Written by Various Authors
Norfolk plated three seventh inning runs to rally past the Durham Bulls 3-1 Thursday night at Harbor Park.
The Tides trailed 1-0 and had mustered just one hit through the first six innings against Bulls' starter Matt Torra (12-7) before breaking through in the decisive seventh frame. Ronny Paulino led off the inning with a single to left and moved to third on a one-out double by L.J. Hoes, chasing Torra from the contest. Steve Tolleson followed with a sacrifice fly off of Frank de los Santos to knot the score at 1-1, and Luis Exposito gave the Tides a lead one batter later with a single up the middle. Bill Hall then belted a pinch-hit double to right-center field, extending Norfolk's advantage to 3-1.
Oscar Villarreal and Zach Phillips made the lead stand up, as the duo worked two shutout innings of relief. Phillips worked a perfect ninth inning to register his seventh save of the season.
The late rally made a winner of Jason Berken (5-6), who allowed one run while scattering seven hits over seven innings of work. Berken struck out four without walking a batter, and he retired each of the final nine batters he faced. The only damage the Bulls could muster was a 4th-inning RBI single by William & Mary product Will Rhymes.
With the win, Norfolk (71-69) swept the three-game series from Durham and moved to two games over .500 with four games remaining. The Tides yielded just one run in 23 innings during the rain-shortened series. (Ian Locke)
A Wilson Betemit grand slam vaulted the Baysox to an 8-6 victory over the Erie SeaWolves Thursday night, clinching the team’s first playoff birth since 2008. With the win, the Baysox were able to earn the Western Division Wild Card spot.
A first round playoff matchup against the Western Division champion Akron Aeros looms, beginning Wednesday, September 5 after the team finishes the season with a trip to Harrisburg this weekend.
“It looks like a good Akron club is going to come in here and they are a team that deserves a lot of respect based on how they have played the whole year,” said Manager Gary Kendall. “We have our work cut out for us, but I like the way we have played against them. I think we are playing a little bit better and I think the last time we went there, we could have won the series.”
Baltimore Orioles infielder Wilson Betemit, who was with the Baysox on a Major League rehab assignment, started the game at third base. He went 2-4 and hit the go-ahead grand slam.
“I was feeling really good today,” Betemit said. “He gave me a good pitch to hit and I put a good swing on it. I was looking for something right down the middle and that’s where he threw it. It was a good feeling to help these guys get into the playoffs.”
Despite a playoff spot on the line for the Baysox, the game got off to a sloppy start as the two teams combined for four errors in the first inning. Each pitcher committed a throwing error on a pickoff attempt and Baysox center fielder Antoan Richardson made it all the way to third base before a hit was recorded thanks to a pair of errors.
Erie took an early lead in the top of the first inning against Baysox starter Eddie Gamboa. Jamie Johnson hit a lead off single to shortstop and moved to second base after a throwing error by Jonathan Schoop. Johnson moved to third base on a sacrifice bunt and scored when Nick Castellanos singled to center field to give the SeaWolves a 1-0 lead.
The Baysox tied the game in the bottom half of the inning against Erie starter Patrick Cooper. Richardson reached on a throwing error by second baseman Brandon Douglas and moved to third base after a throwing error on a pickoff attempt by Cooper. Left fielder Ty Kelly doubled to center field to plate Richardson and tie the game 1-1.
The SeaWolves took the lead right back in the top of the third inning. James McCann hit a lead off single and scored when Johnson tripled to left field. Niuman Romero followed with a two-run homerun to right field that gave Erie a 4-1 lead before an out had been recorded in the inning. After Gamboa retired the next two batters, he ran into more trouble. The next three batters singled with Rawley Bishop hitting an RBI single to center field that made the score 5-1.
The Baysox got one run back in the bottom of the third inning. Kelly drew a one out walk and moved to second base on a single to right field by Betemit. Designated hitter Robbie Widlansky plated Kelly with a single to center field that made the score 5-2.
Bowie stormed back into the lead in the bottom of the fourth inning. Catcher Caleb Joseph hit a ground-rule double to right field and moved to third base when second baseman Buck Britton singled to center field. Schoop followed with a RBI double to left field and Kelly drew a two out walk to load the bases. With one swing of the bat, Betemit put the Baysox back in the lead as he launched a grand slam into center field to make the score 7-5.
The Baysox added to their lead in the bottom of the fifth inning against Erie reliever Tyler Clark. First baseman Rhyne Hughes hit a lead off double to right field and scored when Britton doubled to right field to made the score 8-5.
Erie got one run back in the top of the ninth inning. McCann singled to center field and Johnson followed with a double to left-center field that moved McCann to third base. McCann scored on a wild pitch by Baysox closer Kyler Newby to make the score 8-6
Gamboa pitched six innings and allowed five earned runs on 10 hits while striking out five batters in the win. Baysox reliever Mike Belfiore pitched two scoreless innings in relief, not allowing a hit and striking out three batters. Newby pitched the ninth inning and allowed one run on two hits while striking out one batter for his 19th save of the season.
Cooper took the loss for Erie , pitching four innings and allowing seven runs (six earned) on eight hits while striking out two batters and walking two.
Frederick’s bid at a second half pennant in the north came to a close on Thursday night as the Keys dropped a 3-1 game in Salem. Wilmington defeated Myrtle Beach 9-3 so the Keys post-season hopes were erased. The Blue Rocks clinched the division also eliminating Potomac with their victory.
The Keys started Orioles first round pick Kevin Gausman who was outstanding. He worked three shutout innings allowing only one hit. He was spelled by RHP Eric Beaulac in the fourth. Frederick miscues opened the door to Salem in that frame.
With two outs and the bases clear, Salem CF Brandon Jacobs hit a fly ball down the right field line. Over ran Keys RF Jeremy Nowak but he lost it momentarily . When he found it he could not make the catch as the ball grazed his glove and Jacobs reached on a two-base error.
While DH Adalberto Ibarra batted, Jacobs raced for third before Beaulac made a move to the plate. Beaulac stepped off but threw errantly to third base. The ball went by 3B Travis Adair and Jacobs scored. Ibarra walked and then a triple from 2B Sean Coyle gave Salem the lead with two unearned runs.
Down 3-0 in the seventh inning 2B Jerome Pena singled, stole second and then scored on a two-out RBI-single from LF Steve Bumbry. But that was all the Keys could muster. They had two men on with one out in the 9th inning but the potential rally fizzled.
It marks only the third time in the last eight years the Keys will not play playoff baseball. Frederick and Potomac, who battled in both 2010 and 2011 in the Northern Division Championship Series, will not be headed back in 2012. (Adam Pohl)
The Delmarva Shorebirds (23-42) scored three runs in the seventh inning to defeat the Lakewood BlueClaws (33-32) 6-4 in the final home game of the season on Thursday night at Arthur W. Perdue Stadium in front of 6,841 fans.
Lakewood jumped out early on Juan Guzman and scored two runs in the first inning. Maikel Franco doubled home Aaron Altherr and Kelly Dugan scored on a wild pitch.
The Shorebirds tied the game in the fourth inning. Michael Ohlman hit a two run double to deep center field to even the score at 2-2.
Lakewood took a 4-2 lead in the fifth inning on a two run homer by Aaron Altherr.
The Shorebirds pulled within one run in the bottom of the fifth. Adrian Marin grounded an infield single to the left side to score Adam Davis, who led off the inning with a single.
In the bottom of the seventh, the Shorebirds scored three runs to build a 6-4 lead. Lucas Herbst singled to lead off the inning and later scored as Gregory Lorenzo beat out a potential double play ball that would have ended the inning. Then, Connor Narron ripped a double to right field to score two runs and give the Shorebirds a 6-4 edge.
Jason McCracken earned the win over 2.1 innings. He yielded five hits, but no runs. Gene Escat entered in the eighth inning with the bases and picked up a five out save. He struck out three of the five batters he faced. (Bret Lasky)
Yankees’ LF Taylor Dugas began the night after he was sent to first base after he was hit by RHP Jorge Rivera’s first pitch of the night. After the botched pitch to Dugas, Rivera threw five consecutive strikeouts over two innings. IronBirds put single runs on the board in both the second and third innings. A Yankee homer in the top of the ninth was not enough give the Yankees the lead. IronBirds secured the win, 2-1.
LPH Jorge Rivera started on the mound for the Birds Thursday night while RHP Gabriel Encinas took the mound for the Yankees.
In the bottom of the second inning DH Sam Kimmel blasted a home run, his second of the year, to right field giving the IronBirds the lead, 1-0.
SS Joel Hutter grabed an RBI single and brought CF Anthony Vega to home plate in the bottom of the third, furthering the Birds lead, 2-0.
With two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, DH Isaias Tejada homered off of P Tommy Winegardner putting the first run on the board for the Yankees. Next batter in line, 2B Jamiel Orozco, struck out and the IronBirds were able to end the inning and take the win, 2-1.
IronBirds Rivera (1-2, 3.55) claimed the win while Encinas (3-7, 5.27) was given the loss. Winegardner grabbed the save for the Birds, his ninth of the season. Rivera ended the night with a line of 5IP, 2H, 0R, 3BB, 8K (matching a career-high). (Tim Murray)
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