At the start of the year, it was felt that the Durham Bulls had a second major league ready starting rotation. Prospects such as Chris Archer, Jake Odorizzi and Alex Torres were at the forefront, but the unheralded J.D. Martin has turned out to be in the midst of the best season of any of the starters for the Bulls. Essentially a minor league journeyman who has not been in the majors since 2010, Martin may be making a case for another chance at the majors come September, as he was 13-4 with a 2.76 ERA heading into last night’s action.
Durham Bulls 2, Toledo MudHens (Tigers) 1
J.D. Martin continued his excellent performance for the Bulls, but it was not easy. The MudHens got a run in the bottom of the second, putting the first two runners on before Kevin Russo singled to center to drive in the first run of the game. Toledo appeared poised to extend that lead in the fourth, loading the bases with one out. Yet Martin was able to work out of trouble, inducing Jordan Lennerton to ground into a double play to end the threat. The Bulls rewarded Martin’s efforts in the top of the sixth. With runners on first and second and one out, Jason Bourgeois singled to center to tie the game. After a walk loaded the bases, Chris Gimenez walked to force in a run. That run would hold up, as the Durham bullpen held the Bulls to only one baserunner over the final three innings to preserve the 2-1 victory. Martin earned the win, scattering nine hits and a walk over six innings of one run ball. Brandon Gomes continued his rehab, and struck out the side in the seventh. Tim Beckham had a solid day out of the leadoff spot, going 1-2 with a double, two walks and a run scored.
Mississippi Braves 3, Montgomery Biscuits 2
The Biscuits caught a bit of a break in the top of the first. Shawn O’Malley led off with a double, and Robby Price followed with a line drive to first for an out. Seeing that O’Malley had strayed from second, Braves first baseman Barrett Kleinknecht attempted to double him off, but threw wildly, allowing O’Malley to reach third. A groundout scored O’Malley, and the Biscuits took an early lead. The Braves tied the game on an RBI single by Omar Luna in the second, but Montgomery took the lead back in the fifth. Curt Casali hit a ground rule double, moved to third on a groundout and scored on Mayo Acosta‘s base hit. The Braves came right back in the bottom of the inning, putting runners on second and third with no outs. After a sacrifice bunt tied the game and moved the runner to third, Christian Bethancourt hit a sacrifice fly to give Mississippi the lead. The Biscuits had a chance to tie the game at the very least in the top of the eighth, putting runners on first and third with no outs, but Juan Jaime struck out the next two batters before Pat Egan got Robby Price to ground out to end the threat. Montgomery was unable to put together another scoring chance in the ninth, as the Braves held on to the 3-2 victory. Enny Romero took the loss, giving up three runs on seven hits and a walk over seven innings. The Biscuits only managed five baserunners in the game, yet still put up an excellent fight.
Charlotte Stone Crabs v. Lakeland Flying Tigers (Tigers) – cancelled
Due to impending rain and poor field conditions, the game between the Stone Crabs and the Flying Tigers was cancelled, and will not be made up.
Bowling Green Hot Rods 4, Dayton Dragons (Reds) 1
The entire game was decided on one swing of the bat in the second inning. With two outs and the bases loaded, Brandon Martin came up to bat. Martin delivered, belting a grand slam to left center to put the Hot Rods in front. Dayton got a run back in the top of the third, as Beau Amaral and Sammy Diaz had back to back doubles, but Reinaldo Lopez was able to keep the Dragons off the board the rest of the way. The Dragons got a runner as far as second twice after the third, but were unable to push another run across as Bowling Green took the 4-1 victory. Lopez earned the win, giving up a run as he scattered six hits and two walks over six innings. In addition to the grand slam, Martin also chipped in a double and a walk as he went 2-3 on the night. Luke Maile was 3-4 with a double and a run scored in the win.
Hudson Valley Renegades 3, Vermont Lake Monsters (A’s) 2
The lake Monsters broke the ice first, as Jaycob Brugman walked, stole second with two outs and scored on a base hit by Ryan Gorton. Hudson Valley came back in the bottom of the third, as James Harris tripled and scored on a double by Julian Ridings. Ridings attempted to stretch the hit into a triple, but was thrown out at third for the second out of the inning. For a while, it seemed as though that out would come back to haunt the Renegades, especially as Ariel Soriano followed with a base hit and Hudson Valley was unable to get a runner past second after that inning. However, the Renegades bats came back to life in the eighth. Harris doubled with one out, and was driven in by a base hit by Ridings. He took second on the throw home, and scored on a base hit by Ty Young to give Hudson Valley a two run advantage. The Lake Monsters put together a two out rally in the top of the ninth, as Melvin Mercedes drove in a run before two walks loaded the bases. However, Justin Choate got Ryon Healy to fly out to center to end the game as the Renegades held on for the 3-2 victory. Eli Echarry picked up the victory, pitching three shutout innings of relief while giving up a hit and a walk. Ridings factored into all three runs, as he was 2-4 with a double, a run scored and two RBIs. Harris was 2-3 with a double and a triple, scoring twice.
Princeton Rays 14, Burlington Royals 0
The Princeton Rays have had a rough season. After 40 games, they find themselves 17 games out of first, and with the worst record in the Appalachian League. Yet, everything came together for them last night, as they took out a season’s worth of frustrations on the Royals. Scoreless through the first two and a half innings, the Rays offense came to life in the bottom of the third, scoring four runs highlighted by a two run bases loaded single by Travis Flores. The Rays put another four runs on the board in the fourth, as Johnny Eierman hit a two run home run and Elias Torres had an RBI double with no outs, and Jesus Araiza hit a sacrifice fly for the final run of the inning. After Yoel Araujo homered in the fifth, the Rays truly put the game out of reach in the eighth, scoring five more runs. Eierman capped the scoring, belting a three run homer for his second home run of the game. Meanwhile, Jacob Faria held the Royals in check over six strong innings for the victory, striking out five while allowing only five hits. Hunter Wood picked up what may be the easiest save of his career, pitching the final three innings and allowing only two hits. In a game with plenty of offense, Eierman was the star, going 2-4 with two home runs, five RBIs and a walk.
GCL Twins 3, GCL Rays 2
The Rays jumped out to the early lead, as Kean Wong doubled with two outs and scored on a base hit by Nick Ciuffo. They extended the lead in the third, as the Rays had Wond and Ciuffo on first and second with two outs. Jeremy Hadley grounded to third, but Chad Christensen misplayed the ball, allowing Wong to score. Ciuffo attempted to score from first on the play, but was thrown out to end the inning. That missed opportunity would prove costly, as the Twins tied the game in the bottom of the fourth on Christensen’s two run triple. The score remained tied until the bottom of the ninth. With one out, Joel Polanco struck out, but reached on an error by catcher Taylor Hawkins. Will Hurt entered as a pinch runner, and promptly stole second before scoring on a double by Jason Kanzler to give the Twins the 3-2 victory. Geisel De La Cruz took a tough loss, giving up one unearned run on five hits and a walk over 3.1 innings of relief. Wong had an excellent day for the Rays, going 3-4 with a double and two runs scored.