Toledo Mud Hens 7, Omaha Storm Chasers 2 (box)
Strong starting pitching and a powerful offense ruled the day again out in Omaha, as the Mud Hens made it three in a row over the Storm Chasers. Joey Wentz needed 84 pitches to do it, but he cruised through 4 2⁄3 innings of scoreless ball, scattering two hits and two walks, with four strikeouts.
The offense has been on a tear, and they got started early once again. With two outs in the top of the first, Daz Cameron singled through the left side of the infield and Josh Lester got an 0-2 mistake pitch and drilled it the opposite way for his fourth home run of the year. In the third, a Brady Policelli single and Zack Short walk set up Lester again, and this time he lashed a two-run double to right field. In the fifth, Lester rode home instead after drawing a walk when Jamie Westbrook cracked the second two-run shot of the day for the Hens.
Lester and Westbrook had the big blows, but Short stayed hot as well with a double, a single, and a walk.
Up Next: RHP Elvin Rodriguez (0-0, 1.29 ERA), still fresh from relief duty with the Tigers, takes on LHP Austin Cox (0-2, 5.03 ERA) at 7:35 p.m. EDT on Friday night, looking to earn the Hens a series victory.
Erie SeaWolves 7, Binghamton Rumble Ponies 5 (box)
The SeaWolves also made it three straight wins on Thursday night, taking down the Rumble Ponies with a display of power and aggressive baserunning.
Gage Workman and Dane Myers got things started with RBI hits in the top of the first. Workman doubled home Dillon Dingler, who reached on a fielder’s choice and advanced to second on a throwing error. After Andre Lipcius struck out, Parker Meadows drew the first of three walks on the night, and Myers spanked a solid single to center field to plate Workman.
In the fifth, Dillon Dingler pulled a two-run shot to left with Luis Carpio aboard. The Tigers’ top catching prospect now has three home runs on the year.
Meanwhile, right-hander Garrett Hill had no issues with Binghamton for four innings, and looked to be cruising. But with a 4-0 lead, Hill gave up a single in the bottom of the fifth. He bounced back with a strikeout but then walked back-to-back hitters and surrendered a three-run double to Brett Baty, one of the Mets’ top prospects.
The SeaWolves shook that off in the top of the sixth. Meadows walked, stole second, and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Dane Myers flew out, Eric De La Rosa also walked, and Quincy Nieporte picked a good time for his fourth home run of the young season to re-open a 7-3 lead. Nick Kuzia gave back two runs in the bottom half of the inning, but Yaya Chentouf was able to pitch through a little trouble for a two-out save, his fourth, collecting four strikeouts along the way.
Up Next: RHP Austin Bergner (0-1, 5.56 ERA) goes for Erie on Friday night, with first pitch set for 6:35 p.m. EDT. Binghamton is still TBD.
Great Lakes Loons 4, West Michigan Whitecaps 1 (box)
Ty Madden pitched a good game, but the offense struggled to cash in baserunners on Thursday night. Much like the Tigers, that’s been the story during a five-game skid for the Whitecaps.
Madden cruised through four innings, but in the top of the fifth the first runner reached on a dropped third strike. Madden punched out Ryan January and got Leonel Valera on a line out to center field, but he grooved a 1-1 offering and Eddys Leonard went yard. Madden’s final line was: 5.0 IP, 2 R, BB, 4 SO, HR. He continues to look very promising as the Tigers have changed his arm slot and mitigated some of the release angle issues that made teams shy away from him in the first round last summer.
The Whitecaps racked up eight hits and four walks, although they also struck out 14 times, but couldn’t put anything together against Loons pitching. Wenceel Perez remained red-hot with a two-hit game including his fourth home run of the year. That’s pretty eye-opening when you realize Perez has never hit more than four in a season. Catcher Mike Rothenberg had a double in a two-hit game and drew a walk.
Up Next: The Loons send RHP Gavin Stone (0-1, 3.00 ERA) to the mound Friday night at 6:35 p.m. ET. The Whitecaps have yet to announce a starter.
Tampa Tarpons 2, Lakeland Flying Tigers 1 (box)
Lefty Carlos Pena gave the Flying Tigers a good effort on the mound, but the hits were hard to come by. Pena tossed five shutout innings, scattering four hits and two walk with three strikeouts. However the offense could only muster a pair of singles and a walk. Jack Anderson allowed a two-run shot in the sixth that was the difference in this one. Carlos Mendoza, who also drew a walk, laced an RBI single in the eighth to plate Eduardo Valencia, who had reached on a dropped strike three and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Jose De La Cruz had the Flying Tigers other hit.
Up Next: The Tarpons will send RHP Tyrone Yulie (0-2, 6.94 ERA) to the mound for Friday night’s 6:30 p.m. EDT start. Lakeland hasn’t announced a starter yet.