The Undercards: Hunter Wood, Hot Rods Hurl 6-Hit Shutout

By Robbie Knopf

As the Tampa Bay Rays’ extra-inning contest with the New York Yankees approached 6 hours, it was nice to see at least one Rays affiliate play a game in under 3. With Hunter Wood leading the way the Bowling Green Hot Rods held the Great Lakes Loons to just 6 hits in their 2-0 victory.

Triple-A International League: Columbus Clippers (CLE) 4, Durham Bulls 3

Tough loss for the Bulls as they lost the game that the Rays have found themselves winning lately. Mike Montgomery rebounded from allowing a run in the first inning to toss scoreless ball for the next four frames, but his own error was a major factor as he allowed 2 runs while recording just 1 out in the 6th. Overall, he went 5.1 innings allowing 3 runs on 7 hits, striking out 3 while walking 2. His groundout to flyout ratio was an outstanding 9-1. If we get to the point where 3 runs in 5.1 innings is a bad start when we would have described it as “encouraging” just last season, we know that Montgomery has been doing well. Jeff Beliveau followed by retiring all five batters he faced, 4 via the strikeout, before Steve Geltz allowed the deciding run in the 8th. At the plate, Durham managed just 5 hits but made them count, getting RBIs from Vince Belnome (triple), Wilson Betemit (double), and Roman Ali Solis (single). Some guy named Mark Lowe struck out the side in the 9th to nail down the save for Columbus.

Double-A Southern League: Huntsville Stars (MIL) 9, Montgomery Biscuits 1

Sorry, Biscuits, but there is no way to brand this game as anything but an unadulterated disaster. Mike Colla started and tossed shutout ball for the first 4 innings, but he allowed a run in the 5th before crumbling for 3 more after a Jake Hager error. Bryce Stowell then allowed 3 runs in just 1.2 innings before Santiago Garrido allowed 2 runs while failing to record an out. At least Jim Patterson allowed just 1 hit in the final 1.1 innings to end the carnage. In terms of the offense, Richie Shaffer had the only RBI on an RBI double as the Biscuits managed just 4 hits.

Low-A Midwest League: Bowling Green Hot Rods 2, Great Lakes Loons (TOR) 0

After yet another win on Friday, the Hot Rods are 10-17. That’s downright incredible after they started just 2-13. In this game, Hunter Wood delivered another great start, going 5 innings allowing just 3 hits, striking out 3 while walking 2. His stuff was not quite as overpowering as it had been in previous starts, but he lowered his ERA to 2.82 as he went his third straight start without allowing an earned run. Wood was excellent at Princeton last year and the Rays pushed him to Bowling Green to see if he could keep it up. He most certainly has.

Behind Wood, Brad Schreiber allowed just 1 hit over the next 2 innings, striking out 2, before Ian Kendall worked around 2 hits and a walk to finish off the 6-hit shutout. Kendall was not at his best, but he now has a 1.23 ERA in 14.2 innings pitched, striking out 17 in the process. He has also walked 8 (4.9 BB/9), but that hasn’t meant much when he has also allowed just 8 hits. In regards to the run support, the Hot Rods actually managed just 5 hits themselves but strung together 3 in the fourth including an Armando Araiza RBI single. Araiza went 1 for 3 with a walk in the game and Pat Blair also played very well, going 1 for 1 with 2 walks. Blair has been on fire of late, managing a .368/.489/.500 line with 9 walks against just 6 strikeouts in his last 10 games to give him a .310/.424/.423 line on the season.