Huntsville Stars – Double A
A day after having their opening game rained out, the Huntsville Stars rallied from a 4-0 deficit on Friday night to beat the Chattanooga Lookouts by a score of 7-5 at AT&T Field.
After two Stars errors in the first inning led to two runs and a two-run double by Lookouts left fielder Blake Smith put the Lookouts up early, Stars starting pitching Jimmy Nelson settled into a tremendous first start. A consensus top-10 prospect in the Brewers organization, Nelson went five innings and gave up those four runs (two earned) while fanning eight without walking a batter. The 23-year-old righty also retired eight of the last nine batters he faced to put the exclamation point on his first win of the season.
The Stars started mounting their comeback in the fourth inning, where they scored the first three of seven unanswered runs. To begin the rally, first basemen Jason Rogers and center fielder Rene Tosoni each reached base via an error by the Chattanooga defense. Both runners were then brought home on a two-run triple by left fielder Brock Kjeldgaard off of Lookouts starter Zach Lee that cut the Chattanooga lead in half. Later in the inning, Kjeldgaard scored on a RBI single by Mike Walker to made the score 4-3.
Following an RBI single by Tosoni in the fifth inning that tied the game up at four apiece, the Stars took the lead for good against Lookouts reliever Ryan Acosta in the sixth inning. To begin the frame, catcher Adam Weisenburger, pinch-hitter Shawn Zarraga and second basemen Nick Shaw led off with back-to-back-to-back singles. After Weisenburger scored on a run-scoring groundout by shortstop Ozzie Chavez, right fielder Kentrail Davis drove home Zarraga with a RBI single to make the score 6-4.
In the seventh inning, Huntsville scored the last of their seven unanswered runs on a RBI single by Weisenburger.
Fortunately for the stars, the three-run lead that the Huntsville offense built was plenty for their bullpen. After Nelson exited the ballgame after the fifth, reliever Greg Holle threw two scoreless frames. Holle also struck out the side in seventh and didn’t give up a hit in his first ever double-a outing. Righty Casey Medlen notched his first save, retiring the only batter he faced when relieved lefty Alan Williams and got Lookouts pinch-hitter Omar Luna to ground out to end the game.
In regards to offense, the Stars were paced by three hits from Kjeldgaard, in which the 27-year-old outfielder was just a home run away from the cycle. Both Rogers and Tosoni each had two hits as well and Davis reached base four out of the five times he was at-bat.
Game two of a five-game series between the two teams will begin at 7:15 ET on Saturday night. A pair of highly-touted prospects will battle it out on the mound as the Stars will send RHP Taylor Jungmann (11-6, 3.53 ERA with Brevard County in 2012) to square off against Lookouts LHP Chris Reed (0-4, 4.84 ERA with Chattanooga in 2012).
Following the Series against Chattanooga, the Stars will open up their home slate against the Jacksonville Suns on April 10th for a five-game series immediately followed by a five games against the Tennessee Smokies! For more information on the Huntsville Stars, visit huntsvillestars.com or call (256) 882-2562.
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers – Single A
PEORIA, IL – Damien Magnifico and Leonard Lorenzo combined to hold the Peoria Chiefs to a run on three hits as the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers offense squeezed out just enough for a 2-1 victory at Peoria Chiefs Stadium on Friday night.
The duo of Rattlers hurlers combined to strike out ten Chiefs batters as the Rattlers won their second straight game to open the 2013 season.
Peoria (0-2) took the lead in the second inning and the ball never left the infield for them to score their run. Charlie Tilson beat out a bunt up the third base line for a single with one out. An errant pickoff attempt by Lorenzo allowed Tilson to take second. Ildemaro Vargas was next and his chopper to third was turned into an out by Alfredo Rodriguez. But, Tilson broke for third on the throw to first by Rodriguez. Rattlers first baseman Michael Garza tried to throw back to third to get Tilson. However, the throw was wild and Tilson scored to put Peoria up 1-0.
The Rattlers (2-0) tied the game in the top of the fourth inning with some situational hitting. Clint Coulter started the inning with a double. Garza sent a grounder to the right side of the infield to move Coulter to third. Chris McFarland knocked in Coulter with the tying run on a sacrifice fly to center.
Wisconsin took the lead in the top of the fifth. Michael Reed singled and stole second to start the inning. A bloop single to right by Tyrone Taylor put runners on the corners with no outs. Peoria went to the bullpen and their reliever got the first out. Then, Mitch Haniger came through with a fly ball deep to left that scored Reed with the run that put the Rattlers up 2-1.
Magnifico pitched five innings and allowed the one unearned run on three hits. He walked two and struck out five. Rattlers reliever Leonard Lorenzo took over in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Lorenzo retired all twelve batters he faced in his four innings of relief to nail down the win. The right hander out of the Dominican Republic struck out five in his four innings to earn his first professional save.
Game three of the series is scheduled for Saturday afternoon. Brent Suter is set to be the starting pitcher for the Rattlers. Peoria has named Tyrell Jenkins as their starter. Game time is 1:00pm. Tune in for the broadcast on AM1280, WNAM starting with the Miller Lite Pregame Show at 12:40pm.
NASHVILLE SOUNDS – Triple A
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Nashville Sounds held the New Orleans Zephyrs scoreless through five innings, but were unable to contain the visitor’s hot bats, who scored runs in each of the last four frames en route to shutting out the Sounds, 12-0.
The lone bright spot on the night for the Sounds was starting pitcher Hiram Burgos, who picked up where he left off in 2012 by extending his Triple-A scoreless streak to 17 innings across his last three starts, dating back to August 29. The right-handed pitcher limited the Zephyrs to two hits through five innings of work, fanning six and walking three.
Unfortunately for the Sounds, the team’s bullpen did not see similar success. The Zephyrs broke through for three runs in sixth inning, touching Sounds reliever Michael Olmsted in his Triple-A debut. Ed Lucas led-off with a single to right field and moved to second on a walk to Bryan Petersen. Ben Lasater followed with a shallow RBI-single and scored alongside Petersen on Matt Diaz’s single to right.
The Z’s tacked on four runs in the following inning, which began with shortstop Matt Downs scoring from second on a dropped fly ball charged to left fielder Sean Halton. Downs had reached scoring position with a leadoff single.
Olmsted proceeded to issue two walks before being relieved by Jim Hoey, who’s first pitch as a Nashville Sound left the ballpark on a three-run homer by Lasater, who finished with four RBIs. Olmsted (0-1) was charged with three runs in the inning and six on the night, taking the loss after recording 1 2/3 innings of work.
Downs increased New Orleans’ lead to nine runs in the eighth with a two-run blast over the left-field wall, scoring Wilson Valdez, who singled to get on. The jack was followed by a walk, ending Hoey’s night after 2/3 innings and four earned runs.
Also not seeing his Sounds debut go in a positive direction was Kyle Heckathorn, who entered in relief to allow a double to Kevin Mattison and an RBI-single to Lucas, who later scored on a fielder’s choice, making it 11-0 in the eighth. The Z’s final run came in the ninth, on an RBI-single to right field by Mattison that scored Diaz, who reached first on an missed grounder by Hainley Statia at third base.
Offensively the Sounds mustered only five hits, led by second baseman Scooter Gennett, who had two. Also recording hits were right fielder Cole Garner, third baseman Stephen Parker, and catcher Dayton Buller.
Netting the win for New Orleans was starting pitcher LHP Brad Hand (1-0), who fanned seven Sounds and walked three in five innings of work. Relievers Scott Maine, Doug Mathis, and A.J. Battisto combined for the shutout.
The Sounds will play game three of their four-game series against the Z’s Saturday night at Greer Stadium (6:35 p.m.). RHP Johnny Hellweg (0-0, 0.00) gets the nod for Nashville opposite RHP Jacob Turner (0-0, 0.00) for New Orleans. The game will be followed by a fireworks extravaganza presented by Nashville’s NEWS 2.
Brevard County Manatees – High A
VIERA, Fla. – The Brevard County Manatees home opener was spoiled on Friday night as the ‘Tees were shutout by the Daytona Cubs, 8-0 at Space Coast Stadium.
Javier Baez kick started the Daytona (1-1) offense by launching a two-run home run over the left-center field fence in the top of the first inning. Baez’s first home run of the season gave the Cubs an early two run cushion and Daytona never looked back.
Cubs starting pitcher Starling Peralta (0-0, 0.00) didn’t allow a hit until the fifth when ‘Tees (1-1) shortstop Yadiel Rivera doubled to dead center field. Center fielder Zeke DeVoss almost made an incredible diving over-the-shoulder catch, but couldn’t control the ball when he hit the ground.
Peralta’s night came to an end with one out in the fifth inning. He allowed no runs on just one hit, walked three and fanned five batters.
DeVoss had a huge night at the plate as well. After he singled and scored in the first, DeVoss connected on a two-run triple to right-center field to extend the Daytona lead to 4-0. He doubled down the right field line in his third at bat, but went 0-for-2 with a walk in his final three plate appearances and finished a home run shy of the cycle.
The bottom third of the Daytona order – John Andreoli, Chad Noble and Ben Carhart – combined to go 8-for-13 with four runs scored and two RBI. Andreoli and Carhart each had three hits and Noble crushed an RBI triple off the batters’ eye in center field in the third inning to extend the Cubs cushion to five. The Cubs smacked 15 hits in total.
Ryan Searle was credited with the win after he tossed 4.2 scoreless innings, gave up just two hits and struck out six.
Brevard County’s Drew Gagnon (0-1, 15.00) struggled in his first start of the new season. He was tagged for five runs on eight hits in three-plus innings.
The lone bright spot in the ‘Tees batting order came in the form of Chad Stang who notched his second consecutive two-hit game. Out of the bullpen, Kevin Shackleford, Tommy Toledo and Stephen Peterson all had scoreless outings on the night.
The same two teams will square off again tomorrow night at Jackie Robinson Ballpark in Daytona Beach. Southpaw Austin Kirk (9-3, 3.12 in 2012) will get the call for the Cubs. He will be opposed by righty Brooks Hall (4-3, 4.33 in 2012) for the Manatees.
First pitch is at 7:05 p.m. and you can hear all the action live on ManateesBaseball.comstarting with the Manatees Pregame Show at 6:35 p.m.
The ‘Tees return home Sunday evening for a 5:05 p.m. contest to wrap up its four game series with Daytona.