Jun 14, 2014; Omaha, NE, USA; Louisville Cardinals infielder Grant Kay (7) celebrates scoring a run against the Vanderbilt Commodores during game two of the 2014 College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha. Vanderbilt defeated Louisville 5-3. Mandatory Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports
Low-A Midwest League Game 1: West Michigan WhiteCaps (DET) 3, Bowling Green Hot Rods 2 (11 innings)
This was another extra-inning contest between a Rays affiliate and a Tigers affiliate, but we won’t have as much to say about this one. An Alec Sole double and a Cristian Toribio RBI single tied this game at 1 in the seventh, but after Brian Miller allowed 2 runs in the top of the 11th, a Thomas Milone RBI single to score Toribio was all the Hot Rods could muster. Sole and Toribio both had big games, with Sole going 2 for 4 with a double, a walk, and a run scored while Toribio went 2 for 5 with a double, an RBI, and a run. Milone also went 2 for 5 with a walk and an RBI while Justin Williams went 2 for 5 with an outfield assist.
Hyrum Formo lasted 3 innings for the second time in his last three starts, but he didn’t pitch poorly, allowing 1 run on 4 hits in 3 innings, striking out 2 without a walk. This was just a matter of this being a suspended game that resumed in the bottom of the third inning. Ryan Pennell followed with 3 shutout innings allowing a hit and 2 walks while striking out 4 before Edgar Gomez got Bowling Green through the 10th with 4 scoreless frames. Lakeland got 5 hits off of him, but he struck out 1 and forced a 7-2 groundout to flyout ratio.
Game 2: Bowling Green 11, West Michigan 3 (7 innings)
Needless to say, this game went a lot more smoothly for the Hot Rods. Grant Kay was awesome and might have gotten the headline on a different day (he wasn’t even close for this one), going 3 for 4 with 3 doubles and 2 RBI. Bowling Green hasn’t treated Kay nearly as well as Hudson Valley did, but he now has a .340/.380/.426 line in his last 101 plate appearances. He is coming alive, and maybe his story is not over quite yet.
Alec Sole and Justin Williams each gave themselves 2 strong performances on the day as Sole went 3 for 4 with an RBI and a run scored while Williams went 2 for 3 with a walk, an RBI, and 2 runs scored. Williams’ .295/.316/.427 line on the season is good (not to mention the fact that he has been going off the last 2 months), but it would be great if he could reel in his strikeout to walk ratio from its current 72-11 mark. Coty Blanchard also went 3 for 4 with a run scored while Hunter Lockwood went 2 for 4.
On the mound, Bradley Wallace came one out short of a quality start as he tossed 5.2 innings allowing 3 runs on 6 hits, striking out 4 while walking 1. He had to settle for just getting the win in the game. Wallace, a low-cost signing as the Rays’ 10th round pick in 2014, pitched well in 4 relief appearances in Hudson Valley to earn a bump to the Hot Rods’ rotation, and he has at least held his own so far. He now has a 4.29 ERA and a 15-5 strikeout to walk ratio in 21 innings across his 4 starts. Edwin Fierro then finished the game by getting past a walk with a strikeout in 1.1 hitless frames.
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Short Season-A New York-Penn League: Brooklyn Cyclones (NYM) 7, Hudson Valley Renegades 1
Travis Ott had a rough start in this game, allowing 6 runs, 5 earned in 3 innings, but at least the rest of the Renegades’ pitchers looked good and there were some offensive highlights. Luis Urena followed by allowing a run on 1 hit in 3 innings, striking out 1. The converted position player and former minor league Rule 5 pick has looked sharp so far, pitching to a 2.61 ERA and a 17-2 strikeout to walk ratio in 20.2 innings pitched. He has nearly doubled his strikeout rate from last season while also improving his walk and homer rates. Cristopher Crisostomo then pitched 2 shutout innings, allowing 2 hits while striking out 1 and getting his other 5 outs on the ground, before Diego Castillo finished the game with a perfect frame with 2 strikeouts.
The Renegades managed just 4 hits, but Cade Gotta did go 2 for 4 with a double while Joe McCarthy went 1 for 2 with a double, 2 walks, and the lone RBI. McCarthy has been impressive in a few different regards in his pro debut, hitting .295 with a .375 OBP. He has walked 10 times against 7 strikeouts and has also swiped 8 bases in 10 attempts. However, his power still hasn’t returned after his back injury as he has just a .346 slugging percentage to this point. He is stealing bases–he isn’t as though he’s still injured–and hopefully the strength in his swing will soon return.
Next: Rookie Ball and a Milestone Homer