The Durham Bulls were the bright spot on the minor league circuit last night thanks to strong hitting from top prospects and veterans alike, as well as a stout pitching performance from Enny Romero. Unfortunately, the rest of the minor league teams could not prevail.
Triple-A International League: Durham Bulls 8, Charlotte Knights (CHW) 1
After allowing 8 runs last night to Charlotte, the Durham Bulls came back to score 8 themselves tonight. Each of the top four batters in the lineup had a great night. Leadoff hitter Justin Christian hit a home run, walked twice, and scored three runs to continue a torrid start to his season. Kevin Kiermaier also continued his hot hitting, going 2 for 5 with a triple, two runs scored, and a pair of RBIs. Yet another on-fire hitter, Jerry Sands raised his average for the season to .370 with a 3 for 5 night that included two doubles and two RBIs. Cleanup-hitter Wilson Betemit went 2-4 with a walk and is now hitting .318 for the season. If the Rays’ hitting continues to sputter, they can rest easy that they have plenty of capable hitters in Durham that can come up and provide an offensive spark.
Bulls’ pitchers continued their audition to fill in for Matt Moore‘s slot in the rotation. Enny Romero got the win with 5.2 innings of 3 hit ball, striking out 8 and walking just two while giving up just one unearned run. C.J. Riefenhauser struck out 3 in 1.2 innings pitched, and Kirby Yates got his third save with 1.2 scoreless innings and three strikeouts. Overall, a solid all-around night for the Durham squad.
Double-A Southern League: Mobile Bay Bears (ARI) 6, Montgomery Biscuits 0
Victor Mateo took his second loss of the season, allowing 4 runs and seven hits in 5.1 innings. Andrew Bellatti relieved Mateo in the sixth and yielded another 2 runs and three hits. Sam Runion did pitch a scoreless 1.1 innings to finish the game, but he would be the only bright spot for the Biscuits in this contest. The offense put ten men on base during the game, but were unable to drive in any of them thanks to a lack of clutch hitting. The lone bright spot of the game was Richie Schaffer, who went 2-4 with a double, which was the Biscuits’ only extra base hit. Cameron Seitzer, Curt Casali, Willie Argo, and Ryan Brett also all had hits for the Biscuits. The Biscuits offense could not come up with the timely hitting to bail out the pitching staff in this one.
High-A Florida League: Fort Myers Miracle (MIN) 10, Port Charlotte Stone Crabs 6
Port Charlotte put up a valiant effort, but couldn’t overcome the six runs that home team Fort Myers scored in the first two innings off Bruedlin Suero. Suero gave up a two-run homer to Adam Walker in the bottom of the first, and struck out the first two batters in the bottom of the second before the roof completely fell in. He gave up a single, a walk, another single, and then a bases clearing triple to allow the Miracle to score three quick runs. Ryan Garton replaced Suero and put out the fire in the second, but subsequently gave up two runs in the bottom of the third, which put the Miracle comfortably ahead. The Stone Crabs did manage to outscore the Miracle from the fourth inning on 6-2, but it wasn’t enough to overcome the runs that they spotted the Miracle in the first three frames.
Leading the way offensively was first baseman Patrick Leonard, who went 2-4, scored two runs and drove in two. Stone Crabs’ center fielder Andrew Toles went 2-3 with a stolen base, and catcher Maxx Tissenbaum got two hits in four at-bats with an RBI. Left-fielder Marty Gantt also had a solid 2-4 day, and is now hitting .500 on the early season. The Stone Crabs had plenty of offense to go around, but couldn’t make up for the pitching staff’s woes.
Low-A Midwest League: Burlington Bees (LAA) 5, Bowling Green Hot Rods 2
21 year-old center fielder James Harris smacked a home run in the top of the third inning for his first hit of the season. Then in the fourth inning, Kean Wong tripled home Alexander Simon for the second and final Hot Rod run of the game. Wong has looked good so far despite the aggressive assignment, and is impressing after being take in the 4th round just last year. That just about sums up the entire night offensively for the Hot Rods, as they managed just four hits while striking out nine times.
In a night when the Hot Rods needed a stellar pitching performance, Jacob Faria could not provide one. He gave up five runs, albeit two unearned, and let up five hits while striking out three in his four innings of work. Luis Cabrera and Colton Reavis each pitched two scoreless innings in relief, but it was not enough to overcome Faria’s poor outing. Reavis didn’t yield a hit in his two innings of work, but he did walk five batters to make the last couple of innings interesting. The pitching staff wasn’t awful as a whole, but giving up five runs is not going to get the job done when the offense is having an off-night.