Jordan Stephens (SP): 5 IP, 7 R (7 ER), 10 H, 1 BB, 6 K, 8.20 ERA
Daniel Palka (RF): 2-for-3, 2B, BB, .258 AVG, .871 OPS *MVP*
Ryan Goins (2B): 1-for-3, .333 AVG, .988 OPS
Danny Mendick (3B): 0-for-2, BB, RBI, .233 AVG, .747 OPS
D.J. Peterson (1B): 1-for-4, .194 AVG, .675 OPS
Joel Booker (CF): 0-for-4, .000 AVG, .111 OPS (second game in Class AAA)
The Stripers (14-10) got to Knights starting pitcher Jordan Stephens early and often, and they cruised to a blowout win. Stephens allowed a home run, a double, and another home run to the first three batters of the game, and Gwinnett never looked back. Former White Sox outfielder Ryan LaMarre extended the lead, as he got an RBI double in the third and an RBI single in the fifth, both against Stephens. Those hits helped put this one out of reach.
The Knights could not get much going on offense either. However, on the bright side, Daniel Palka may have made the adjustments he needed after his stone cold start to the season that prompted his demotion. He got two hits tonight, including a double, and he drew a walk. Those two hits accounted for half the Knights’ total tonight. In his past four games, Palka is 5-for-13 with six walks (!), two doubles, and a homer.
Danny Mendick got the Knights on the board with a sacrifice fly in the fourth inning. He also made an excellent catch to bring us one of the Knights’ few highlights from this game.
Preston Tucker wrapped up the scoring in the ninth inning with a sacrifice fly to trim the Knights’ deficit to seven.
The loss drops the Knights’ record to 15-10. The Knights still lead the South division, though this is their third consecutive loss. They will face the Stripers at 6:04 CST tomorrow night, and it should be a good one, as Dylan Cease is the probable starting pitcher.
Tanner Banks (SP): 3 IP, 3 R (1 ER), 5 H, 1 BB, 2 K, 4.22 ERA
Matt Tomshaw (RP): 3 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 0 BB, 3 K, 1.93 ERA
Ti’Quan Forbes (3B): 1-for-4, HR, .250 AVG, .707 OPS *MVP*
Blake Rutherford (LF): 2-for-3, BB, .156 AVG, .454 OPS
Yermin Mercedes (DH): 2-for-4, .442 AVG, 1.097 OPS
Luis Basabe (CF): 0-for-4, .125 AVG, .347 OPS
Luis Gonzalez (RF): 0-for-4, .216 AVG, .620 OPS
Starter Tanner Banks surrendered an RBI single in the bottom of the second, and Montgomery (15-9) would never relinquish that early lead. Banks also allowed two unearned runs in the third, although both of those runs scored on an error that he made. After getting two outs, Banks issued a walk to load the bases. He then failed to make a fairly routine play, which allowed two runs to score. That turned out to be enough support for Montgomery pitching.
The Barons bullpen, however, was outstanding, especially Matt Tomshaw. In his three innings of work, he only allowed one baserunner, and he struck out three. Of Tomshaw’s 30 pitches, 22 were strikes (73%). Danny Dopico managed two shutout innings, though he had to work his way out of trouble, and his control was not quite up to par. He walked two and only threw 16 of his 29 pitches for strikes (55%).
It was a tough day offensively, as the Barons only got five hits, four of them singles. Blake Rutherford drew the only walk of the game for the Barons. Mitch Roman got hit by a pitch, bringing the total amount of times a Barons hitter reached base safely to seven. Speaking of Rutherford, the Barons got on the board in the fourth, when a wild pitch allowed him to score. Ti’Quan Forbes got the only RBI for the Barons, as he hit a solo homer in the seventh to cut the deficit in half. This was Forbes’ first home run of the season, as his line now stands at .250/.354/.353.
Another highlight was this nice catch by Rutherford.
The Barons struggled to get runners into scoring position, and when they did, they could not get the big hit. They finished the day 0-for-4 with runners in scoring position.
The loss drops the Barons’ record to 10-15 this season. The Barons have the day off tomorrow and will start a series against the Chattanooga Lookouts at 7:05 CST on Wednesday. Left-hander Kodi Medeiros will get the start in that one.
Lincoln Henzman (SP): 5 IP, 3 R (3 ER), 7 H, 0 BB, 1 K, 3.75 ERA
Luis Robert (DH): 3-for-5, HR, 3B, 3 RBI, .440 AVG, 1.407 OPS *co-MVP*
Nick Madrigal (2B): 2-for-5, 2 2B (!), .288 AVG, .751 OPS
Jameson Fisher (1B): 2-for-4, 2 HR, BB, 4 RBI, .218 AVG, .676 OPS *co-MVP*
Yeyson Yrizarri (3B): 3-for-4, .238 AVG, .624 OPS
Craig Dedelow (RF): 2-for-4, 225 AVG, .705 OPS
J.J. Muno (LF): 1-for-3, HR, BB, .280 AVG, .859 OPS
The Dash exploded offensively tonight, as several players had big games. Surprisingly, Potomac (9-16) struck first in this one, as they scored two in their half of the second. Starter Lincoln Henzman gave up a triple to open up the scoring, followed by an RBI groundout. Henzman was mediocre in this one, as his control was excellent (42 of his 54 pitches were strikes), but he struggled to get swings and misses.
But, the offense made up for his early mistakes and then some. J.J. Muno hit a solo homer in the fourth to put the Dash ahead, and they never looked back. Much of the reason the Dash pulled so far ahead was the outstanding game by Luis Robert. We have almost come to expect Robert to have huge performances in Class A+ at this point, and he exceeded those lofty expectations tonight. Robert finished a double shy of the cycle, as he improved his insane slash line to .440/.500/.907.
Robert would have had sole possession of MVP honors tonight if not for Jameson Fisher, who homered twice. Those were the first two home runs of the season for the White Sox’ 2016 fourth rounder. Fisher is off to a slow start, but hopefully, this game is the start of a hot stretch for him.
Nick Madrigal got two hits today, which is not too out of the ordinary. But, those hits were both doubles, and one of those hit the wall. Let that sink in, folks. He, along with Robert, seems to be inching closer to a promotion almost every day.
With this victory, the Dash improve to 14-11 on the season. The Dash take on the Nationals again tomorrow at 6:00 CST with righty Zach Lewis on the bump.
The Kannapolis Intimidators (10-12) had the day off. They will face the Charleston RiverDogs tomorrow at 6:00 CST, and Davis Martin is expected to start.