Buoyed by excellent pitching and timely hitting, the Burlington Bees over the weekend won…
Naturals stomp Cardinals, 12-6
Clinton 10, Burlington 2
The Bees on Monday couldn't stretch their first winning streak of the season to three games, as the club fell to the LumberKings, 10-2. Brent Fisher started for Burlington and had a rough outing, picking up the loss after surrendering seven runs on eight hits and three walks in four innings pitched. Derrick Saito entered in the fifth and threw three scoreless innings before handing it over to James Thompson, who gave up three runs on two home runs and a walk in his inning of work.
The Bees' offense, meanwhile, managed just four hits. Most notably, designated hitter Jose Bonilla went 1-for-3 with his first home run of the season, a two-run shot in the fifth inning that gave Burlington its only runs of the day. Bonilla also stole his first two bases of the season. Kyle Martin was 1-for-3 with a walk, while both Eric Hosmer and Nick Francis were 1-for-4.
Burlington (5-11) and Clinton finish up their four-game series on Tuesday night, and with a victory, the Bees would win their first series of the season. They'll look to Bryan Casey (0-3, 4.50 ERA), who last pitched on Thursday, giving up one run on two hits in 2.1 innings against Kane County.
High-A: Wilmington Blue Rocks
The Blue Rocks (9-10) were off on Monday. The Rocks traveled to Woodbridge, Virginia, where they will take on the Potomac Nationals in a three-game series that starts on Tuesday. Eduardo Paulino (1-0, 5.19 ERA) will start Tuesday night's game for Wilmington, looking to snap a three game slide for the Blue Rocks, who have also lost six of their last seven games.
Double-A: NW Arkansas Naturals
Northwest Arkansas 12, Springfield 6
After a weekend in which the Naturals scored just four runs, the club exploded for a dozen on Monday night as NW Arkansas stomped Springfield, 12-6. The Nats pounded out 14 hits, with everyone in the lineup except Kurt Mertins getting in on the fun. Mertins was 0-for-4, but he did score in the sixth inning when he stole home on a double steal. Designated hitter Cody Strait paced the offense by going 3-for-4 with his second home run of the season, while catcher Jeff Howell, shortstop Mario Lisson, and outfielders Jose Duarte and Jordan Parraz all contributed two hits apiece. Joe Dickerson was 1-for-3 with a double and an RBI.
Anthony Lerew started for the Naturals, going five innings while surrendering four runs (three earned) on six hits and a pair of walks. He was staked to an early five-run lead when the Naturals crossed home six times in the opening frame, but he had to settle for a no decision when Gilbert De La Vara allowed the Cardinals to tie the game in the top of the sixth. The Nats came back with five more runs in the bottom of the frame, giving De La Vara the win. Chris Nicoll finished up with another excellent outing to preserve the victory, tossing two shutout innings while surrendering just one hit. Nicoll's stellar ERA now stands at 0.79.
The Naturals (8-9) and Cardinals hook up again on Tuesday for the second game of their four-game series. Blake Johnson (0-2, 7.07 ERA) will take the hill for NW Arkansas. Johnson last pitched on Thursday, when he took his second loss of the season after surrendering four runs in 5.2 innings pitched against Arkansas.
Triple-A: Omaha Royals
Omaha 8, Oklahoma City 1 (7 innings)
Oklahoma City 2, Omaha 1 (7 innings)
Making up Saturday's rainout, the O-Royals and RedHawks split a doubleheader on Monday. In the first game, Omaha's starting pitcher Luke Hochevar tossed another gem, winning his fourth straight decision after limiting the RedHawks to one unearned run in six innings. Hochevar struck out seven batters while pushing his record to 4-0 and lowering his ERA to 1.44. Tim Hamulack pitched the seventh and final frame, striking out two batters while yielding just one hit.
The offense, meanwhile, plated eight runs on just six hits. Second baseman Tug Hulett had another excellent game, going 2-for-3 with a double and three RBIs. Chris Lubanski had a key two-run double in Omaha's five-run third inning, and also finished 2-for-3. Shortstop Luis Hernandez was 1-for-2 with two RBIs, while Ryan Shealy walked twice in addition to his 1-for-2 effort.
Unfortunately, the O-Royals used up all their runs in the first game, as the club managed to cross the plate just once in the nightcap while losing a close one, 2-1. Starting pitcher Heath Phillips pitched well – he allowed two runs on three hits in five innings – but was tagged with his second loss of the season. Both Greg Atencio and Dusty Hughes chipped in scoreless innings in relief, with Atencio striking out the side in his frame.
At the plate, Omaha once again managed just six hits. Kila Kaaihue led the way by going 2-for-3 with his first triple of the year, and he scored the O-Royals' only run on a Lubanski RBI groundout. Irving Falu, Travis Metcalf, and Cory Aldridge all finished 1-for-3, and Hernandez was 1-for-2.
The O-Royals (10-8) and RedHawks will play their seventh straight – and final – game against each other on Tuesday afternoon. Brandon Duckworth (0-1, 9.53 ERA) will start for Omaha, looking to improve upon his outing last Wednesday, when he surrendered five runs in four innings against Oklahoma City.
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