Connor Noland – Picture by Todd Johnson
Tonight was a strange night as it was nice and warm all day today in northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin. The high was 81 at game time in Beloit. It stayed that way for an hour and then dropped 14° in a minute. Luckily by that time, South Bend had already scored six runs, and they were well on their way to a 9 to 4 victory.
What impressed me about the victory the most was that the South Bend hitters were very patient at the plate. They really grinded out at bats. It helps that the Beloit pitcher hit three of them in the first three innings. But the South Bend lineup showed patience and stuck with it. Kevin Alcântara went 2-for-3 while Fabian Pertuz hit a three run home run.
Dinger of the Day
Impressive Pitcher of the Day – Connor Noland
This was the first time I’ve seen Noland pitch in person and I came away extremely impressed with the vertical movement he was getting on his fastball. He wasn’t really throwing it ultra hard. It was in the low 90s most of the night, but he was getting some extreme movement up in the zone and that really flustered the Sky Carp. He went four innings and gave up just 1 run while striking out 5. I don’t know how much longer he needs to be at this level but it is not long.
The other three affiliates all lost in different ways.
Starting Pitcher of the Day – Grant Kipp
Starting pitcher Grant Kipp went five scoreless innings but the bullpen just melted down. Kipp is starting to string together solid start after solid start. He has a 2.13 ERA in 3 May starts. He has struck out a batter per inning in that span and he has doubled his groundball rate from April. That is not an easy thing to do.
After he exited, Myrtle Beach fell behind 4-1 only to catch up at 4 to 4 before Augusta tacked on five runs in the top of the ninth to win 9 to 4. Heading into the year, we thought that would be the weakness of the team and that’s turning out to be true. On the other hand, Andy Garriola went 3-for-3, Cristian Hernandez had another good game going 2-for-4.
At Tennessee, the Smokies took a 3 to 2 lead on homers by Luis, Vazquez and Pablo Aliendo. Porter Hodge was decent going four innings and giving up two but he struggled with five walks. Then again, he struck out six. However, the problem for Tennessee was the back end of the pen gave up seven unanswered runs in the seventh, eighth, and ninth innings. Oof!
At Iowa, things did not go as planned as Ben Brown gave up seven runs to go along with three home runs to the short porch in right field. The Cubs lost 9 to 1, but Darius Hill and Jake Slaughter both went 2-for-4.
The action begins early today with South Bend playing a day game in Beloit. Cade Horton is scheduled to be the starting pitcher for South Bend.