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An all around good effort from the Sky Sox last night, highlighted by what feels like Christian Friedrich's best pitching performance in years. The 2008 first round draft pick, in need of a turnaround season, tossed seven and a third innings of shutout baseball, allowing only two hits and a walk while striking out six, leading him to his first win of 2012. Dustin Molleken and Edgmer Escalona finished the game cleanly. Solo home runs from Chad Tracy and Wil Nieves (their first of the year each) accounted for the Sky Sox offense's production, though Hernan Iribarren continued his strong start to the season with two hits and a walk. DJ LeMahieu stole two bases, and has snagged five on the season. For only the second time in six games, no Sky Sox defensive errors were scored.
Though limited to 77 pitches in preparation for his promotion to the MLB club this Sunday, Drew Pomeranz was stellar through his four innings at the start of the game. He allowed four hits and a walk and no runs, while striking out four. Though Corpus Christi's 12 hits on the game were only one fewer than the 13 Drillers knocks, they did no damage until the ninth inning off of Josh Sullivan, in his first season as a full-time reliever. The Drillers did most of their damage early in the game off of Hooks starter Henry Villar, scoring all six of their runs in the second and third innings. Between Ben Paulsen and Tim Torres, batting fourth and fifth in the lineup, were two home runs and four hits, but also five strikeouts. Angelys Nina managed a three hit game, and Lars Davis was the final multi-hit Driller with two hits. Pomeranz also recorded a hit. For once Nolan Arenado wasn't the center of attention, going 1 for 5, a double. Reliever Joey Williamson picked up his second win in this young season.
Check after the jump for reports on Modesto and Asheville.
Tyler Matzek was impressive for the second start in a row, music to the ears of those who were terrified by the absurd box scores that often accompanied Matzek starts in 2011. The pattern is still the same: lots of walks and strikeouts, but so far this season, it has leaned far more heavily towards "effectively wild" than "just wild". Matzek walked three batters and allowed two earned runs (including a home run) on four hits, but also notched eight strikeouts in his five innings pitched. Matzek is 0-2 on the season through two starts, but it's hard to be disappointed so far. The biggest flaw of the game was the offense, which was no-hit with the exception of two extra base hits from Corey Dickerson, who scored the Nuts' only run on a throwing error after his triple. Only Helder Velazquez also reached base, on a walk. Designated hitter Bryce Massanari struck out in all three of his at bats. Though Leuris Gomez allowed a solo home run during his two innings pitched, he combined with Isaiah Froneberger for seven more strikeouts in the final four innings of the game, bringing the total Nuts strikeouts to 15.
The Tourists barely pulled out the walk-off win after the West Virgina Power slowly picked away at an early lead, tying the game in the sixth inning and again in the eighth. Tyler Massey, who has been stuck in a perpetual time-loop at Asheville since 2009, had two hits in the game, and his second inning home run began a four run frame. Harold Riggins drove in two runs in the game. Every Tourist batter had a hit except for Jared Simon. The Tourists scored the winning run in the bottom of the ninth without recording a hit. After Rosell Herrera and Brian Humphries walked, David Kandilas bunted the runners into scoring position. Herrera crossed the plate on a wild pitch, not long after West Virginia had tied the game in the same manner. From the pitching side of things, starter Alex Gillingham labored through five innings, allowing eight hits and three earned runs, and two walks in addition. Control was also a problem for relievers Jefri Hernandez and Nelson Gonzalez, who each walked two of their own. Gonzalez was brought in to get a six out save after Hernandez failed to retire a batter in the eighth. Each pitcher was credited for a blown save, but Gonzalez got his first win of the year as well.