Hickory Crawdads �8, �West Virginia Power �0 (box)
The Power were shut-out and held to just 4 hits, while their pitching staff surrendered 13 hits and 8 runs. �The 1st inning looked promising for the Power, �as they loaded the bases with walks to CF Evan Chambers and DH�Aaron Baker, plus 1B Kyle Morgan being hit by a pitch. �All three were left stranded, though, as a strikeout ended the inning.
The Power did not have more than one runner on base again until the 9th inning. �LF Rogelios Noris had the Power’s first hit, a double in the 4th inning, but was also left on base. �RF David Rubinstein singled in the 6th, but was thrown out trying to steal second. �3B Jose Brito singled in the 8th and was also stranded. �Chambers walked again in the 5th and 3B/2B Elevys Gonzalez walked in the 7th, also to no avail. �Their last chance in the 9th began with a strikeout. �Noris singled and Elevys Gonzalez walked, and a ground out to second by SS Benji Gonzalez moved both runners to third base, but a pop out ended the game.
Kyle McPherson, who pitched 7 no-hit innings five days ago, was not as hot today. �He gave up a 2-run homer in the top of the 1st, following a walk, then another 2-run homer in the 2nd, following a double. �After a lead-off single in the 3rd, McPherson settled down and retired the next 9 batters in order. �When a double and a fly out opened the 6th inning, McPherson was relieved by Ryan Kelly. Kelly hit the first batter he faced, but then ended the inning without letting a run score.
Kelly could not hold the Crawdads in the 7th, though. �The first four batters reached base — a single, a single, a 3-run homer, then another single. �After a grounder forced out the runner going to second, a double scored another runner from first base, and the Crawdads were ahead 8-0. �Mike Williams pitched the final two innings for the Power, giving up a hit in each inning, but working around them to keep Hickory from scoring any further.
Altoona Curve �5, �Reading Phillies �2 (box)
Back-to-back home runs by C Hector Gimenez and LF Alex Presley in the 6th inning boosted the Curve and helped starter Rudy Owens earn his 5th win of the season.
Owens started out on shaky ground, giving up 2 runs in the top of the 1st inning on a lead-off single and a 2-run homer by RF Domonic Brown (he was a member of the Scottsdale Scorpions in the 2009 Arizona Fall League). �After the homer, Owens gave up a walk to former Indy Indian 3B Tagg Bozied and a walk, but ended the inning with the two runners still on base.
Owens settled in after that first inning. �He pitched another 5 innings, and retired the side in order in each of those innings but the 4th, when he allowed only a double.
At the same time, the Curve were being held scoreless over the first 5 innings by R-Phils starter Drew Naylor. �There was at least one Curve batter on base in four straight innings, but could not score — a single by 1B Matt Hague in the 2nd, a double by Rudy Owens in the 3rd, a single by 2B�Jim Negrych and Hague being hit by a pitch in the 4th, and a walk to Gimenez in the 5th. �Two double plays and three stranded runners, and the Curve did not score.
Then came the 6th inning, when the Curve burst out with 5 runs. �With one out, SS Chase d’Arnaud doubled on a liner into left field. �Negrych grounded to first, moving d’Arnaud to third base. �A smash of a single by Hague to third base and off Tagg Bozied scored d’Arnaud. �3B Jordy Mercer walked on four pitches, and that chased the starter Naylor. �BJ Rosenberg came on for Naylor, and he had to throw a whole series of pitches to Hector Gimenez, which Gimenez fouled off until he saw one he liked well enough to take it over the right field wall for a 3-run homer. �Alex Presley followed with his 5th homer of the year, which just barely squeaked over the right field wall. �It was the first time this season that the Curve had hit back-to-back homers, and it was Gimenez’s 8th of the season and 4th in his last 4 games.
Those 5 runs were all the Curve needed. �Owens was the pitcher of record when the runs scored, and he earned the win. �Tony Watson earned his first save of the season with 3 scoreless innings of work. �He retired the side in the 7th, allowed just one single in the 8th, then retired the side again in the 9th, with a total of 3 strikeouts.