It was a rough start for KC Royals prospect Mike Montgomery, as the Omaha Storm Chasers returned home hoping to finish off the three game sweep of the Round Rock Express. He allowed five runs in the 3rd inning, capped by a Chad Tracy grand slam. Montgomery lasted just three innings and allowed five runs on six hits and four walks. Express starter Neil Ramirez was solid, as he allowed one run on just two hits over five innings.
I have to give the Storm Chasers offense credit, as they stormed back in the game after being down 6-1 heading into the bottom of the 6th inning. They scored three runs in the 6th inning, capped by Kila Ka’aihue’s two-run homer off lefty reliever Beau Jones (so much for the lefty-on-lefty matchup working for the Express). They then tied the game in the bottom of the 7th inning on Kila’s two-run double off lefty reliever Michael Kirkman.
Then the top of the 11th happened. With two outs and a runner on first base, Omaha pitcher Zach Miner induced a ground ball to Joaquin Arias, that he booted for an error. The inning imploded on Miner, as he allowed three runs on two more hits and an error by centerfielder Jarrod Dyson. That gave the Express a 9-6 lead.
The comeback began for Omaha in the bottom of the 11th. Three straight singles against Express reliever Cody Eppley cut the deficit to 9-7. After a coaching visit, Eppley got Lance Zawadzki to pop up for the first out. Irving Falu followed with a sac fly, cutting the deficit to 9-8. With a runner on first base, Arias struck out on three pitches to end the game.
I’m still stuck on the fact that Omaha pinch-ran John Whittleman in the bottom of the 11th inning as the tying run. I saw alot of him in Wilmington and speed is not one of his strong suits.
Round Rock survived to force a Game 4 in Omaha. They will throw veteran Brett Tomko against Omaha’s Sean O’Sullivan.
With the return home, NW Arkansas was hoping to keep their playoff series alive. For the second time in three games, both teams scored a single run in the first inning. Errors helped both teams score. Errors and wildness haunted the Arkansas Travelers in the bottom of the 5th inning as the Naturals took a 2-1 lead.
After his defense threw a runner out at the plate, Travelers starter Orangel Arenas walked Christian Colon. He then threw a wild pitch and catcher Orlando Mercado made a wild throw, allowing a run to score. In the 8th inning, the Naturals tacked on another run as Wil Myers walked with the bases loaded to force in a run.
Naturals starter Mario Santiago allowed the unearned run on four hits over six innings. Brendan Lafferty and Blaine Hardy combined to throw three no-hit innings of relief. Each team collected just four hits, with the Travelers Matt Cusick collecting two hits.
The Naturals have forced a Game 4 on Saturday night at Arvest Park. Jeremy Jeffress gets the start for the Naturals against Arkansas’ Eddie McKiernan.
The Kane County Cougars survived three errors, one in which allowed two runs to score, to take the deciding Game 3 over the Burlington Bees to move on in the Midwest League playoffs. Cougars starter Jason Adam was stellar before the Bees two-run 6th inning. He allowed four hits in 5.2 innings. He struck out five while not walking a batter. The Cougars bullpen pitched three scoreless innings of relief.
The Cougars held a 3-0 lead after five innings. Brian Fletcher doubled in the first run in the 4th inning and Brett Eibner tripled in Fletcher for the second run. In the 5th inning, Angel Franco tripled in their third run.
The Cougars now move on to face the Quad Cities River Bandits, who won 2-0 in their series over Clinton. The three-game series begins on Saturday night (9/10) in Kane County.
Unfortunately just 462 people attended the win or go home game.