Friday was eventful to say the least. Kolby Allard was locked in, Cristian Pache exploded in one of the biggest games of his career in what was one of the wildest games of the year in Florida, Austin Riley had another multi-hit game, Mike Soroka made a very strong rehab start, and Ian Anderson’s great performance from 5/19 was finally able to be put in the books. I haven’t even mentioned Jean Carlos Encarnacion extending his hitting streak, another hit and steal from Drew Waters, or Izzy Wilson’s homer.
One additional note is that today is going to be the first day of the Dominican Summer League season.
Louisville Bats 3, Gwinnett Stripers 1
- Austin Riley, 3B: 2-4, .302/.352/.458
- Michael Reed, CF: 2-3, BB, .545/.706/.727
- Kolby Allard, SP: 7 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 BB, 2 K, 2.00 ERA
Kolby Allard was truly on last night, giving up just one run over seven innings of work as he allowed only six baserunners on the night. Of course due to a lack of run support he didn’t earn the win despite the huge performance, but he did manage to drop his ERA to an even 2.00 over 63 IP. Allard was followed by Evan Phillips, who uncharacteristically struggled, giving up a pair of runs on three hits in his inning of work. Phillips has been so good this year that even an outing like this couldn’t push his ERA over 2.00- it sits at 1.98 for the year.
The bats weren’t very productive as a whole, as a lack of scoring runs cost Allard the deserved win. The positive is that Austin Riley had a pair of singles in his four at bats to raise his batting average back over .300 since being promoted from Double A. Another even more recent promotion from Mississippi, Michael Reed, went two for three with a walk as he has been hot in his four games in Triple A. The Stripers also picked up doubles from Rio Ruiz and Danny Santana in the loss- the only two extra base hits against Louisville’s pitching staff.
Next Game: Saturday 6/2 visiting Louisville @ 6:30 PM. Probable Starters: Gwinnett-Max Fried, Louisville-Jose Lopez
Biloxi Shuckers 5, Mississippi Braves 4
- Carlos Martinez, C: 2-4, 2B, .333/.333/.444
- Daniel Lockhart, 3B: 1-2, HR, .259/.333/.405
- Kelvin Vasquez, RP: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 3.66 ERA
Mississippi pitching just wasn’t quite on Friday night. Starter Andres Santiago pitched five innings, giving up four runs on eight hits in a below average outing. The Braves were lucky that Kelvin Vasquez pitched a pair of perfect innings to follow Santiago, which had the score tied going into the bottom of the eighth. Unfortunately Adam McCreery surrendered a homer to Brewers prospect Trent Grisham(formerly Clark), and that ended up sinking the Braves.
The offensive stars of the game were a pair of unlikely sources, as Daniel Lockhart came off the bench and hit a homer and the recently promoted from Rome catcher, Carlos Martinez, had two hits in his four at bats including a double. The two went three for six with a homer, double, pair of runs scored, and pair of runs batted in. Beyond those two the Braves had just four hits and the only other extra base hit was a Connor Lien double. Travis Demeritte was hitless in his three at bats, but did walk to reach base.
Next Game: Saturday 6/2 visiting Biloxi @ 7:35 PM. Probable Starters: Mississippi-Enderson Franco, Biloxi-Trey Supak
Clearwater Threshers 2, Florida Fire Frogs 0
- Garrison Schwartz, RF: 2-3, .305/.394/.378
- Ian Anderson, SP: 5.2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 7 K, 3.19 ERA
- Connor Johnstone, RP: 3.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 0 BB, 3 K, 2.00 ERA
This is the continuation of a game that began back on May 19th. Ian Anderson pitched five and two thirds scoreless before the game was suspended a couple weeks ago in what was a very well pitched game from him overall. He gave up a single, double to a recently promoted slugging prospect, and walk through his first five innings before walking a pair in that suspended sixth inning. Connor Johnstone finished the game off by pitching three and a third, and other than allowing a two run homer he was locked in as well. This loss certainly wasn’t on Anderson and Johnstone. The odd thing if you were only reading boxscores is that it almost looks like Anderson pitched on Friday, and he’s actually the scheduled pitcher on Saturday. That suspended game definitely gave this one a different look.
The reason for the loss rides on the bats, as outside of Garrison Schwartz going two for three, the Fire Frogs went just 3-28 as a team. The other three hits were also nothing but singles- Jordan Rodgers, Kurt Hoekstra, and Lucas Herbert delivered the hits. Cristian Pache went hitless in four trips.
Florida Fire Frogs 12, Clearwater Threshers 10
- Cristian Pache, CF: 4-6, 2 R, 5 RBI, 2B, HR, .292/.313/.422
- Ray-Patrick Didder, SS: 1-3, 2 R, 2 RBI, SB, .192/.281/.274
- Justin Kelly, RP: 2.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K, 2.95 ERA
As good as the pitching was in the first game and as bad as the hitting was, we had the exact opposite in this truly wild 12-10 Fire Frogs win. Tucker Davidson started and failed to make it through three innings as he hit 77 pitches in just two and two thirds, giving up two runs(only one earned) on four hits and three walks, and also striking out four. That left this one up to the bullpen, and Justin Kelly did help things, pitching two and a third perfect innings and striking out four to keep this one at 2-0 through five innings.
At 2-0 Clearwater heading into the bottom of the sixth is where the fireworks started for both teams- though the Clearwater offense was helped by the Fire Frogs pitching. Mauricio Cabrera came into the sixth and gave up two runs on a pair of hits and three walks to extend the lead to 4-0 after six.
The Fire Frogs needed to put up six runs in the top of the seventh to take a 6-4 lead, but then the wheels fell off for Devan Watts. Watts pitched just a third of an inning, but it was memorable- and not in a good way. He was charged with four hits and two walks, and all six base runners he allowed came in to score. Luckily the recently demoted Josh Graham was able to get out of the inning fairly quickly, but now down 10-6.
The top of the eighth saw the third straight half inning with a six spot put up, and the Fire Frogs reclaimed a 12-10 lead. Graham battled walks in the bottom of the eighth, walking the bases loaded, but was able to escape without giving up a run and Thomas Burrows pitched a perfect ninth with a pair of strikeouts to record the save.
Cristian Pache starred at the plate, going four for six with a pair of runs and five RBI as he doubled and homered. The young centerfielder hit his 10th double of the year as well as his third homer, important because in 119 games last year he recorded 13 doubles to go with no homers in his first 176 career games. This year it’s taken him just 47 games to reach double digits in doubles, and he’s hit his first three career homers despite the Florida State League being a pitching league.
Ray-Patrick Didder had a hit and was hit by pitch twice, scored twice, batted a pair in, and stole a base in an eventful game for him. Didder wasn’t the only Fire Frog hit by multiple pitches, as Marcus Mooney was also plunked twice. Kurt Hoekstra had a pair of singles and Garrison Schwartz was hitless in two at bats, but walked three times. The only non-Pache extra base hit in this game filled by seven singles, seven walks, and four hit by pitches was an Alejandro Salazar double. In a slightly shocking stat, hit by pitch machine Brett Cumberland had six plate appearances and wasn’t among the four hit by pitches from Threshers pitchers.
Next Game: Saturday 6/2 visiting Clearwater @ 6:15 PM. Probable Starters: Florida-Ian Anderson, Clearwater-Nick Fanti
Rome Braves 7, Columbia Fireflies 1
- Jean Carlos Encarnacion, 3B: 2-4, 2B, 3 RBI, .295/.330/.415
- Isranel Wilson, RF: 2-3, BB, HR, 2 RBI, .209/.306/.345
- Mike Soroka, SP: 3.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K, 0.00 ERA
Making his first start for Rome since helping them win a title in 2016, a rehabbing Mike Soroka was dominant. Maple Maddux went three and two thirds, not allowing a hit or run and striking out three, before leaving his first rehab start after 45 pitches. Hayden Deal followed with three more scoreless innings and picked up the win, moving to 4-0 on the year and dropping his ERA to 1.85. Columbia didn’t get on the board until the ninth as they finally scored off Jacob Belinda in his third inning of work.
The star at the plate was Jean Carlos Encarnacion, who singled, doubled, and drove in three runs in his four at bats. The upside filled third baseman ran his average up to nearly .300 on the year and stayed hot with this being the eighth straight game he has recorded a hit. Isranel Wilson wasn’t far behind on Friday, going two for three with a walk and hitting his third homer of the season. Wilson started the season very slow, but has come on since then and has been especially strong of late.
There was more than Wilson and Encarnacion, as Drew Waters had a hit and a stolen base. Waters had what’s considered an “off night” by his recent standards- a pretty telling statement when you consider an off night for him is still a notable performance. He’s just been that hot of late. The Braves also got doubles from William Contreras, Derian Cruz, and Austin Bush in the win.
Next Game: Saturday 6/2 hosting Columbia @ 6 PM. Probable Starters: Rome-Bruce Zimmermann, Columbia-David Peterson