Posted: 10:00 a.m. Friday, Sept. 6, 2013
By Anthony Boyer
As many of you have no doubt heard, the Astros' second round draft pick in 2009, Tanner Bushue, has decided to retire from baseball. With Jio Mier struggling at the plate, and Telvin Nash nowhere to be found, the 2009 draft class isn't looking so hot right now. There's still a small chance for redemption among players like Jonathan Meyer, Dallas Keuchel, and J.D. Martinez, but the top end of the draft has certainly not performed as expected.
What Happened Was...
Omaha leads series 2-0
The Oklahoma City RedHawks had the best home record of any team in the Pacific Coast League during the regular season, going 47-26 at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark. Unfortunately, the venue hasn't been quite as kind to them in the playoffs, as the Omaha Storm Chasers (KCR) rode a five-run sixth inning to their second consecutive victory on Oklahoma City's home turf, taking a 2-0 series lead with them as the teams travel to Omaha's Werner Park to finish off the best-of-five series.
Omaha got the scoring started in the second inning with a sacrifice fly off the bat of Lane Adams, who walked earlier in the inning. They extended their lead to 2-0 in the top of the fourth inning when Adams scored on a Paulo Orlando groundout.
That's when the RedHawks rally began.
Jose Martinez singled to lead off the bottom of the fourth inning for Oklahoma City, and was followed by a George Springer walk. A wild pitch advanced them both into scoring position for Brandon Laird, who laced a single to left field, scoring Martinez. Jon Singleton wiped the bases clean with a three-run home run to give Oklahoma City a 4-2 lead.
With two outs in the fifth inning, Eric Berger replaced starter David Martinez, who had just given up a double to Orlando. Berger was able to end that inning with a strikeout, but the next inning would prove to be his - and Oklahoma City's - undoing.
Omaha's Mitch Canham reached on an error, scoring Rey Navarro to cut the RedHawks' lead to one. Gorkys Hernandez followed with an RBI double to tie the game before Irving Falu's two-run double moved the Storm Chasers up 6-4. Ben Broussard would follow with an RBI single of his own, giving Omaha the 7-4 lead that would prove to be the final score.
Four of Omaha's runs were unearned, thanks to three errors by the RedHawks defense: Two by shortstop Raoul Torrez and the third by first baseman Jon Singleton. The Oklahoma City pitching staff also combined to walk (6) more batters than they struck out (5) in the game.
The series moves to Omaha's Werner Field today, with first pitch at 7:05 PM CT. You can listen to the game on 1340thegame.com, or through the IHeartRadio mobile app, as well as through Gameday audio on MiLB.com.
Series tied 1-1
Eddie Bonine wasn't exactly the master of control through his seven innings on the mound for the San Antonio Missions (SDP), but through his five hits allowed, three walks, two hit batsmen, and just two strikeouts, he did not allow a single Hooks batter to cross the plate. Bonine carried a no-hitter into the fourth inning. Of the eventual five hits he gave up, all were singles.
The win by San Antonio ties the series at one game apiece.
In contrast to the ineffective Corpus Christi bats, the Missions scraped together twelve hits, including seven off of starter Nick Tropeano. But it would prove to be one of the two walks he issued that haunted him.
Cory Spangenburg earned a walk to lead off the fourth inning, coming around to score the eventual game-winner on am Adam Buschini double. Buschini would also come around to score later in the inning when Yeison Asencio doubled him in.
Bonine cruised until the seventh inning, which Matt Duffy led off with the Hooks' third hit of the night. Drew Muren followed him with a single of his own, and the Hooks were threatening with no outs, down 2-0. Kike Hernandez popped out to catcher Rocky Gale on a bunt attempt, and pinch-hitter Michael Burgess flew out, with Muren still representing the tying run.
Ronald Torreyes notched a line drive single, but centerfielder Rico Noel - who'd been thrown out at home in game one of the series - came up with his own outfield assist, gunning down Duffy at the plate.
Bonine combined with relievers Tim Sexton and Jeremy McBryde shut down the Hooks the rest of the way, not allowing a single runner through the final two innings to preserve the 2-0 victory for San Antonio.
The teams head to San Antonio for game three today at 7:05 PM CT. Luis Cruz, who struck out a career-high 14 batters in a complete game, two-hit shutout the last time he pitched in San Antonio, will take the mound for the Hooks against the Missions' righty, Donn Roach.
Quad Cities wins series, 2-0
Rio Ruiz has been red hot so far in the Midwest League playoffs. After going 2-for-2 in game one of the series, Ruiz - the 4th-round pick by the Astros in the 2012 draft - went 2-for-3 with a home run to pace the River Bandits offense in their 4-2 victory over the Cedar Rapids Kernels (MIN), advancing them to the second round against the Beloit Snappers (OAK).
All four first round matchups in the Midwest League playoffs were won two games to none. Beloit defeated Clinton, Fort Wayne topped Bowling Green, and South Bend downed Great Lakes.
Ruiz's solo shot led off the fourth inning for the River Bandits, breaking a 1-1 tie and kicking off a three-run inning.
Roberto Pena followed the blast with an infield single to shortstop, and Jordan Scott followed it by reaching on a sacrifice bunt attempt. Both would score later in the inning on a Teoscar Hernandez single.
Hernandez joined Ruiz and catcher Roberto Pena as the only River Bandits with multi-hit games.
Starter Joe Bircher allowed just three hits and no walks through his five innings of work, striking out four. Pat Christensen and Andrew Walter combined to allow no baserunners and five strikeouts in the final 3.1 innings of the game, sealing the victory and earning the save for Walter.
Quad Cities has a day of rest before they kick off the best-of-three second-round series with Beloit at home on September 7 (time TBD). Game two and three (if needed) will be hosted by Beloit on September 8 and 9, respectively. The winner will take on the winner of the South Bend/Fort Wayne series for the Midwest League championship.
Pulaski wins series, 2-0
After two and a half innings, the Greeneville Astros had built a 5-0 lead over the Pulaski Mariners (SEA), and looked like they may force the best-of-three Appalachian League Championship series to a deciding game three. But by the end of the night, the Astros couldn't do anything but watch as Pulaski celebrated a walk-off, series-clinching win in front of 1,028 fans at Calfee Park.
Greeneville starter Luis Ordosgoitti danced in and out of trouble, allowing three hits and two walks in the first two innings, but escaping unharmed in both frames. In the bottom of the third inning, his luck ran out. Jeffrey Zimmerman led the inning off with a single, and later scored along with Wilton Martinez on a Toby DeMello double.
Joe Musgrove entered the game in relief of Ordosgoitti to begin the sixth inning, but the first three Mariners batters in the inning reached base safely. Dan Kemp reached on a leadoff hit by pitch, Gabrial Franca singled on a line drive, and both scored when Aaron Barbosa reached on an error by Astros shortstop Thomas Lindauer, tying the game 5-5.
That score would hold until the bottom of the ninth inning, which Luke Guarnaccia began with a ground rule double down the left field line. Isaiah Yates reached on a sacrifice bunt attempt, putting runners at the corners and no outs for Toby DeMello, who was intentionally walked. Two batters later, Franca laced a line drive to right field to score Guarnaccia and secure the 6-5 walkoff win for the Mariners.
It was Pulaski's first Appalachian League title since 1991, when they were the Pulaski Braves, and puts an end to the roller-coaster season for Greeneville.