Game Recap 6/13: Popham Mows Down The Pelicans
The K-Tribe banged out ten runs on 14 hits, routing Myrtle Beach 10-2 Sunday afternoon at Historic Grainger Stadium. With the win the K-Tribe takes the four game series from the Pelicans.
Kinston jumped on top with a big first inning against Pelicans starter J.J. Hoover, who was named a Carolina League All-Star earlier in the week. Karexon Sanchez led off with a walk, and Lucas Montero drilled a double off the wall in right to give the K-Tribe a 1-0 lead. Two batters later, Abner Abreu knocked a single up the middle through a drawn-in infield, scoring Montero to make it 2-0. After walks to Tim Palinscar and Chris Kersten to load the bases, Ronald Rivas stroked a two-run single to left, giving Kinston a 4-0 edge.
Hoover was pulled from the game after the first, in which he threw 52 pitches and gave up four runs on three hits. He walked three and struck out one. Those numbers are remarkable because Hoover (4-4) had surrendered just four earned runs over his last five starts. It was by far his shortest outing of the season and the first time he had allowed more than three runs since a loss to Frederick on May 2.
Kinston starter Marty Popham was outstanding for the second straight start. He threw six shutout innings on four hits, walked one and struck out seven. Popham (1-1, 2.93) retired the final ten batters he faced and struck out his last four batters. Amazingly, Popham has not allowed a run in three of his five starts, and also has had a one-run performance. He has struck out at least five and walked no more than two in all of his starts.
The K-Tribe had another big inning in the sixth off of Pelicans reliever Scott Proctor. Doug Pickens and Tim Palincsar hit back-to-back singles and Ronald Rivas was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Trent Baker hit an RBI groundout to knock in his first run with the K-Tribe. After Sanchez was hit by a pitch to load the bases again, Montero ripped a two-run single to right that put Kinston ahead 7-0. Kyle Bellows followed with an RBI single to left on the next pitch to plate Sanchez and give the K-Tribe an 8-0 advantage. The Indians scored four runs and sent nine men to the plate in both the first and sixth innings.
The hit parade continued in the eighth inning for Kinston, as Baker and Sanchez started the frame with back-to-back singles. Montero hit into a fielder's choice, and then pinch hitter Alex Castillo hammered a double off the warning track in left to clear the bases and push the lead to 10-0. Every batter in the K-Tribe lineup reached safely and six different players drove in a run. Montero went 3-for-5 with two runs scored and three RBI. Abreu, Pickens and Rivas each had two hits. Three of Kinston's four blowout wins by ten or more runs have come against the Pelicans this season, as they had previously beaten Myrtle Beach 15-2 and 10-0.
The K-Tribe (33-31), statistically eliminated from first half contention, will finish out the half on the road after a Monday off day. Kinston will take on Lynchburg in Virginia on Tuesday night at 7:05 pm. The K-Tribe will return home on Thursday, June 24th to begin the second half of the season.
Clippers cough up lead, but win in extras
For the second straight night, Columbus' bats didn't wake up until the late innings, but the Clippers did enough Sunday to erase an early Norfolk lead, and then coughed it up late to set the stage for a dramatic 10th inning victory. Matt LaPorta's walk-off hit scored Jose Constanza and gave Columbus game two of a four-game set against the Tides at Huntington Park, 5-4.
Tides starter Brandon Erbe came in sporting an 0-9 record in 2010, but he looked sharp through five innings, not allowing a single Clipper to reach base. Columbus broke through in the sixth, however, as Lou Marson and Cord Phelps hit back-to-back home runs to help chase Erbe.
The two long balls put a dent in Norfolk's 3-0 advantage, and in the bottom of the seventh, the Clippers took the lead when reliever Cla Meredith walked in both the tying and go-ahead runs.
Josh Judy and Jess Todd teamed to throw three scoreless innings for Columbus, in relief of starter Aaron Laffey. But Vinnie Pestano couldn't pitch around some shoddy defense in the ninth, allowing the tying run to score on a single, one batter after an error extended the game.
It was Pestano's first blown save as a Clipper, but all it did was set up LaPorta. His hit in the 10th marked the eighth last at-bat win of the season for Columbus and the 21st come-from-behind victory for the Clippers.
Carlton Smith threw a scoreless top of the 10th to earn his first victory for Columbus. Mike Hinckley (0-3) was the loser for the Tides for the second consecutive day.
The Clippers and the Tides are back at it Monday night at 7:05, with Carlos Carrasco (5-2, 4.12 ERA) getting the call for Columbus against Norfolk's Armando Gabino (3-0, 2.56).
Sea Dogs Snap Akron