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Saturday Pebble Report: Future Rockies Get Valuable Big Game Lessons

AA Tulsa – L 4-2, Game 3, (Trailing Series 2-1)

After Josh Outman’s brilliant outing in Game 2, the Drillers were unable to capitalize on the momentum and are now pushed to the brink of elimination in this best of five game series. Much of the scoring occurred in the first two innings as the score was already 3-1 after the second frame. Springfield used four hits and a #1 PuRP Nolan Arenado error to get their runs while Tulsa had a walk and a stolen base from Chris Pettit and an RBI single from catcher Jose Gonzalez. The Drillers would cut the deficit in half on a Kiel Roling solo home run the in 4th inning, but that would be all for the offense on this night. (Troy Tulowitzki did not play in this game, but he was not scheduled to either so in no way was it a setback in his quest to return before the season is over)

#22 PuRP Joe Gardner ended the night with the loss, but his line wasn’t terrible (6.0 IP, 7 Hits, 2 ER, 5 K’s, and 0 BB’s). The fourth and final Cardinal run was scored off Josh Sullivan in the 8th with a double and a single after Michael Marbry worked a clean 7th inning.

Brandon Hynick will take the mound for the Drillers tonight with Tulsa’s season on the line – First pitch is 8:08 local time.

High-A Modesto – W 2-0, Game 3, (Series Won – 2 Games to 1)

In a must win - loser goes home - Game 3 against the San Jose Giants, the Nuts placed their entire season in the hands of #4 PuRP Tyler Matzek. Yes, the same Tyler Matzek who had an 8.16 ERA in July, the same Tyler Matzek who couldn’t find the plate during the first half of August, and the same Tyler Matzek who out of nowhere has looked like the player we all hoped we had drafted in 2009 in three of his last four starts. Matzek was simply outstanding in a game where his team needed him to come up big. He went 7.1 innings, didn’t allow an earned run, struck out five, and only walked one. The start also gave Matzek a 29 to 6 K/BB ratio in his last 28 innings pitched.

The bullpen finished the remaining work without issue as Isaiah Froneberger and Adam Jorgenson combined to get the last five outs in order and seal a shutout victory in which the Giants only once got a runner in scoring position.

With #10 PuRP Kyle Parker on the shelf for the year, the Nuts have to scrap out runs anyway they can, and that’s exactly what they did on Friday night. #12 PuRP Rafael Ortega and Dallas Tarleton each got on base in the 1st and 4th innings, and Jared Clark and Joey Wong each drove them home with singles to complete all of the scoring this game would see.

The Nuts now will face the Bakersfield Blaze in the Division North Final beginning tonight at 7:15 local time. (If the series goes the distance, Tyler Matzek could once again be in line to pitch the deciding game as it’s a best of five series.)

Low-A Asheville – W 6-2, Game 2, (Series Tied 1-1)

Matzek wasn’t the only Tyler pitching in a game where his team needed a win to extend their season. The Tourists entered Friday’s game down 1-0 in a best of three series against Rome, and a loss would have spelt the end of their season. #7 PuRP Tyler Anderson responded to this by tossing six innings of one run baseball while striking out nine and not walking a single batter. (Since the start of August, Anderson now has 39 K’s in 36 IP while only walking six and posting 1.75 ERA)

However, despite another fine performance, Anderson walked off the mound in line to get the loss as his team trailed 1-0 in the middle of the 6th. But that’s when the bats awoke from their slumber. # 24 PuRP David Kandilas started things fast with a leadoff double, Tyler Massey doubled him home with another two bagger two batters later, and Taylor Featherston gave the Tourists a lead they would never relinquish with a two run bomb to cap the inning. By the time the 8th inning was over, #23 PuRP Sam Mende had also added a home run, every Tourists had a hit with the exception of #13 PuRP Will Swanner (who went 0-4 to continue his disappoint close to the season), and all but three Tourists had at least two hits.

Ashville plays a winner take all Game 3 three against Rome tonight at 6:05 local time with Chris Jensen on the mound.

Grand Junction – L 4-3 (11 Innings), Game 1 (Trailing Series 1-0)

This game was nothing if not wild. It started ordinary enough with a solid but not spectacular outing from Eddie Butler (6.0 IP, 2 ER, 6 Hits, 6 K’s, and 2 BB’s) and a multi hit game from David Dahl as he collected singles in both the 1st and 8th innings. However, the game went to extra innings tied at two which would prove both exciting and heartbreaking for the Grand Junction.

In the top of the 10th, the Rockies gift wrapped an inexcusable run, as Ogden scored without a hit. The inning began harmlessly enough with a pair of groundouts, but that was followed by a walk, TWO errors that moved the runner to third, and a passed ball that scored what appeared to be the winning run. Then in the bottom half of the inning, with Grand Junction down to their last out and a runner on first, David Dahl delivered with another single that pushed the tying run to third. Wilfredo Rodriguez followed that up with an RBI game single that sent to game to the 11th.

In that inning, Ogden would score another run that they probably shouldn’t have gotten. Jesse Meaux entered the game and handed Noel Cuevas a one out free pass. Cuevas later stole second before Paul Hoenecke singled him home with the go ahead for good run. But Grand Junction did not go quietly – First they got a leadoff single from Correlle Prime, then a sacrifice and a groundout moved the runner to third with two down. After a Max White walk, the ball got away from Ogden catcher Eric Smith. Cesar Galvez, who pinch ran for Prime, saw the opening and went for home trying to tie the game, but he was tagged out by pitcher Alan Garcia to end the game before he could cross the plate.

The madness continues tonight in Game 2 of this series as #27 PuRP Jayson Aquino takes the mound for Grand Junction at 7:00 local time in a must win game for these Rockies.