photo: Austin Gomber (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)
On a 2-3 Thursday across the St. Louis Cardinals system, Peoria reached the playoffs but Johnson City fell just short. Springfield and State College are still fighting. Austin Gomber fanned 11 in six innings, but the Double-A Cards’ bullpen couldn’t hold on.
Results from games played Thursday, August 31st.
Memphis vs. Iowa – cancelled
The season finale between Memphis (89-48) and Iowa (65-70) (CHC) was rained out and will not be rescheduled. The Redbirds won all three games of the abbreviated series and are in the midst of a five-game winning streak.
Friday’s game: at first-place (American Northern) Colorado Springs (MIL), 8:00 pm CT, Ryan Helsley (league debut)
Austin Gomber fanned 11 in six innings but it was not enough as the S-Cards fell to the Travelers, 4-3. Springfield (40-26) has lost the first three of the four-game series and now sit a game behind first-place Tulsa (LAD) in the North Division.
Gomber allowed just five hits and two walks, resulting in one tally. The southpaw departed with a 2-1 lead but Arkansas scored immediately off Corey Littrell (BS, 4) who permitted a hit and two walks. The S-Cards scored an unearned tally in the home half of the seventh to go back up 3-2. But Landon Beck (BS, 2) (L, 1-2) served up a two-run gopher ball in his second inning of work.
Springfield maximized their five hits, scoring twice in the second via a triple by Anthony Garcia plus Andrew Knizner’s sac fly and Bruce Caldwell’s 14th home run of 2017. Garcia singled to open the seventh, the only Springfield player with more than one hit. Pinch runner Eliezer Alvarez advanced to second when a pickoff throw went awry, racing home on John Nogowski’s two-out single.
Friday’s game: vs. Arkansas (31-35) (SEA), 7:10 pm CT, Connor Jones (league debut)
Palm Beach 1 at St. Lucie 3
Palm Beach (33-31) began its finale series of the regular season with a 3-1 loss at St. Lucie.
Ross Vance took the loss in his first start since July 1st, his sixth against two wins. The lefty yielded single scores in the first and second, going 3 2/3 innings in all after coming straight out of the bullpen. Vance allowed five hits and a base-on-balls. He picked off two batters, both at first.
Hector Mendoza tossed the next three frames, permitting a run on two hits with four strikeouts. Derian Gonzalez retired all four batters faced, fanning three.
The Beach Birds’ only score occurred in the second when Leobaldo Pina singled, was wild pitched to second and scored on a double by Shane Billings. Pina went 2-for-4 with three Cards having one hit each.
Friday’s game: at St. Lucie (28-39) (NYM), 6:30 pm ET, Mike O’Reilly (3-1, 3.20)
The Chiefs punched their wild card ticket to the postseason with a 6-2 victory over the River Bandits. Their third consecutive playoff appearance is a first for the franchise. Peoria (36-30) has won the first two of the three-game series.
The home team’s balanced offensive effort featured seven players with one hit each and a different combination of six each touching home once. Stefan Trosclair’s double was the only hit to go for extra bases, with the first baseman working two of the team’s seven free passes and scoring once. That score came in the fourth when Trosclair stole home as part of a double steal. Defensively, centerfielder Mick Fennell was credited with an assist at third.
Evan Kruczynski (W, 4-3) tossed five plus solid frames, and permitted two runs on six hits and two walks. One of the six hits was a solo long ball.
A trio of Chiefs relievers kept the division champions off the board the rest of the way, each leaving two inherited runners aboard. Leland Tilley allowed a hit and free pass in 1 1/3, Austin Sexton gave up three hits and a base-on-balls over 1 2/3 and Yeison Medina faced the minimum in the ninth for his ninth save. Medina matched Sexton’s two strikeouts.
Friday’s game: vs. Quad Cities (41-25) (HOU), 6:30 pm CT, Frederis Parra (4-6, 3.95)
Fresh off a three-game sweep of third-place West Virginia, the Spikes kept their playoff hopes alive with a 4-3 triumph over the division-leading Scrappers. State College (38-31) climbs to within 1 ½ games of Mahoning Valley with seven games remaining.
The Scrappers struck first with three against Johan Oviedo to go up 3-0 after three. But the Spikes evened the score in the fifth on three consecutive singles before Scott Hurst’s sac fly scored Matt Davis and Yariel Gonzalez’ 10th double that brought across Brandon Benson and Caleb Lopes.
Levi MaVorhis (W, 1-1) kept the score 3-3 with six strikeouts in the sixth through eighth, the righty allowing just two hits and a walk. Benson kicked off the ninth with a single, moving to second on a throwing error by Mahoning Valley’s shortstop. Gonzalez’ two-out single brought the unearned run across.
One of the three tallies charged to Oviedo through five was unearned as well, the product of a fielding error by right fielder Benson. Oviedo gave up seven hits and four bases-on-balls, fanning four. Jason Zgardowski struck out the side for his second save.
State College generated 11 hits, led by Gonzalez who went 3-for-5 with two doubles and three RBI. Benson singled twice in four at bats, and scored two times.
Friday’s game: at Mahoning Valley (39-29) (CLE), 7:30 pm ET, Jonathon Mulford (2-5, 4.16)
The Appy Birds’ playoff hopes died in the last game of the regular season as they were decimated by Bluefield, 12-1. Johnson City (33-34) finished the season by losing seven straight, which cost them the Wild Card slot.
All five JC-Cards pitchers were scored upon, beginning with Will Changarotty who started for the first time in 18 appearances this season. Changarotty (L, 3-2) gave up three runs on two home runs in the first of his two innings on the mound. Franyel Casadilla went 2 2/3, yielding two runs on five hits. Neither pitcher issued a free pass.
Juan Alvarez recorded the fifth’s final out, leaving one aboard, but exited after putting on his first two runners the next inning. Brett Seeburger let both score plus one of his own during his two-inning stint. Edwar Ramirez surrendered four runs on six hits over two.
Johnson City prevented the shutout by pushing across an eighth-inning tally. Carlos Talavera worked a free pass, eventually crossing on a sac fly by Alexis Wilson. The home team managed seven hits, including Imeldo Diaz going 2-for-3 with a double and walk.
GCL Cardinals – off
Friday’s game: GCL Cardinals (24-29) vs. GCL Mets (19-35), 10:00 am ET, TBA
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