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Lakeland and Erie earn playoff berths; Whitecaps fall short despite Jackson Jobe’s effort

Scores, news, and notes from around the Tigers’ farm system for the weekend of September 8-10, 2023.

Indianapolis Indians 2, Toledo Mud Hens 0 (Fri)(box)

Toledo Mud Hens 13, Indianapolis Indians 2 (Sat)(box)

Indianapolis Indians 5, Toledo Mud Hens 2 (Sun)(box)

The Mud Hens dropped two of three over the weekend to lose the series 4-2 against Indianapolis. In the process, their playoff hopes were dashed. There are still 12 games left on their regular season schedule, but the postseason is no longer even marginally within reach.

On the plus side, Keider Montero continues to settle in after a somewhat aggressive move up to Triple-A in August. On Friday, he allowed two runs over six innings of work. Montero gave up four hits, one a solo shot to Nick Gonzales in the first, walked four, but struck out eight along the way.

Unfortunately, the offense only managed five hits and two walks. Right-hander Jared Jones of the Indians blanked them over seven innings of work and the bullpen had no trouble closing the deal.

Kreidler: 1-4, 2B, K

Solak: 1-2, BB

Montero (L, 3-2): 6.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, 4 BB, 8 K

The Hens went with a bullpen day on Saturday and it worked out very well as the offense broke out in a big way.

Down a run, the Hens took over in the third. Michael Papierski and Nick Maton drew walks with one out, and Justyn-Henry Malloy singled to left to load the bases. Colt Keith struck out, but Eddys Leonard crushed a grand slam to left. 4-1 Hens.

They scratched out two runs in the fourth. Donny Sands doubled and scored on a Papierski single in the fifth. In the sixth, Malloy, Keith, and Leonard all walked with one out, and Ryan Kreidler pulled a ground rule double to left to score two. Justice Bigbie followed with a two-run single to score Leonard and Kreidler. 11-1 Hens. Papierski doubled in Sands and then scored on a Maton single in the ninth to complete their scoring.

Papierski: 2-2, 3 R, 2 RBI, 2B, 3 BB

Kreidler: 2-4, R, 2 RBI, 2B, BB

Leonard: 1-4, 2 R, 4 RBI, HR, BB

Another quite day from the Hens offense doomed them on Sunday. Down a run in the third, Colt Keith singled in Nick Maton to tie the game. Justice Bigbie led off the fourth with a walk and eventually scored on a Maton single to make it 2-1, but the offense ran out of gas at that point.

Bryan Sammons allowed a run in the first before shutting Indy down for two innings. Andrew Vasquez spun a scoreless fourth. Brenan Hanifee gave up the lead in the fifth, allowing two runs. They’d add a run on in the sixth and the eighth to pull away as the Hens couldn’t get anything going at the plate.

Maton: 2-5, R, RBI, 2 K

Keith: 1-4, RBI

Bigbie: 0-2, R, 2 BB, K

Coming Up Next: The Hens welcome in the Columbus Clippers for six starting Tuesday night at 6:35 p.m. ET.

Somerset Patriots 4, Erie SeaWolves 3 (F/11)(Fri)(box)

Erie SeaWolves 5, Somerset Patriots 3 (Sat)(box)

Somerset Patriots 8, Erie SeaWolves 5 (Sun)(box)

After seizing a 2-1 series lead, the SeaWolves dropped two of three over the weekend to split the series. In the process, they remain a game back of first place Richmond in the second half divisional chase. The SeaWolves are already in the playoffs after winning the first half, but they’ll host six games against Richmond in the final series of the regular season with a clean sweep of both halves on the line.

On Friday, Ty Madden led the way with a really good start, but the bullpen couldn’t hold a lead late and they eventually blew it in 11 innings. Madden allowed a solo shot in the second inning, but no more, going 6.0 IP, ER, 5 H, 3 BB, 7 K, on the outing.

The SeaWolves took control when Ben Malgeri launched a two-run shot in the fifth after Danny Serretti had been hit by a pitch. 2-1 SeaWolves. They made it 3-1 in the seventh, when Trei Cruz singled to lead off the inning. Corey Joyce walked and Jake Holton singled to load the bases. A Serretti ground out scored Cruz, but a Malgeri grounder went for a force out of Joyce at home, and Luis Santana flew out to complete a squanderous inning.

Somerset got a run in the eighth, and then Andrew Magno blew the save in the ninth, walking four in an inning of work and getting pulled for Jake Higginbotham, who quieted things and kept the Patriots from scoring in the tenth. However, the SeaWolves couldn’t score in either the 10th or the 11th, and that generally means you deserve to lose, which they did in the bottom of the 11th inning.

Malgeri: 1-5, R, 2 RBI, HR, K

Santana: 1-3, 2 BB

Madden: 6.0 IP, ER, 5 H, 3 BB, 7 K

Saturday’s victory saw the bullpen hold a tie game in place until the offense scratched out two late runs to pull away.

Michael Bienlien was the opener and allowed a run in the first. Lefty Adam Wolf took over from there, blanking the Patriots from the second through the fifth inning.

Finally in the fourth inning, the SeaWolves offense got going. Chris Meyers singled with one out, and Brady Allen drew a walk. They rode home on a Daniel Cabrera double, and Alonzo Rubalcaba singled in Cabrera to make it 3-1 Erie.

Wolf allowed two runs in the sixth that tied the game, but Layne Henderson and Tim Naughton shut the Patriots down the rest of the way. In the seventh, Malgeri led off with a double and scored on a Chris Meyers single. In the ninth, Jace Jung led off with a walk, and later scored on a Cabrera sacrifice fly to make it 5-3.

Meyers: 3-4, R, RBI, BB, K

Malgeri: 1-4, R, 2B, BB

Cabrera: 1-3, R, 3 RBI, 2B, BB, K

With the SeaWolves rotation pretty well in shambles at this point, Ty Mattison was the opener on Sunday. He got into a bit of trouble, but Austin Bergner bailed him out. Unfortunately, Bergner was then rocked for six runs in the third. They added another in the fourth and so Erie had a 7-0 deficit to overcome.

In the fifth, Daniel Cabrera hit his first home run of the year. The solo shot made it 1-0, and the SeaWolves went on to load the bases with one out in the inning. Unfortunately Jung struck out, and Julio E. Rodriguez grounded out to end the inning.

Jake Holton led off the sixth with a walk, and Allen blasted his first home run since he was promoted in Justice Bigbie’s wake. That was Allen’s 18th long ball on the year overall. The SeaWolves went on to load the bases in the inning and Jung drew a walk to force in another run that made it 7-4 Somerset.

That was as close as they’d get. Somerset added a run in the bottom of the sixth, and Erie got one more in the top of the seventh, but that was where it stayed the rest of the way.

Allen: 2-4, R, 2 RBI, HR, 2B, BB

Jung: 1-4, RBI, BB, K

Cabrera: 2-4, 2 R, RBI, HR, BB, K

Coming Up Next: With the West Michigan Whitecaps season over, and another series and the playoffs left for Erie, it will be interesting to see if any reinforcements are promoted for the stretch run and postseason. They’re down to Ty Madden and Brant Hurter from their regular starters. Wilmer Flores or Dylan Smith could return from their rehab assignments with West Michigan, but Jackson Jobe would be a particularly interesting idea since he still needs innings, is pitching the best of those three by a good margin, and is headed for Double-A to start the 2024 season anyway.

West Michigan Whitecaps 4, Great Lakes Loons 1 (Fri)(box)

West Michigan Whitecaps 5, Great Lakes Loons 3 (Sat)(box)

Great Lakes Loons 4, West Michigan Whitecaps 1 (Sun)(box)

The Whitecaps mustered a pretty good effort in front of the West Michigan faithful as they made a late run at the postseason over the final weekend. However, they came up a game short as Fort Wayne lost on Sunday to open the door, but the Whitecaps’ offense couldn’t get it done.

On Friday, Carlos Pena put together another excellent outing to lead the ‘Caps to victory. The lefty blanked the Loons over six innings of work, with six strikeouts to just a walk and three hits allowed.

Andrew Jenkins reached on an error to open the bottom of the second inning, taking second on the play. A passed ball moved him to third, where he scored on a Josh Crouch ground out.

In the sixth, Gage Workman singled with one out, and then stole second and third base, scoring on a Jenkins single to make it 2-0 ‘Caps. In the eighth, Seth Stephenson singled and rode home on a two-run shot from Luke Gold. The bullpen leaked a run in the top of the ninth, but the Loons never got the tying run to the plate.

Gold: 1-4, R, 2 RBI, HR, K

Stephenson: 1-3, R, K, 2 SB

Workman: 1-4, R, K, 2 SB

Pacheco: 1-3, 2B, K

Pena (W, 5-6): 6.0 IP, 0 R, 3 H, BB, 6 K

On Saturday, Wilmer Flores put together the best start of his rehab assignment at High-A at the end of a rough season for the young right-hander. He allowed two runs over four innings without a walk, while striking out six along the way.

The ‘Caps quickly made it 2-0 in the bottom of the first when Luke Gold doubled with one out, and Gage Workman tripled him home. An Andrew Jenkins double scored Workman to make it 2-0, but they couldn’t get Jenkins home.

Flores allowed his two runs in the second inning, so it was knotted at 2-2 when Garrett Burhenn took over in the fifth and allowed a solo shot to make it 3-2 Loons.

Austin Murr led off the bottom half with a triple. Stephenson popped out, but Gold ripped a two-run shot for the second day in a row to make it 4-3 ‘Caps. That was a huge home run in a must-win game at the time. Izaac Pacheco would add on a 451 foot blast to dead center in the eighth to make it 5-3.

Burhenn settled in for two scoreless frames and Elvis Alvarado and Trevin Michael had no trouble in the eighth and ninth innings, all pitching under likely the most pressure they’ve faced in pro ball to date.

Gold: 2-3, 2 R, 2 RBI, HR, 2B

Jenkins: 2-4, RBI, 2B, 2 K

Workman: 1-3, R, RBI, 3B, BB, 2 K

Flores: 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 H, 0 BB, 6 K

On Sunday, it was Jackson Jobe time. The Tigers top pitching prospect had the ball in a must-win game. He acquitted himself very well.

Jobe allowed two hits to start the game, and a sacrifice fly quickly made it 1-0 Loons, but that was all they could manage against him as his command got locked in the rest of the way.

A single to lead off the third, and then an error on Pacheco put two men on, and an infield single loaded the bases with no outs. Jobe got a break as the next hitters pulled a sharp grounder to Pacheco. The third baseman fired home for the force, and catcher Eliezer Alfonzo turned it over to first base for the double play. A ground out ended the inning, and Jobe was untouchable from there. He struck out the side in the fourth, and got two strikeouts and then a pop-up to finish his outing.

Jobe’s final line was 5.0 IP, ER, 5 H, 0 BB, 7 K, with 44 of 58 pitches for strikes. Here’s a little of the game preview with Dan Hasty interviewing Jobe, along with a highlight clip from his start.

The problem, is that despite eight hits, the ‘Caps could barely even muster a rally. They didn’t get the leadoff hitter on in any inning until Gold walked to start the eighth. A ground out, a strikeout of Jenkins, and a fly out from Pacheco made that a moot point.

Wilkel Hernandez took over from Jobe in the sixth. A Gold throwing error allowed the leadoff hitter to reach, and the Loons went on to score two runs in the inning. Dario Gardea and another throwing error, this time on Alfonzo, allowed a run in the seventh, and so it was 4-0 headed into the ninth.

Alfonzo opened the bottom of the ninth in front of a desperate home crowd with a solid single to center. Crouch flew out, but an Austin Murr ground ball went for an error, and a Dom Johnson single loaded the bases. A passed ball scored Alfonzo and got Murr and Johnson into scoring position. Unfortunately, Stephenson struck out swinging, and Luke Gold took a called strike three that ended the game, and the Whitecaps’ season.

Alfonzo: 2-4, R, K

Jobe (L, 2-3): 5.0 IP, ER, 5 H, 0 BB, 7 K

Tampa Tarpons 2, Lakeland Flying Tigers 1 (Fri)(box)

Lakeland Flying Tigers 4, Tampa Tarpons 1 (Sat)(box)

Lakeland Flying Tigers 3, Tampa Tarpons 1 (Sun)(box)

The Flying Tigers had a heck of a second half as the 2023 draft class and a few international free agents graduated from the Complex League and all helped power Lakeland to a 44-22 record and a postseason birth as the second half West Division winner.

A 5-1 series victory over Tampa helped them seal the deal.

On Friday, Joe Adametz gave Lakeland five innings of one run ball, but they couldn’t take advantage. After he allowed a solo shot in the fifth, Cristian Santana mashed his 12th on the year to tie the game. Cleiverth Perez allowed a run in the sixth as the Tarpons pulled ahead 2-1, and the Flying Tigers offense never really threatened much from there, collecting just four hits and two walks on the day.

Santana: 2-3, R, RBI, HR

Callahan: 1-2, BB

Adametz: 5.0 IP, ER, 4 H, BB, 6 K

Saturday’s game was in the Flying Tigers hands the whole way, and the bullpen did a good job making an early lead hold up.

Lakeland built their lead in the second inning. Clayton Campbell was hit by a pitch to leadoff, but a pop out and a fly out followed. Bennett Lee and David Smith drew walks to load the bases, and Brett Callahan was hit by a pitch to force in the first run of the game. A line drive single to center field from Max Clark scored Smith and Callahan and made it 3-1.

Matt Walker allowed a run in the third, but Eiker Huizi took over in the fourth and really stifled the Tarpons in the fifth and sixth inning. In the seventh, Max Clark walked with one out, but was picked off at first. Max Anderson followed with a double, and Quincy Nieporte singled him home to make it 4-1, where it ended.

Anderson: 2-4, R, 2B, K

Clark: 1-2, 2 RBI, 2 BB, K, PO

Lee: 1-3, R, BB

Huizi (W, 3-0): 2.2 IP, 0 R, BB, 2 K

On Sunday the Flying Tigers got a really impressive outing from 2023 fifth round pick Jaden Hamm. The 21-year-old out of Middle Tennessee State struck out six in three innings of work, allowing just a single along the way.

Pedro Garcia took over for two more scoreless innings, and Tanner Kohlhepp and Chris Mauloni added a clean inning apiece to get them through the seventh with a shutout working.

In the top of the fifth, Garcia allowed a leadoff triple and then a walk. But a fly out to Brett Callahan in center field turned into a double play when he fired a beauty home to cut the runner down trying to tag from third.

So, it was scoreless in the bottom of the fifth when Jose De La Cruz led off with a walk, and Callahan reached on catcher’s interference. A ground out moved De La Cruz to third, where he scored on a Campbell sac fly for the first run of the game.

Tampa tied things with a run in the top of the eighth, but in the bottom half the Flying Tigers re-captured the lead. Campbell led off with a walk, and John Peck reached on a bunt single. Another bunt from Kevin McGonigle went for a single as well, loading the bases. Jim Jarvis came through with a two-run single that was the difference in this one.

Jarvis: 2-4, 2 RBI

McGonigle: 2-4, K, CS

Hamm: 3.0 IP, 0 R, H, 0 BB, 6 K

Coming Up Next: The Flying Tigers will now welcome in the Clearwater Threshers on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. ET for Game 1 of their best-of-three playoff series. A best-of-three championship series will follow against either Jupiter or Palm Beach after their best-of-three division series this week.