 2.0 IP, 2 H, 1 BB, 2 SO
Speier (W): 1.2 IP, 1 H, 2 SO
Bowling Green Hot Rods 11, West Michigan Whitecaps 3 (box)
West Michigan (52-50) looked to Spencer Turnbull (8-3, 3.16 ERA) to carry them into game two of their double feature against Bowling Green on Thursday evening. Bowling Green wasted no time dialing in to give West Michigan a headache from the beginning. Through a pair of innings, Turnbull was tagged for six runs (four earned) off six hits scattered over his outing. The struggles continued for big reliever Matt Davenport (0-1, 16.62 ERA), surrendering an additional five runs off eight hits spread over three innings of work. Joey Pankake worked to carry the West Michigan offense, driving three hits, including a double. Fourth round selection Kade Scivicque notched his first home run for the Whitecaps in the sixth inning to go hand-in-hand with a two-run blast from Garret Mattlage in the fifth. Those would prove to be the only runs to the hit the board for West Michigan as they fell victim to a Bowling Green hit parade and surrendered the loss.
Pankake: 3-3, R, 2B
Scivicque: 1-3, R, HR, RBI, SO
Mattlage: 1-2, R, HR, 2 RBI, BB
Turnbull (L): 2.0 IP, 6 H, 6 R (4 ER), 3 BB, 2 SO
COMING UP NEXT: West Michigan rolls into Fort Wayne to kick off a three-game series on the road, beginning on Friday.
It was a day to relax for the Toledo Mud Hens on Thursday, leading into preparation for the start of their three-game travel series on the road against the third-place Louisville Bats (51-55). Toledo returns to Fifth Third Field to host Lehigh Valley for a four-game series of good old fashioned food wars.
The series finale between Mahoning Valley and Connecticut was forced to bow out to a wave of weather as rain put a stop to the activity on Thursday evening. Connecticut is back in action on Friday to host the West Virginia Black Bears (20-18) in a three-game contest at home.