Lonnie Chisenhall and Michael Brantley both had the day off Sunday, so it was back to the true minor leaguers taking the headlines. This time around it was Class-A pitcher Thomas Pannone, who spun a one-hitter to lead the Lake County Captains over the Great Lakes Loons. Maybe more importantly for the immediate future, Giovanny Urshela seems to finally be finding his stroke, offensively.
The High-A Lynchburg Hillcats continue to surge, while the Double-A Akron RubberDucks struggle to get back on track after a hot start.
Columbus Clippers 8, Indianapolis Indians 7
Box Score · Clippers advance to 4-5
The Columbus Clippers completed their series win over the Indianapolis Indians with an exciting, extra innings game that resulted in the team producing their highest run total of the season. Every Columbus starter contributed at least one hit, while Erik Gonzalez and Giovanny Urshela added three apiece.
The scoring started early with Jesus Aguilar's home run (third of the season) in the first inning. However, the Indians immediately tied in the game in the bottom of the first -- a consistent story over the course of this game.
Columbus starting pitcher TJ House had a rough first inning, but he cruised through the next three. It was not until the fifth inning that he began to struggle when he walked three batters and gave up two doubles. The Indians took the lead at that point, up 4-2 by the end of the inning. The rest of the regular innings were a back-and-forth affair with both offense knocking on the other's bullpen. Josh Martin, who was recently returned to the organization by the San Diego Padres, allowed two runs on two hits in an inning of work.
This was a much-needed game for Urshela. He has struggled so far this season (1-24 PA heading into today), but hopefully now that he has his first multi-hit game of the season and a hit in two of the last three games he can regain some confidence as the Clippers head to Louisville to face the Bats.
Clippers batters, as a whole, racked up a season-high 17 hits and struck out just six times. The still sit third-to-last in the International League in hits and second-to-last in runs scored, however.
Akron RubberDucks 4, Bowie Baysox 9
Box Score · RubberDucks fall to 7-3
Much like their major-league counterpart, the Akron RubberDucks were sunk by just a couple bad innings that diminished an otherwise solid outing. Despite only tallying six hits, the Bowie Baysox scored nine runs off Akron pitching, eight of which came in only two innings.
Akron starting pitcher Dace Kime did not even make it out of the first inning. The first four Bowie batters made it on base -- all walks, including two batters hit by pitches. The damage could have been so much worse, but he did induce a groundball double play before he left the game, and DJ Brown was able to strike the final batter out after only four runs.
Brown held up for a solid three innings of work before being replaced by Antonio Romero to start the fifth inning. Romero promptly imploded, allowing a hit, a walk, and another hit against his first three batters. Bowie's Corban Joseph brought all three home with a bases-clearing triple, then he was brought home by a Jeff Kemp single.
Akron's normally potent offense was only able to put up six hits today, good for only four runs. They attempted a brief rally late in the eighth inning, but they were blanked in the final frame. Nellie Rodriguez hit his third home run of the season, but the rest of the RubberDuck offense did not do much more than slap singles, and a total of eight runners were left on base.
Lynchburg Hillcats 8, Frederick Keys 1
Box Score · Hillcats advance to 8-3
How could the Lynchburg Hillcats possible match their eight-run outburst on Saturday? Oh, I don't know, maybe do it again but not let the other team score? That's just what the Hillcats did in their series finale against the Frederick Keys, tallying 13 team hits in the game.
A big second inning that culminated in four hits and three runs put the Hillcats ahead early and they never stopped scoring from there. Mike Papi added a home run in the seventh inning, his fourth of the season. With that, Papi now leads the Carolina League in home runs (4), slugging percentage (.800), and he is second in on-base plus slugging (1.257). It took a little longer to warm up last year, but hopefully he is finding his stroke after just a handful of games in 2016. If that's the case, and this power output continues, he may get the call up to Double-A sooner rather than later.
Hillcats ace Justus Sheffield pitched in only 4.1 innings, but he allowed three hits and two walks while striking out four batters.
Lake County Captains 4, Great Lakes Loons 2
Box Score · RubberDucks advance to 8-3
And finally, the Lake County Captains rounded out Sunday with a 4-2 win over the Great Lakes Loon thanks to a fantastic one-hit performance from starting pitcher Thomas Pannone. Pannone threw six innings and struck out seven.
The Loons attempted a comeback in the eighth inning off of Captains reliever Dominic DeMasi, but they were cut short and Kieran Lovegrove was able to record a save in a shutdown ninth inning.
Catcher Francisco Mejia led the way offensively, going 2-for-4 with two doubles and a run scored. Leadoff hitter Nathan Lukes added another pair of hits himself while also walking twice and striking out once.