Connor Noland – Picture by Todd Johnson
The more I watch baseball year after year, the more I am not surprised to see things I have not seen before. It began this afternoon in Des Moines where the Cubs and Clippers. It was a seesaw affair all day long. After 8 it was tied at 5 before each team scored 3 apiece to tie it to send it to extras. After holding Columbus scoreless in the top of the tenth, Iowa loaded the bases with one out.
Then the rains came. Hard. As a result, Yonathan Perlaza’s 3-for-6 day with 3 RBI will have to wait until tomorrow to make it official.
As a result, there were only three games happening tonight, and they all began at 6 central.
For DJ Herz, the 22-year-old lefty was making his fifth start of the year at Tennessee. Herz had the same issues tonight that he had last year as he just throws way too many pitches. An efficient DJ is a good DJ and right now that’s not happening. He only threw three innings, but needed 69 pitches to do so, and he gave up two earned runs while striking out three and walking four. He did allow three hits on the night, but those walks are pretty alarming.
As for the Smokie’s offense, it took a while to get going. Cole Roederer hit a solo shot and then BJ Murray, the May Hitter of the Month here at NSB, hit a two run double to tie it in the fifth. Andy Weber gave the first place Smokies the lead in the sixth with a solo shot. Hunter Bigge and Riley Martin combined to throw four scoreless frames to get the win.
Starting Pitcher of the Day
South Bend’s Connor Noland was the polar opposite of Herz today. In his first five innings, he only needed 56 pitches to get 15 outs. 33 pitches were for strikes, and he only gave up two hits, walked one, and struck out one. When he came out for the sixth, I was not surprised. It was his toughest inning of the night but he got out of a jam with runners on second and third. He ended up throwing 69 pitches with 2 Ks and had 10 grounders to 4 flyouts.
It was after Noland left that South Bend got a run as Bryce Ball drove in James Triantos tor the only run of the game. Chase Watkins, Eduarniel Nunez, and Frankie Scalzo each pitched a scoreless frame to seal the deal.
As for the Birds…
They ended a losing streak of 2 as a Miguel Pabon sac fly brought home Felix Stevens to win 7-6 over the Salem Red Sox in 10. Andy Garriola hit a home run and Juan Mora tied it up at four with a thrilling “Little League” homer. Felix Stevens would add another HR as the Birds just kept chipping away at Salem’s bullpen.
Debut of the Day and the 4 Hit Club
Newcomer OF Ismael Mena went 4-for-4 in his Pelicans debut!!! That’s impressive for the young 20-year-old.
2 Hit Club
Andy Garriola, Cole Roederer, Andy Weber, Haydn McGeary, Ezequiel Pagan, and Casey Opitz.
Tag of the Day
Notice how Cristian Hernandez’s leg blocks the bag for his sweet tag.