Charlotte Knights 6, Toledo Mud Hens 5 (box)
Drew VerHagen put together another very encouraging outing for the Mud Hens in his comeback bid. The tall right-hander spun five innings of one run ball on Thursday. Unfortunately reliever Daniel Stumpf stumbled in relief in the eighth. He was charged for three runs, while Dustin Molleken, who replaced him, was dinged for two more as the Knights rode a five-run inning to victory. The margin was just enough as catcher Bryan Holaday clubbed a grand slam in the eighth as well. Bruce Rondon pitched a clean ninth with a strikeout and no baserunners.
Holaday: 1-3, R, 4 RBI, HR
Navarro: 3-5, R, RBI, 2B, SO
Stumpf (L, 0-1): 0.2 IP, 3 ER, 3 H, 2 HR, SO
Coming Up Next: Friday night, the Mud Hens send William Cuevas (1-1, 5.73 ERA) to start off a weekend series with the Lehigh Valley IronPigs. Ben Lively (2-1, 3.18 ERA) takes the bump for the visitors.
Altoona Curve 3, Erie SeaWolves 2 (box)
Starter Artie Lewicki was tagged for nine hits on Thursday, but kept slipping the noose. He allowed two earned runs over 5 1⁄3 innings with four punchouts. The relievers did the job, keeping this one knotted at two apiece into the tenth. Paul Voelker gave up a solo shot in the top of the inning, his second inning of work, and the SeaWolves didn’t have an answer as they went down in the rubber game of the three-game set.
McVaney: 3-5, R, 2 B
Quintana: 1-4, R, RBI, HR, BB, SO
Voelker (L, 0-1): 2.0 IP, ER, H, HR, SO
Lewicki: 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 9 H, BB, 4 SO
Coming Up Next: Matt Crouse (2-0, 5.14 ERA) goes for Erie on Friday night. Trenton’s Domingo German (0-2, 2.70 ERA) will be the welcoming committee for the home team.
Lakeland Flying Tigers 9, St. Lucie Mets 2 (box)
Beau Burrows continued his scorched earth policy against the Florida State League on Thursday. It’s early, but with another outstanding performance, Burrows has silenced the critics and reclaimed his spot as one of the brightest prospects in the Tigers’ minor league system. He now boasts a 1.30 ERA, with 27 strikeouts, to seven walks across 27 2⁄3 innings of work. That strikeout total is currently second in the Florida State League.
The Mets had better luck than most, notching a pair of earned runs across Burrows’ 5 1⁄3 innings. The 20-year-old right-hander punched out six, issuing two free passes. Drew Smith didn’t allow a hit in 2 2⁄3 innings of relief, while hard-throwing Gerson Moreno blew the Mets away in the ninth, striking out the side.
Another man to keep an eye on with the Flying Tigers is 3B Zac Shepherd. He’s been a one man wrecking ball in the early going. Shepherd blasted a pair of home runs on Thursday, driving in four total. The Flying Tigers didn’t need any more, but they got it, racking up 16 hits as six different batters posted multi-hit games.
Shepherd: 2-3, 2 R, 4 RBI, 2 HR, 2 BB, SO
Castro: 3-6, R, RBI, 2B
Burrows (W, 3-0): 5.1 IP, 2 ER, 5 H, 2 BB, 6 SO
Moreno: 1.0 IP, 3 SO
Coming Up Next: A.J. Ladwig (2-1, 1.08 ERA) and Tyler Pike (0-1, 3.54 ERA) of the Florida Fire Frogs will duel Friday night as the Flying Tigers are on the road for the weekend series.
Lake County Captains 10, West Michigan Whitecaps 5 (box)
Alfred Gutierrez was solid the first time through the order, and came thoroughly unglued in the fourth and fifth, giving up two home runs, and ultimately getting charged for eight earned runs. His relief bent without breaking but the deficit was too much to overcome. The Whitecaps flashed plenty of power of their own fighting back. 1B Blaise Salter continued to show off his power with a pair of jacks, and LF Cam Gibson and 3B Josh Lester each added on of their own in the losing effort.
Robson: 1-4, R, SO
Gibson: 1-4, R, RBI, HR
Salter: 2-4, 2 R, 3 RBI, 2 HR
Gutierrez (L, 2-1): 4.1 IP, 8 ER, 8 H, 2 HR, 4 SO
Coming Up Next: Anthony Castro (0-1, 3.75 ERA) gets the ball as the Whitecaps continue their four-game road series against Aaron Civale (1-1, 3.09 ERA) and the Lake County Captains on Friday night.