Gastonia 10, Staten Island 5 (Game 1)
GASTONIA, N.C. - The Gastonia Honey Hunters swept the Staten Island Ferry Hawks on Tuesday night by scores of 10-5 and 7-2 at Caromont Health Park.
Gastonia, coming off a three-game losing skid at the hands of the High Point Rockers, looked to recover from the series loss after a much needed day off.
Game one was a makeup of a May postponement that carried over from the first half of the season, a segment Gastonia had already claimed the South Division crown and a playoff berth. Staten Island was locked into the fifth spot in the AL´s North Division.
Staten Island opted to bring Neslon Figueroa out of retirement for a cameo start on the bump for the Ferry Hawks, as Gastonia countered with Ian McKinney. With Gastonia slotted as the road team, it gave the traveling juggernauts the chance to do what they have thrived at this season, scoring first.
And score they did! Early and often, as it were, on this afternoon.
In the contest, Gastonia collected ten hits, stole four bags and launched three homers out of Caromont Health Park.
Much of the production came from the bottom half of the lineup as three players earned multi-hit games. Jake Skole, Emmanuel Tapia and Alex Holderbach were the multi-hit culprits, as all three players slugged home runs in the contest, as well. Tapia lined a solo shot to right in the third, Holderbach a three-run dinger in the fourth and Skole´s drive a two-run poke in the fifth.
The offense was enough for Ian McKinney, who earned his fifth win on the year, supported by Tim Naughton´s two inning relief stint.
Figueroa, the 48-yea-old pitching coach, was saddled with the loss, throwing 119 pitches in his first effort since 2014.
In game two, Zach Godley returned from the injured list and took the ball for Gastonia, looking to go back over the 40 games over .500 mark on the season. Anthony Rodriguez was the opposite number for Edgardo Alfonzo´s club.
The second game was much tighter for Gastonia, as both clubs combined for only ten hits in the contest, as Gastonia needed a four-run sixth to create the needed breathing room for the sweep of the Ferry Hawks.
In the first, Jack Reinheimer scored on a single to right from Joseph Rosa to give Gastonia an early 1-0 lead.
Godley, limited to 30 pitches on the evening, departed with the Honey Hunters in front by that single run, turning the game over to Ezequiel Zabaleta.
Over Zabaleta´s two inning appearance, the Colombian right-hander threw two scoreless innings, bridging the game for the back of the vaunted Honey Hunter's bullpen.
Zabaleta got some assistance in the fourth as Luis Castro lifted his eighth homer of the season over the 25´ wall in left, stretching the Gastonia 3-0, scoring Luis Roman, who drew a one-out walk.
In the fifth, Gastonia manager Goose Gozzo went to Euclides Leyer to get Gastonia closer to the sweep. However, the usually reliable Leyer gave up two runs in the fifth, making it a 3-2 and bringing a potential momentum shift with it.
Sam Bordner came on in the sixth to keep things locked at 3-2.
In the sixth inning, Gastonia plated four runs, chasing Rodriguez from the game. Connor Law finished the sixth, but not before Gastonia sent nine men to the plate, putting Gastonia in a premium spot to make the weekend a distant memory.
In the seventh, Jesus Balaguer came on to retire three of the four batters he faced, sealing the sweep for Gastonia.
Zabaleta (4-0) claimed his fourth win of the season, pushing Gastonia(69-28,24-7) back to 41 games over .500 for the second time this year. The game one win gives Gastonia 45 wins in the first half, which goes down as one the superlative segments in the circuit´s quarter century in professional baseball.
For Staten Island (30-67,12-19), Rodriguez suffered the loss, taking his record to 4-7 on the year.
The Honey Hunters continue a four-game series against the Staten Island Ferry Hawks on Wednesday, as Randall Delgado will face off against Hector Guance at 6:15 pm.
Southern Maryland 7, High Point 3
WALDORF, Md. – Southern Maryland’s Braxton Lee hit three triples and drove in three runs to lead the Blue Crabs to a 7-3 win over High Point in the opening game of a three-game series at Regency Furniture Stadium. SMD’s Alex Merithew (W, 4-2) earned the win by holding the Rockers to just three hits over eight innings while striking out 11.
The lead see-sawed back and forth early with the Rockers taking a 1-0 advantage on a Jerry Downs solo homer in the first. Southern Maryland’s David Harris and Alex Crosby each collected RBIs in the bottom of the first to give the Blue Crabs a 2-1 lead.
Tyler Ladendorf hit his 16th homer of the year with Quincy Latimore aboard in the second as the Rockers went up 3-2.
But Ladendorf’s homer was High Point’s final hit of the night as Merithew stiffened and didn’t allow the Rockers another hit before leaving after the eighth inning. Endrys Briceno set the Rockers down in order in the ninth to secure the win.
The Rockers managed just two base runners over the final seven innings of the game, both in the third inning, when Downs was hit by a pitch and Zander Wiel reached on an error with each being stranded on base.
Southern Maryland tied the game in the bottom of the third on Lee’s first triple of the night to score Jack Sundberg. Lee then tripled again with two men on in the fifth to put the Blue Crabs up 5-3 before Alex Crosby grounded out to bring home Lee for a 6-3 Southern Maryland advantage. Lee’s third triple came leading off the seventh but he was stranded at third.
The Blue Crabs added an insurance run in the eighth when Michael Baca doubled following a Jared Walker double.
High Point starter Liam O’Sullivan (L, 1-4) went 4.1 innings and allowed five hits and six runs while walking four and striking out three. Reliever Cam Cotter pitched two-thirds of an inning and did not allow a run while Devin Fontenot hurled two scoreless innings. Joe Johnson allowed SMD’s final run in the eighth.
Sundberg added three hits for the Blue Crabs including a double and Crosby finished the night with two RBI.
The Rockers are now 11-20 in the second half and 50-47 on the season. Southern Maryland improved to 66-29 overall and 18-11 in the second half.
High Point and Southern Maryland will continue the three-game series on Wednesday at 6:35 p.m. at Regency Furniture Stadium.
Long Island 17, Lancaster 7
The Long Island Ducks and Lancaster Barnstormers waited an extra one hour, 54 minutes to get started on Tuesday evening.
For the Ducks, it was worth the wait.
Long Island scored three or more runs in five consecutive innings on Tuesday night, ending the Barnstormers nine-game winning streak with a 17-7 rout at Clipper Magazine Stadium.
The loss cut Lancaster’s lead over the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs to 2 ½ games in the second half north race.
Scott Harkin and Oscar De La Cruz kept the game scoreless through the first two innings. Vladimir Frias opened the scoring with a leadoff homer to right center off De La Cruz (6-2) in the third inning. Three more runs scored in the inning on RBI doubles by Alejandro de Aza, Deibinson Romero and Dustin Woodcock.
Lancaster pulled back within a run in the home third. Trace Loehr doubled to left to score Jake Hoover, who had walked. Loehr scored on a single to center by Melvin Mercedes, who went to second on a throw home. Mercedes, in turn, scored on a single by Andretty Cordero, taking steam out of the inning.
Lew Ford singled into right to drive home Matt Chamberlain in the top of the fourth. Three hitters later, Carlos Castro delivered two more with a bases loaded single into right for a 7-3 lead. A two-run single by Phil Caulfield and RBI base hit by Deibinso Romero extended the lead to 10-3.
Harkin was not able to survive the fifth as Lancaster charged back. Mercedes beat out a bouncer back toward the hill and scored on a double to left by Cordero. Cordero would score on an infield hit by Trayvon Robinson. Ariel Sandoval added a single to left, and, after Anderson Feliz struck out, Anthony Peroni and Hoover each singled home one as the ‘Stormers trimmed the lead back to three before Jose Jose (2-0) struck out Loehr to end the rally.
A grand slam by de Aza in the sixth made sure Lancaster would not get any closer.
The Barnstormers and Ducks meet again Wednesday at 6:30. Gray Fenter (1-0) will make his first start for Lancaster in the game. Fans may tune into Blue Ridge 11 and the Barnstormers YouTube Channel for the first pitch.
NOTES: Cordero has eight hits in the last two games, boosting his season average to .336…Mercedes has reached base in 32 of his last 33 games…Sandoval has hit safely in 13 of 14 games played…Both of De La Cruz’ losses have been to the Ducks…The 17 runs and 17 hits were both season highs off Lancaster pitching.
Charleston 9, York 8
Kentucky 5, Lexington 2 (Game 1)
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