The Undercards: Merrill Kelly Dominates as Bulls Hold On for Victory


Merrill Kelly has certainly been a revelation this season for the Rays. In his first trek through the International League, Kelly has been one of the Bulls better performers since his first appearance on June 14th. After his first truly rough outing last time out, it was interesting to see how he would respond. As it turned out, he responded quite nicely.

Durham Bulls 2, Gwinnett Braves 1

After a mostly positive first season with the Bulls, Kelly struggled his last time out. However, he bounced back very nicely against the Braves last night. In fact, Kelly allowed only a first inning walk to Gwinnett, as he took a no hitter through the fifth inning. The Bulls rewarded his excellent outing in the top of the sixth, breaking through against Braves starter Joe Bisenius. Kevin Kiermaier tripled to lead off the inning, and scored on an error by third baseman Joe Leonard, allowing Cole Figueroa to reach. Leslie Anderson drove Figueroa in with a one out double to right, giving Kelly a 2-0 lead. The no hit bid ended with two out in teh sixth, as Jose Constanza singled to right on a ball that deflected off first baseman Shelley Duncan. Gwinnett got on the board in the seventh, as Alden Carrithers walked, and scored on a two base throwing error by Vince Belnome. After Stefan Gartrell singled with one out, that was the end of the night for Kelly. However, the Braves were unable to tie the game, and the bullpen stifled Gwinnett the rest of the way as the Bulls took a 2-1 win. Kelly gave up an unearned run on two hits and two walks, striking out six in 6.1 innings of work. Kiermaier was 2-4 with a triple and a run scored.

Jackson Generals (Mariners) 10, Montgomery Biscuits 1

Everything fell apart for the Biscuits in the second inning. The Generals scored six runs, hammering Biscuits starter Jacob Thompson as they sent eleven batters to the plate. The Biscuits got their run in the top of the fifth, when Curt Casali had an RBI double with two outs. That was about the extent of the positives for Montgomery in this game, as they lost 10-1. Thompson took the loss, getting hit around for six runs on seven hits and five walks in three innings. At least Casali has continued to hit, going 2-4 with a double and an RBI in the loss.

Jupiter Hammerheads (Marlins) 7, Charlotte Stone Crabs 2

The Stone Crabs took an early lead, as Willie Argo doubled to lead off the game, and scored on a double by Drew Vettleson. A sacrifice fly in the third made it 2-0 Charlotte, and the Stone Crabs seemed to be on their way as starter Grayson Garvin pitched three no hit innings. however, as he is making his way back from elbow surgery, that was the limit, and the Stone Crabs turned to Mario Fernandez. Fernandez continued the no hitter in the fourth, but the Hammerheads broke through in the fifth. Casey Kotchman broke up the no hitter with a leadoff single, and Jupiter loaded the bases with no outs. A groundout plated Kotchman with the first run, and the Hammerheads tied the game on a sacrifice fly. Wilfredo Gimenez had an RBI double, giving Jupiter the lead. The Hammerheads extended the lead in the sixth, scoring four runs highlighted by  two run single by Yordy Cabrera. The Stone Crabs were unable to get any closer, falling to the Hammerheads 7-2. Fernandez took the loss, giving up six runs, five earned, on five hits and two walks in 2.2 innings. Vettleson was 2-4 with an RBI and a double in the loss.

Bowling Green Hot Rods 6, Fort Wayne TinCaps (Padres) 4

Andrew Toles got the Hot Rods a run by virtue of his speed in the top of the first, as he singled to right, reached second on a failed pickoff attempt, stole third and scored on a throwing error. The TinCaps came back with three runs in the bottom of the third, as Reynaldo Bruguera and Gabriel Quintana each homered with two outs to put Fort Wayne on top. However, the Hot Rods rallied in the top of the fifth, taking advantage of more miscues by the TinCaps. Bowling Green had runners on first and second with one out when Brandon Martin flew out to center. Justin O’Conner tagged from second to move to third, but the throw in got away, allowing O’Conner to score. Toles reached on an error, allowing another run to score, and he once again took advantage of his speed. A balk moved Toles to second, and he stole third. Once again, the throw got away, allowing Toles to score. The Hot Rods and TinCaps traded runs in the sixth, and Thomas Coyle tripled in an insurance run in the seventh as the Hot Rods took a 6-4 victory. Jeff Ames struggled to keep the ball in the park, but picked up the win, giving up four runs on six hits and two walks, striking out four in seven innings. Toles was 2-5 with two runs scored and two stolen bases.

Hudson Valley Renegades 6, Brooklyn Cyclones (Mets) 4

After spotting the Cyclones a 2-0 lead through four, the Renegades came back in the fifth. Ty Young led off the inning with a double, and scored on a base hit by Darryl George. George advanced to second on the throw home, then took third on a wild pitch before scoring on a sacrifice fly to tie the game. Hudson Valley broke the tie in the seventh, loading the bases with one out, bringing up John Alexander. Alexander tripled to right, clearing the bases before coming around to score on a wild pitch. Brooklyn got two runs back on a two run homer by James Roche in the top of the eighth, but it was not enough as the Renegades held on for the 6-4 win. Eli Echarry earned the win in relief, giving up two runs on two hits, striking out three in 2.1 innings. Alexander was 1-2 with a triple, a run scored and four RBIs.

Princeton Rays v. Bluefield Blue Jays – suspended

With the Blue Jays ahead 1-0 in the third, the power went out at Bowen Field in Bluefield went out. By that, we don’t mean that the pitching dominated – the power just went out in the stadium due to a technical issue. Hopefully, everything will be ready for tomorrow, and the game will be continued on Friday.

GCL Rays 6, GCL Twins 4

The Rays and the Twins were locked in a battle, as each time the Rays would pull ahead, the Twins would tie the game in the bottom of the inning. With the score tied 3-3 after six, the Rays finally put the game away in the top of the seventh. Ryan Henley tripled to lead off the inning, and scored on a wild pitch. Adderly Rosa added a two out, two run single to give the Rays a three run lead. The Twins did their best to continue the trend, scoring a run in the bottom of the inning, but the Rays were able to slam the door and hold on for a 6-4 victory. Roel Ramirez earned the win, giving up two runs on five hits in four innings of relief. Nick Ciuffo was 1-3 with two walks, an RBI and a run scored.