The number of Tampa Bay Rays affiliates still playing was halved on Friday, as the Hudson Valley Renegades were eliminated with their loss. However, the Durham Bulls won their game to take a 2-1 lead in their playoff series.
Triple-A International League: Durham Bulls 3, Columbus Clippers (CLE) 2
With the best of five playoff series tied at 1-1, the Bulls managed to take this game to pull ahead. Matt Andriese had a decent start, allowing 2 runs on 3 hits an 2 walks in 5.0 innings while striking out 8. Andriese has been solid for the Bulls this season, posting a 3.77 ERA and a 2.7 BB/9. With Drew Smyly close to reaching his innings limit for the Rays, Andriese could be a candidate to replace him for the last couple of weeks this season. C.J. Riefenhauser, another pitcher who could find himself with the big league club once the Bulls’ season is over, threw 2.0 shutout innings behind Andriese while striking out 3. Josh Lueke and Adam Liberatore then finished things off by each throwing a scoreless inning.
The offense wasn’t anything special, but they got the job done. Jeremy Moore had a solid night, going 1 for 3 with a walk, a run scored, and an RBI. Tim Beckham also did a nice job, going 2 for 4 with an RBI. Beckham has played just 24 games in the minors this season because of an ACL injury, but regardless his versatility and ability to hit lefties could make him a call-up once the Bulls’ season concludes. Justin Christian added a pair of hits and a walk to cap off a solid night for the Bulls.
Short Season-A New York-Penn League: State College Spikes (STL) 2, Hudson Valley Renegades 1
Hudson Valley scored a single run in the top of the 1st, and for a while it looked like that would be enough to win them the decisive game three. Chris Pike was brilliant as the starter, throwing 6.0 scoreless innings and allowing 3 hits and a walk while striking out 4. Pike was a budget pick in the 9th round this season, signing for just $7,500 dollars and thus bringing few expectations with him into pro ball. Despite that he has had a nice year for the Renegades, posting a 2.72 ERA and a 44-15 K-BB in 53.0 innings. Mike Franco came on after Pike to throw a scoreless 7th, however he encountered trouble in the 8th, allowing a run and departing with the bases loaded. At that point the game was all tied up, but Kyle McKenzie proceeded to allow an inherited runner to score the go-ahead run, and ultimately that would lead to the Renegades being eliminated from the playoffs.
The offense could not come through to get the win despite the solid job by the pitching staff. Their 6 hits could have been better, but they had chances and could not capitalize, going 1 for 5 with runners in scoring position. Braxton Lee had a nice game, going 2 for 3 with a walk and a run scored. Lee’s .287 average and .350 on the season are solid marks, though his .332 slugging leaves more to be desired. Jace Conrad also added a pair of hits, but that could not keep the Renegades from elimination.