It was a very exciting day for Tribe affiliates yesterday as they went 4-1 overall and probably should have been 5-0.
Home runs were in fashion as Ronny Rodriguez decided to collect two for Triple-A Columbus while Bradley Zimmer and Nellie Rodriguez smashed one each for Akron and Tyler Krieger hit a dinger for the second game in a row in Lynchburg.
There were also some surprising pitching performances from some unheralded stars.
Columbus Clippers 5, Pawtucket Red Sox 4
Box Score · Clippers improve to 44-38
With Ryan Merritt being placed on the 7-day DL, Toru Murata was thrown into starting pitching duties with very little prep time, and he did a serviceable job, tossing four shutout innings on three hits without walking anyone.
The bullpen wasn't great, particularly Shawn Armstrong, who gave up three runs in the fifth inning, but the offense was led by Ronny Rodriguez, who had a huge 3-4 day with two home runs, a walk and four runs batted in.
Abraham Almonte also continued to be a big contributor, reaching base safely three times and stealing two bases as Columbus won despite being outhit 9-5.
Akron RubberDucks 7, Erie SeaWolves 3
Box Score · RubberDucks improve to 45-37
The anemic offense finally snapped out of it yesterday, as top Akron prospects Bradley Zimmer and Nellie Rodriguez had huge days. Zimmer went 2-5 at the plate with a double and a home run, a two run shot in the eighth inning, while Rodriguez went 3-4 also also hit a home run in the eighth.
Clint Frazier doubled and scored in the seventh inning and Joe Sever provided a two-run double to give Akron the lead for good in the seventh after they'd been trailing nearly all game.
Starting pitcher Julian Merryweather was much better this time around in his second appearance after being promoted, although he still needs to get his nerves under control. Merryweather walked two runners with the bases loaded in the first inning, but settled down after that to provide five innings without giving up any more runs. Normally known for his excellent control, Merryweather walked six on the day, so hopefully he can settle in a bit better his next time around.
Lynchburg Hillcats 7, Carolina Mud Cats 3
Box Score · Hillcats improve to 49-29
Backed by eight hits and a whopping nine walks on the day, Lynchburg rolled over Carolina. Recently promoted second baseman Tyler Krieger stayed red hot, going 2-3 with a home run, two walks and a stolen base, his second home run in as many days.
Bobby Bradley also reached safely three times, going 1-3 with a double, two walks and zero strikeouts. Top catching prospect Francisco Mejia extended his hitting streak to 27 games, socking a double in his first at bat of the day.
Starting pitcher Mitch Brown was all over the place, allowing one hit and one run in four innings, while striking out seven but also walking seven and throwing two wild pitches. Luke Eubank and Cameron were excellent in relief, although Trevor Frank had a shaky ninth inning to close it out.
Lake County Captains 3, Fort Wayne Tin Caps 2
Box Score · Captains improve to 44-35
Down 2-1 heading into the bottom of the ninth, Lake County roared back with a walkoff win. Nathan Lukes tied the game with an RBI single and the winning run scored on an error from the first baseman on a force attempt at the plate with the bases loaded.
Yonathan Mendoza initially put the Captains in the lead in the third inning with his first home run of the year.
The Captains received an excellent pitching performance from Brock Hartson, who seems to have earned a starting gig after providing spectacular long relief this season. Brock made Momma Hartson proud with six shutout innings, striking out six and walking three.
Cortland Cox promptly gave up the lead in his two innings of work, but Christian Meister held Fort Wayne at bay to give the late inning heroics a chance to succeed.
Mahoning Valley Scrappers 3, State College Spikes 4
Box Score · Scrappers fall to 3-12
Mahoning Valley had no business losing this game. The Scrappers outhit State College 10-6. They played errorless ball compared to three errors for the Spikes and every pitcher actually on the Scrappers roster was sensational.
The real blame goes to a pathetic 3-15 performance with runners in scoring position as well as a brutal rehab pitching appearance from Dace Kime, who gave up four runs in three innings against players he should be eating for breakfast.
Starter Aaron Cavale was great, tossing two shutout innings and striking out three while relievers Tanner Tully and Henry Martinez also threw a combined three shutout innings, striking out four more.
Leadoff hitter Gabriel Mejia had a big day, going 3-5, but he was only able to score one run due to the anti-clutch offense behind him.
Box Score · Indians improve to 14-10
An early offensive explosion aided by five errors from the Mets helped the DSL Indians easily pick up a victory. Wilbis Santiago led the way for the Indians, going 3-4 with two doubles and scoring three runs.
Jhan Rodriguez and Christopher De Jesus provided multi-hit games as well.
Starting pitcher Jhonneyver Gutierrez continued his surge of strong appearances, tossing five innings while giving up one run and striking out four. His ERA on the season is 1.61. The relievers weren't so hot, but the Indians were up 8-1 by the time Gutierrez left the game so they had plenty of room for error.
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The AZL Indians had their game postponed due to inclement weather.