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Saturday Pebble Report: A Wild One in Modesto, Big Names Shine in Asheville

Kyle Parker now has as many home runs for the Nuts in the last five games as he scored points on this play while playing quarterback for the Clemson Tigers.
Kyle Parker now has as many home runs for the Nuts in the last five games as he scored points on this play while playing quarterback for the Clemson Tigers.

AAA Colorado Springs – W 6-3, (67-60, 2nd, 5.0 GB)

After a disastrous outing last time out against Round Rock in which he was tagged for six earned runs, Nick Schmidt rebounded nicely to throw five innings of two run baseball. Perhaps the best news for Schmidt though is that he overall August K/BB ratio has been excellent. In July Schmidt struck out 18 and walked 21 batters on his way to an 8.07 ERA for the month, but so far in August Schmidt has walked only two while striking out 16 and has a much more respectable 4.76 ERA. Even though he’s 26, he’s definitely made big strides forward this season.

Meanwhile, the offense was active enough to give Schmidt the win. Matt McBride and Brendan Harris had the only two multi hit games for the Sky Sox and these two got the scoring started in the second as McBride singled and Harris doubled him home with one out. Harris also led off with a single in the Sky Sox three run 5th – The frame that would give Colorado Springs all the runs they would need. On the negative side though was #15 PuRP Charlie Blackmon, as he went hitless for the fourth time in his last ten games and has cooled off considerably since his red hot July.

AA Tulsa – L 5-1, (22-31 (Second Half), 3rd, 13.5 GB)

For the second straight night, Tulsa lost to the Frisco Rough Riders by the score of 5-1 in a very forgettable game. Brandon Hynick was decent, going six innings while giving up three runs (two of them earned), but he received almost no run support as the offense was nearly shutout. Only a two out 9th inning solo home run from #1 PuRP Nolan Arenado prevented the goose egg. The blast also continued Arenado’s strong August as he now has a 1.059 OPS for the month.

High-A Modesto – W 7-6, (30-23 (Second Half), 1st)

This was easily the wildest game of the night. #4 PuRP (That’ll be going down) Tyler Matzek got six outs before leaving the game in the third inning with a leg injury after getting caught up in a home plate collision on a passed ball. Matzek was hittable again while on the mound surrendering five hits and five runs (only three of them earned) making this the 7th time in his last eight starts he’s given up at least five base knocks. On the bright side, it’s the first time all season he didn’t walk anyone.

By the middle of the 5th inning, Modesto was left in a 6-0 hole. The Nuts would get one run back in the bottom of the frame on a Joey Wong RBI single and another in the 6th inning on a solo shot from #10 PuRP (That’ll be going up) Kyle Parker – His 6th home run in the last five games. The real magic though wouldn’t come until the 9th. Still trailing 6-2, the Nuts' Juan Crousset drew a walk to lead off the inning (It always seems to start with a walk doesn’t it?); Jayson Langfels then hit his fourth home run of the season to cut the deficit in half. The comeback, or perhaps more appropriately collapse continued when Joey Wong grounded to second and Visalia infielder Garrett Weber committed both a fielding and a throwing error (his second and third on the night) to bring the tying run to the plate in #12 PuRP Rafael Ortega. He isn’t really known for his power, but that didn’t matter in this at bat. Ortega, who was already 0-4 in the game and is batting just .190 for the month of August, launched a dramatic game tying two run home run that wiped out what looked to be a sure win for the Rawhide. Another leadoff walk in the 10th (this time to Kyle Parker), and a game winning RBI single by Brett Tanos would complete the comeback.

Low-A Asheville – W 14-1, (30-24 (Second Half), 2nd, 4.5 GB)

This is about as pretty as it gets. #7 PuRP Tyler Anderson continued his string of strong starts as for the third straight outing, he stuck out at least six. (This comes after not striking out more than six hitters in any start all season through July.) Anderson’s line of 7.0 IP, 0ER, 7 K’s and 0BB’s also extends his streak of games in which he’s allowed two runs or less in at least five innings of work to nine. In those starts, Anderson has now thrown 56.1 innings while posting a magnificent 1.28 ERA.

At the same time, the offense exploded in every way possible. Every Tourist had at least one hit, seven of them had at least two, the team scored in all but three of the innings they came to bat, and to top it all off, Asheville scored at least three runs in an inning three different times. Leading the charge was #3 PuRP Trevor Story who went 3-5 with two home runs and five RBI on the night.

Tri-City – L 7-6, (9-15, (Second Half) 4th, 7.0 GB)

The Dust Devils got in trouble early in this one as Benjamin Hughes proved extremely hittable. When he exited after the 5th inning, the Boise Hawks had piled up ten hits and seven runs, leaving the usually offensively changed Dust Devils in a seemingly insurmountable six run hole. Tri-City would fight to the end though grabbing three in the 5th and two more in the 7th before getting the tying run on base in the 9th. These rallies were highlighted by a 3-5 (2RBI) night for #16 PuRP Rosell Herrera. Oddly, on an evening where eight of the nine Dust Devil starters reached base safely with either a hit or a walk, the team’s best hitter, Francisco Sosa was not one of them. His strikeout to end the game in the 9th snapped what was a ten game hitting streak.

Grand Junction – L 8-5, (9-10, (Second Half) 4th, 3.0 GB)

After seeing his 27 game hitting streak come to an end on Thursday, David Dahl tried to start a new one as he connected for his league leading 9th triple of the season in the first inning on Friday. Overall though Dahl has cooled off this week, as he’s gone six straight games without a multi hit effort and has 6 K’s and no walks in that same stretch. Dahl isn’t the only young Grand Junction Rockie to be leading the Pioneer League in an extra base hit category though. 20 year old Julian Yan extended his league home run lead in this one as he launched his 14th of season – A two run shot in the 8th.

Unfortunately, there just wasn’t enough offense to keep up with the lack of good pitching. Starter Ryan Warner only last 3.1 innings while surrendering three runs (two earned) and Alving Mejias would later come out of the bullpen and give up four more.

DSL RockiesL 8-2, (37-28, 2nd, 1.5 GB)

Starter David Martinez gave up two earned runs in four innings but his start was disappointing because that’s more earned runs than he’s given up in any of his last ten outings. (The seven hits he gave up were also by far a season high for the 17 year old). Carlos Polanco would then come in and give up three more which was too much for the DSL Rockies offense to handle. They only mustered five hits all game, just one for extra bases, and nobody batting lower than 4th in the order got a hit.

Looking Ahead: Peter Tago will take the mound tonight for the Dust Devils (7:15 p.m. local time) and will try to get back on track. He struggled last time out giving up three earned runs in just four innings but had four very solid starts before that in which he went a combined 24.2 innings and only gave up five runs (1.82 ERA).