Minor League Roundup: Salem loses 1-0, ‘Cats brawl, Richmond falls

Salem drops duel A couple righties named Matt were both brilliant on Thursday, but Winston’s Heidenreich narrowly outpitched Salem’s Barnes in the Dash’s 1-0 triumph that helped the visitors avoid being swept at LewisGale Field.

Matt Heidenreich tossed seven scoreless innings for Winston-Salem, allowing just four hits and one walk while striking out eight. Matt Barnes dealt five scoreless frames before giving up a run in the top of the sixth, and the lone Dash tally was enough to hand Salem the setback, its second 1-0 loss in the past five games.

Both pitchers were dominant early, as Barnes faced the minimum through three innings while Heidenreich retired 11 of the first 12 he faced. Each club mustered a pair of singles in the fourth, but the two righthanders escaped unscathed and the scoreless stalemate continued into the sixth.

The first two extra base hits of the night came consecutively in the top of the sixth, with Nick Ciolli and Juan Silverio pounding back-to-back doubles against Barnes to produce the game’s only run. The latter drove in the former and the Dash led 1-0. A failed suicide squeeze helped Barnes escape with just the one run allowed, and his outing concluded after six frames, tossing 64 pitches and 46 strikes. In six innings, Barnes allowed one run on five hits, striking out three (a career low) and walking none.

Twice in the final four innings, the Sox put a man in scoring position, but Salem never advanced a runner beyond second base. Drew Hedman recorded two of Salem’s four hits, including a sixth inning double, but the Sox went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position and stranded six on base. Jackie Bradley, Jr. and Xander Bogaerts also mustered one hit apiece for Salem.

Heidenreich improved to 2-0 against Salem and 4-1 overall, while Barnes slipped to 2-1 in the Carolina League, 4-1 overall. While his three strikeouts were the fewest in any outing in his career, he still is among the leaders in the minors with 70 strikeouts and just six walks over nine starts.

The Red Sox (25-18) remain a half-game ahead of the Dash (25-19) as the two clubs go their separate ways for the weekend, with Salem heading to Frederick and Winston journeying to Carolina. The Sox and Dash, battling for the first-half Southern Division crown, will meet four more times in the half in a series at LewisGale Field from June 4 through June 7.

Salem proceeds to Frederick for a three-game weekend set at Harry Grove Stadium beginning Friday night at 7:00. The pitching matchup is slated to feature Drake Britton against Trent Howard in the series opener.

 

‘Cats brawl, fall 8-6 A chippy game saw two ejections, benches clear and the Pelicans come away with 8-6 victory in the series finale against the Hillcats. It was a tough day for Aaron Northcraft on the hill, while Pelican’s starter fanned a nine for the third time this season.

It seemed the Hillcats would be off to a hot start in the muggy series finale in Myrtle Beach, the Hillcats scored a run in the top of the first thanks to an RBI double from Adam Milligan. However, it quickly became a Pelicans’ show.

Aaron Northcraft was on the hill for the ‘Cats when the Pelicans offense showed its first signs of life in the series. Odubel Herrera started with his first triple of the day, then Vinny DiFazio grounded out to shortstop Nick Ahmed, but Herrera scored to tie the game at 1-1.

The bottom of the third wasn’t as clean as the previous frame for the Pelicans’ offense. It started with Tomas Telis walking, followed by Jared Hoying hitting a sharp hopper to first baseman Chris Garcia. It seemed like Garcia should have made the play, however the official scorer ruled it a hit for Hoying. Christian Villanueva added an RBI single that scored Telis. Northcraft would fall behind 2-0 to Herrera, so the Hillcats intentionally walked him to load the bases. DiFazio would make them pay with a two-RBI double that scored Hoying and Villanueva to make it a 4-1 game. Jake Skole would mimic DiFazio and add a two-RBI double of his own. Herrera and DiFazio scored to extend the lead to 6-1.

Myrtle Beach added another run in the bottom of the fifth. Herrera’s second triple of the day preceded DiFazio’s second hit and fourth RBI of the day. The score was 7-1 and Northcraft’s day was over after allowing one more hit to Skole.Blaine Sims entered for Lynchburg and quickly enduced a double play to end the inning.

The sixth wasn’t as smooth for Sims. Telis hit a double down the left field line, before Hoying added his second infield single. It was Brett Nicholas getting in on the action with a fielder’s choice RBI ground out. Telis’ run would give the Pelicans a 8-1 lead.

Lynchburg fought back in the seventh starting with Matt Lipka’s single. Nick Ahmed would follow with a ground ball that had second baseman Santiago Chirino flip it to Herrera at short. A clean, hard slide broke up the play and knocked Herrera to the ground. Chirino took exception and exchanged words with Lipka; the players in each dugout began to walk on the field as Villanueva, Chirino and pitcher Randol Rojas circled Lipka. Umpire Aaron Larsen broke up the incident before it escalated. Tommy La Stella would extend his hit streak to 12 games with a single. Milligan reached base for the fourth time of the day with walk to load the bases. Garcia came through in the clutch with an RBI single to cut the lead to 8-2. Matt Weaver got his first hit of the day after Garcia, an RBI single to make it 8-3. Then, Robby Hefflinger worked a walk to get an easy RBI off Rojas and make it 8-4. The day would end for Rojas and Ben Henry would enter to face Chad Comer. With the bases loaded, Comer was retired. It was the third time on the day that Comer would end the inning with the bases loaded.

Things got chippy in the top half of the eighth. Lipka worked a walk and this time on the Ahmed grounder, it was a Herrera-to-Chirino flip that saw Lipka slide in hard and take out Chirino. Again, it was a clean slide that Chirino took exception to and this time Chirino popped up and got in the face of Lipka. A few words were exchanged before Chirino shoved Lipka, who responded by going chest-to-chest with the second baseman. The benches and bullpens cleared and the players were separated. Chirino was tossed and Manager Jason Wood was as well after a heated exchange with Larsen.

In the top of the ninth the Hillcats added another pair of runs. Edward Salcedo walked to start the inning, steal second and take third on a passed ball. An RBI ground out from Garcia cut the lead to 8-5. Weaver would walk and that ended the day for Ben Henry. Weaver took second on fielder’s indifference. Randy Henry entered and gave up a single to Comer and Weaver scored to cut it to 8-6. A long loud out off the bat off Lipka would end the game.

Getting the win was Roman Mendez (3-3). He went 5.2 innings, scattering six hits that led to one run. He also walked two and tied a season-high with nine “Ks”. Aaron Northcraft got the loss. He went 4.1 innings, was roughed up for seven runs on 10 hits. He walked three and fanned five.

The Hillcats return home for a weekend series with the Potomac Nationals. First pitch is set for 6:05 pm. Please join us at Calvin Falwell Field at Lynchburg City Stadium when gates open at 5:00 pm. Cody Martin (5-4, 3.28) will start for the Hillcats. Righty Trevor Holder (2-0, 6.00)  gets the nod for the P-Nats. If you can’t make it to the field, tune in and listen live to all the action on 105.5 FM KD Country and online at lynchburg-hillcats.com starting with the Hillcats On-Deck Show coming on the air at 5:40pm with Erik Wilson and Mike Viso.

 

Baysox salvage split The Bowie Baysox (19-27) walked off winners on Manny Machado’s single in the ninth inning, sinking the Richmond Flying Squirrels (22-25), 6-5.  Machado’s single plated pinch-runner Josh Barfield and allowed the Baysox to salvage a split in the four-game series.

After the Squirrels had tied the ballgame in the top of the ninth inning, right-hander Daryl Maday came on to work the bottom of the ninth.  Jonathan Schoop singled back through the middle to start the inning, and was pinch-ran for by Barfield.  Buck Britton bunted Barfield to second and he advanced to third base on a fly out from L.J. Hoes.  Richmond elected to walk Robbie Widlansky to pitch to the right-handed batting Machado.  He sent a single on the ground into center field to plate Barfield and end the ballgame.  Maday (2-4) absorbed his second loss of the series.

For the fourth consecutive ballgame in the series, the Squirrels struck first.  They manufactured an unearned run in the top of the first inning off of Bowie right-hander Tim Bascom.  Gary Brown led off and singled on the infield to the second baseman Brian Roberts.  In an attempt to cut down Brown, Roberts skipped the throw into the Bowie dugout.  Brown took second on the error, advanced to third on a groundout and scored for a 1-0 lead when Daniel Mayora sent a sacrifice-fly to right field.

Zelous Wheeler tied the ballgame in the second when he decked an 0-2 pitch from Fitzgerald over the left-field wall.  Wheeler’s fifth home run of the season leveled the ballgame, 1-1.

Both starters settled in, but the Baysox broke in front against Fitzgerald in the bottom of the fifth inning.  Allan de San Miguel got Bowie started with a one-out single.  Schoop followed with a single and Buck Britton drove in de San Miguel with a double into the right-field corner.  Hoes made it 3-1 with an RBI groundout and the Baysox added an unearned run when Chris Dominguez couldn’t handle a groundball Widlansky.

The Squirrels pulled back within a run in the top of the sixth inning against Bascom.  Brown ignited Richmond when he led off with his second hit off of Bascom.  Nick Liles followed with a single and Mayora crunched a double into the alley in right-center field to bring in both runners.

Fitzgerald (3-3) left after five innings and endured his third loss of the season.  He surrendered four runs – three earned – on five hits.  He walked one and struck out three.

The Baysox tacked a run onto their lead against left-hander Ari Ronick in the sixth inning, but the Squirrels got it right back in the top of the seventh to stay down just a lone run.

Bascom (4-2) called it a night after six innings and didn’t factor in the decision.  He turned in a quality-start, allowing three earned runs on seven hits.  He walked none and struck out three.

Right-hander Greg Burke worked a scoreless eighth inning, but allowed the Squirrels to tie the game, 5-5, in the ninth.  Ryan Cavan led off with a single and the Squirrels sent in pinch-runner Juan Perez.  He stole second base and advanced to third when Ehire Adrianza bounced out to the right-side.  Flores knotted the ballgame when lifted a sacrifice-fly to left field.  Burke (1-0) blew the save, but turned into the winner after the Baysox rally in the bottom of the ninth.

The Squirrels return home to open a four-game series with the Trenton Thunder (New York Yankees) at The Diamond on Friday night.  The series opener features a first pitch of 6:35 PM.  Richmond right-hander Craig Westcott (3-4, 4.13) will make the start against Trenton LHP Shaeffer Hall (4-4, 3.51). Pregame coverage will begin at 6:05 PM on Sports Radio 910 and SportsRadio910.com.


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