The Undercards: Merrill Kelly Strikes Out Ten in Bulls Debut
By David Hill
Getting that callup to the AAA level must be an exciting event for a player, especially when it is the first time they have received such a call. Now, that young player finds themselves on step away from their dream – pitching in the major leagues. Merrill Kelly found himself in such a spot last night, as he made his debut for the Durham Bulls with an eye towards hopefully getting that call to Tampa.
Indianapolis Indians (Pirates) 6, Durham Bulls 4 (Ten innings)
Kelly’s start began well, as he blanked the Indians over the first four innings, striking out seven batters. But he began to tire, and Indianapolis got to Kelly with two outs in the top of the fifth. Tony Sanchez singled, then scored on a double by Jerry Sands to break the scoreless tie. The Indians added on in the sixth, when Kelly gave up a leadoff walk, then surrendered a two run home run to Matt Hague. A one out base hit marked the end of Kelly’s night, and the Indians held a 4-0 lead heading into the bottom of the sixth. The Bulls took advantae of some sloppy defense by Indianapolis, as Wil Myers reached on an error, and moved to second on a base hit. After a line out to second, Josh Harrison attempted to double up Myers, but threw the ball away allowing the runners to advance. With two outs, Cole Figueroa drove in both runners with a base hit, cutting the lead to 4-2. Durham tied the game in the seventh, as Vince Belnome hit an RBI triple, then scored on a passed ball. The score remained tied into the top of the tenth, when the Indians got solo home runs from Brett Carroll and Sands to jump back on top. The Bulls were unable to mount a comeback in the bottom of the inning, as they fell to the Indians by a 6-4 score. Steve Geltz took the loss, giving up the two solo home runs in his inning of work. Kelly had a solid start, giving up four runs on six hits and a walk, while striking out ten in 5.1 innings. Belnome and Jason Bourgeois each had two hits in the loss.
Jacksonville Suns (Marlins) 6, Montgomery Biscuits 2
After Mark Canha hit a solo home run to give the Suns a 1-0 lead, the Biscuits came back with a run of their own in the top of the third. Robi Estrada reached on an error, then moved up to third on a pair of ground outs. Mikie Mahtook doubled to left to even the score. Montgomery took the lead in the fourth, as Todd Glaesmann led off the inning with a double, moved to third on a ground out, and scored on a sacrifice fly. However, that lead would be short lived, as the Suns came back as they had the previous night. With two out and runners on first and second, Noah Perio doubled to give the Suns the lead, then came around to score on a double by Danny Black. The Suns added two more runs as Kyle Jensen and Jake Marisnick hit solo home runs en route to the 6-2 defeat of the Biscuits. Victor Mateo took the loss, allowing four runs on three hits and three walks, striking out six in four innings. Glaesmann and Mahtook were each 2-4 with two doubles in the loss.
Lansing Lugnuts (Blue Jays) 3, Bowling Green Hot Rods 1
Bowling Green starter Sean Bierman and Lansing starter Roberto Osuna found themselves locked in a pitcher’s dual, as both teams were scoreless heading into the fifth. There, the Hot Rods were able to put a run on the board, as Leonardo Reginatto singled to lead off the inning. After a pickoff attempt went awry, Reginatto moved up to third, where he scored on a base hit by Marty Gantt. Unfortunately, Bierman was unable to make that run stand up, as the Lugnuts came back in the bottom half of the inning. Kevin Patterson singled to lead off the inning, and moved to second on a passed ball. With one out, Carlos Ramirez reached on an error to put runners at the corners. Emilio Guerrero then followed with his first home run of the season to give Lansing a 3-1 lead. The Hot Rods had a couple of scoring chances, but were unable to push across any more runs as they fell by the 3-1 score. Bierman took the loss, allowing three runs, two earned, on three hits and two walks, striking out six in six innings. Reginatto and Gantt each had two hits, and Tyler Goeddel was 1-4 with a double to account for the Hot Rods offense.