The Jays’ four minor league clubs went a perfect 4-0 on Friday night. Highlights include outdueling a top pitching prospect in Las Vegas, strong all-around pitching in New Hampshire, Sean Nolin impressing in his Florida State League debut and the Lansing Lugnuts sending Noah Syndergaard to the hill in their much-anticipated season opener.
Wins/Losses: 1-1 | Streak: W1 | T-1st in PCL Pacific South division (0.0 GB)
Las Vegas 51s 4, Sacramento River Cats 3 (WP: Gil, 1-0)
After taking the lead in the sixth only to give up the tying run in the eighth, the 51s put together a two-out rally to walk off with a 4-3 win over Sacramento in extra innings on Friday night.
Travis Snider was the star of the game, going 2-for-4 with two runs scored and one walk. He belted his first home run of the season, a two-run shot to left center field in the sixth, to put the 51s up 3-2, before knocking a two-out single up the middle in the 10th inning and eventually scoring the game-winning run.
Adeiny Hechavarria had a pair of hits once again along with a RBI and a walk, while Travis d’Arnaud and Mike McCoy each chipped in with a single, a walk and a stolen base. David Cooper was 0-for-4 leading up to his final at-bat in the 10th inning, when he plated Snider with a RBI single up the middle.
Leadoff hitter Anthony Gose recorded the first Triple-A hit of his career, a single in the third, and finished the game 1-for-5 with a strikeout and three groundouts. He also made a heads-up defensive play in the top of the fifth, throwing out Sacramento first baseman Daric Barton trying to advance from first to third.
While the 51s did manage to squeak out the victory, it wasn’t their best night offensively. They were limited to three runs on seven hits prior to their 10th-inning rally, and Snider’s home run was their only extra-base hit of the game.
Andrew Carpenter and newly-acquired right-hander Ryota Igarashi combined to toss three scoreless frames before Jim Hoey blew the save in the eighth, hurling a wild pitch and allowing the River Cats to tie the game. Jerry Gil threw a scoreless 10th inning to earn the win.
Wins/Losses: 2-0 | Streak: W2 | 2nd in EAS Eastern division (0.5 GB)
New Hampshire Fisher Cats 3, Trenton Thunder 1 (WP: Jenkins, 1-0 | S: Loup, 1)
The Thunder managed to plate a quick run in the first inning off a solo home run, but were held scoreless the rest of the way as New Hampshire went on to defeat Trenton 3-1 on Friday and guarantee the series win.
On a night where they could only muster three runs, the Fisher Cats’ offense was led by first baseman Mike McDade, who went 3-for-4 with a double and two RBI. Second baseman Jonathan Diaz went 2-for-4 with a walk and a stolen base, his second in as many nights, and Ryan Goins also went 2-for-4 but with a double.
Catcher A.J. Jimenez went 0-for-4 at the dish but drew a walk, and made the most of it by snagging his second stolen base of the season.
Fisher Cats starter Chad Jenkins made one mistake inside to Trenton leadoff hitter Abraham Almonte, who deposited the pitch into the right field seats to temporarily put the Thunder up 1-0. He coasted after that, though, finishing the game having allowed just one earned run on five hits with a pair of strikeouts and no walks. Jenkins did, however, receive some help from his catcher Jimenez in the fifth, when he alertly picked off a baserunner that reached base on a missed catch by McDade. The move proved valuable because the next batter, Almonte once again, doubled to right and could have cashed in the runner.
Wins/Losses: 2-0 | Streak: W2 | T-1st in FSL North division (0.0 GB)
Dunedin Blue Jays 5, Clearwater Threshers 0 (WP: Nolin, 1-0)
The Dunedin Blue Jays found out the easy way that pitching wins you ball games, as three hurlers combined to shut out the Threshers 5-0 on Friday and
Led by center fielder Jake Marisnick (that’s something I’m sure you’ll hear a lot this season) who went 2-for-4 with a double, a walk and two runs scored in the leadoff spot, the D-Jays tacked on runs early and never looked back.
Up against Brody Colvin, one of Philadelphia’s top pitching prospects, D-Jays starter Sean Nolin cruised through six shutout innings, limiting the Threshers to just four hits with two strikeouts and two walks.
Egan Smith, who was a mainstay in the Lansing Lugnuts’ rotation last year, came on in relief to allow only one hit and one walk in two scoreless innings, and Dustin Antolin closed things out in the ninth with a scoreless inning of his own.
Wins/Losses: 1-0 | Streak: W1 | 3rd in MID Eastern division (0.5 GB)
Lansing Lugnuts 3, Great Lakes Loons 2 (WP: Berl, 1-0 | S: Meyer, 1)
Opening their season in the friendly confines of Cooley Law School Stadium, the Lugnuts’ exciting pitching staff was on full display, but a late rally wound up giving them the 3-2 victory on Friday night.
Runs were hard to come by for both teams and the Lugnuts were actually outhit by the Loons 7-4, though the Loons did commit four errors on the night, including three by their starting pitcher Jarret Martin.
Two Great Lakes errors practically handed the Lugnuts their first run of the game in the first inning, when catcher Carlos Perez singled home Kenny Wilson, who walked but advanced all the way to third courtesy of some shady fielding by the Loons. Kevin Pillar managed to score the Lugnuts’ second run of the game on a throwing error in the fourth inning, and after yet another error in the eighth, Kevin Patterson singled home the game-winning run to put the Lugs ahead 3-2.
Markus Brisker went 0-for-4 with four strikeouts, leadoff hitter Kenny Wilson went 0-for-2 with two walks and Kellen Sweeney went 0-for-1 with an intentional walk and a hit-by-pitch. After being picked off at first base, Sweeney went down holding his right leg and went straight to the clubhouse afterward.
Highly-touted right-hander Noah Syndergaard started the game for the Lugnuts and looked exactly like a top pitching prospect. In addition to hitting high-90’s with his fastball and even apparently touching 100 mph, he featured a mid-80’s changeup and fanned six batters in three scoreless innings of work, allowing just a pair of singles.
Making his professional debut, sixth-round pick Anthony DeSclafani was just as impressive as Syndergaard, as he too allowed just two hits in three scoreless innings, but with four strikeouts and without walking a batter.
Tyler Ybarra gave up Great Lakes’ only runs of the game and allowed them to tie the game in the seventh when he gave up a leadoff single and issued back-to-back walks to load the bases with nobody out. He almost managed to escape the inning unscathed, but gave up a two-run single before ending the frame.