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Link Report for Sat. 4/26 - Huntsville Rolls On In Afternoon Action

Mass Haas

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Saturday's Daily Menu:

All times Central; pitchers subject to change --

Nashville: LHP Zach Jackson at Omaha (Royals), 6:45 PM pre-game; 7:05 gametime

Audio link:

Huntsville: LHP David Welch at home vs. Jacksonville (Dodgers), 1:50 PM pre-game; 2:05 gametime

Audio link via WUMP (game will also archive at this link):

Brevard County: RHP Donovan Hand at home vs. Vero Beach (Rays), 6:00 PM gametime

Sorry, no audio for this series...

West Virginia: RHP Evan Anundsen at home vs. Delmarva (Orioles), 5:50 PM pre-game, 6:05 gametime

Audio link via WSWW, be sure to select the proper date (games will also archive at this link):

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Follow Saturday's action as it happens:

Here's what you do, right click on each of the links below and choose "Open in New Window". Open the Nashville Gameday. For the others, choose "Log" or "Recap". While you're listening to your minor league game of choice (or watching/listening to the big league Crew when they are playing), simply refresh your game log browsers every so often.










Brevard County:




West Virginia:



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 Pacific Coast League (AAA) - PCL American North Division Standings ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Team W L PCT GB HOME ROAD STREAK ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Omaha 12 7 .632 - 8-4 4-3 W2 Iowa 10 10 .500 2.5 5-7 5-3 W3 Memphis 9 13 .409 4.5 2-6 7-7 L2 Nashville 4 16 .200 8.5 2-5 2-11 L1 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 

 Southern League (AA) - SOU North Division Standings ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Team W L PCT GB HOME ROAD STREAK ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Carolina 16 6 .727 - 8-2 8-4 W1 Huntsville 14 8 .636 2.0 10-2 4-6 W3 West Tenn 14 8 .636 2.0 8-2 6-6 W4 Chattanooga 12 10 .545 4.0 7-5 5-5 L1 Tennessee 9 13 .409 7.0 5-7 4-6 L4 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 

 Florida State League (A+) - FSL East Division Standings ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Team W L PCT GB HOME ROAD STREAK ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Palm Beach 16 6 .727 - 11-3 5-3 W7 Brevard County 13 9 .591 3.0 7-4 6-5 W2 Daytona 13 9 .591 3.0 6-5 7-4 W3 Jupiter 12 10 .545 4.0 7-1 5-9 L2 Vero Beach 10 12 .455 6.0 7-4 3-8 L3 St. Lucie 2 20 .091 14.0 2-9 0-11 L11 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 

 South Atlantic League (A) - SAL Northern Division Standings ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Team W L PCT GB HOME ROAD STREAK ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Lake County 15 7 .682 - 5-3 10-4 W2 Greensboro 12 10 .545 3.0 5-7 7-3 L4 Delmarva 11 11 .500 4.0 6-6 5-5 L1 Hickory 11 11 .500 4.0 6-5 5-6 W1 Lakewood 11 11 .500 4.0 5-7 6-4 W4 Hagerstown 10 12 .455 5.0 3-5 7-7 W2 West Virginia 8 14 .364 7.0 4-8 4-6 W1 Lexington 6 16 .273 9.0 1-11 5-5 L5 

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Final: Huntsville 7, Jacksonville (Dodgers) 2

Huntsville Press Release:



David Welch spun seven strong frames, chipped in with a big two-run single and had history made behind him in Huntsville's 7-2 win over Jacksonville Saturday afternoon in the middle of a five-game series at Joe Davis Stadium.


The Stars won their fourth in a row to improve to 15-8 on the season and 11-2 at home, while the Suns dropped to 10-13. The win by the Stars sewed up a fourth series win in five tries.


The Suns struck in the first inning when Greg Jacobs singled home Ivan DeJesus, Jr. to get the scoring started. Welch stranded runners at the corners by getting Russell Mitchell and Rene Rivera to fly out to right field to end the inning. Cole Gillespie's leadoff home run in the second inning, his third of the year, got the game knotted at one.


Mitchell opened the fourth with a single and moved to second base on a walk to Rivera. The runners were in motion on a 3-2 pitch to Jamie Hoffman, who sent a line drive to right that was caught by Matt LaPorta, who doubled off Mitchell at second base with a throw to Alcides Escobar, who then threw on to first base to triple off Rivera. The Stars turned their second-ever triple play and their first since 2002.


Huntsville then took the lead for good in the home fourth when Freddy Parejo singled in Carlos Corporan with two outs, stole second base and scored on an Escobar base hit. Suns' starter Marlon Arias was lifted after four frames and took the loss after allowing three runs on seven hits and a pair of walks.


The Stars loaded the bases with nobody out in the fifth against Rick Asadoorian, who had a chance to work out of trouble after getting Mike Bell to foul out and fanning Corporan. However, Welch bounced a 3-2 pitch past the converted outfielder into center field to drive in LaPorta and Chris Errecart before Parejo singled home Gillespie to cap the rally. Mat Gamel lined a leadoff long ball of Yhency Brazoban in the sixth to finish the scoring for the home team, which collected 14 hits. Gamel, who pushed his hitting streak to 12 games, Escobar, who extended his to eight straight, and Parejo all finished with three hits.


Welch benefited from an inning-ending double play grounder in the fifth and another in the sixth before retiring the side on three fly ball outs to deep right in the seventh. He earned his third win after yielding a lone run on eight hits, while walking one and striking out three.


The series continues Sunday afternoon with Huntsville left-hander Brae Wright taking the mound against Suns' right-hander Jesus Castillo. Coverage of the game begins at 1:50 pm central time and can be heard locally on SportsRadio 730 WUMP and through the internet at www.huntsvillestars.com and www.730ump.com.


Huntsville Box Score

1.138 OPS for Freddy Parejo in 47 AB's despite just one walk-- this is wonderfully bizarre; walks, hits, extra-base hits, defense -- all fantastic; David Welch a wonderful day, as noted above; season debut for Juan Sandoval (see transaction thread)...


Huntsville Game Log

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Final: Brevard County 5, Vero Beach (Rays) 1


Kenny Holmberg was injured in the first inning on a defensive play at second base:


  • - Garrett Groce singles on a line drive to left fielder Darren Ford.
  • - With Quinn Stewart batting, Garrett Groce caught stealing 2nd base, catcher Martin Maldonado to second baseman Kenneth Holmberg.
  • - Defensive Substitution: Matt Cline replaces second baseman Kenneth Holmberg, batting 7th, playing second base.
  • - Brevard County Manatees second baseman Kenneth Holmberg left the game due to an injured hand/wrist.

Brevard County Box Score

Donovan Hand is fantastic again, walking absolutely no one, is able to again pitch deep into a game -- in 90 pro innings, Hand has walked nine batters, though he did hit two batters tonight, establishing his domain; Casey Baron with a nice save, stranding two of Hand's runners in the 8th; former Brewer Al Reyes pitched the first inning for Vero Beach on a rehab stint; Charlie Fermaint two doubles on a 3-for-4 night...


Brevard County Game Log

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Freddy Parejo was one of the Brewers top 30 prospects in the BA top prospect handbook a couple of years ago, and I think his start so far definitely deserves to be noticed.


Nice to see that entire Huntsville lineup start to catch fire. I know he's hitting in the low .200's, but Gillespie sure is doing a nice job getting on base and driving in runs.


Lee Haydel's start so far has also been encouraging.

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Gillespie has been much better over his last ten games. He's only hitting .258 over the stretch, but he has five of his eight XBH on the season and an 8/9 BB/K ratio. He also stole a base just for the hell of it.


What did BA say about Parejo back then?

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Final: Delmarva (Orioles) 9, West Virginia 7


West Virginia Site Game Summary:




The West Virginia Power fell behind the Delmarva Shorebirds 9-1 after six and a half innings of Saturday night's game at Appalachian Power Park, and though they scored the final six runs of the game, they fell two runs short as Delmarva took the third game of the series 9-7.


Evan Anundsen held the Shorebirds hitless through the first three and two-thirds before they put together three straight two-out hits, capped by a two-run double from Anthony Martinez. Matt Angle, Tyler Henson and Joe Mahoney all ripped RBI singles in the fifth to give Delmarva a 5-0 lead. Brendan Monaghan brought in Kieron Pope on a groundout in the sixth inning to extend the lead. The Power got on the board in the bottom of the sixth when Caleb Gindl's groundout scored Brent Brewer.


Delmarva scored three more runs in the seventh. Mahoney ripped his second RBI single of the game to plate the first run before Henson scored on a passed ball and Mahoney scored later in the inning on Joe Nowicki's sacrifice fly. The Power rallied for four runs in the bottom of the inning. Lee Haydel tripled in three runs and scored on Jonathan Lucroy's groundout. Steffan Wilson hit a two-run homer in the eighth to pull the Power within two, but that was as close as they would get.


John Mariotti (3-1) lasted seven innings, allowing five runs on seven hits with six strikeouts and got the win. Anundsen (2-2) allowed five runs on seven hits over five innings and was tagged with the loss. Mick Mattaliano (5) finished the job in the ninth inning to get the save.


The Power fell to 8-15 with the loss and the Shorebirds improved to 12-11 with the win. Steffan Wilson paced the Power with three hits and Zelous Wheeler chipped in with two. The Shorebirds have out-hit West Virginia 39-27 in the first three games of the series.


The Power will finish the four game series with Delmarva Sunday afternoon. Left hander Zach Braddock (0-0, 0.00) will get the start for the Power and the Shorebirds will counter with left hander Zach Britton (1-1, 3.10). The first pitch is scheduled for 2:05 PM (1:05 Central).


West Virginia Box Score

Four of the nine runs the Power allowed were unearned -- four errors in all, all in the infield, although that same crew turned three double plays; Zelous Wheeler sees a lot of pitches as he's at an .894 OPS, but he's also K'd 23 times in 75 AB's -- he's a bit unique...


West Virginia Game Log

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Audio Alley --


West Virginia Pre-Game Audio Interview with Brewers' Field Coordinator and Roving Catcher Instructor Charlie Greene:

Nice discussion, including talk on Jonathan Lucroy and Angel Salome -- make sure you are on the archive link for April 26th, go to the 36:30 minute mark...


Nashville Pre-Game Audio Chat with Outfielder Mike Cameron (Part 1 of 2)


Huntsville Pre-Game Audio Interview with Dodgers' 19-year-old Top Prospect LHP Clayton Kershaw

Make sure you select the WUMP archive of April 26th, go to the 3:45 minute mark...

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Final: Nashville 13, Omaha (Royals) 9

Nashville Site Game Summary:

Link for Russell Branyan photo, text follows --


Offense Stays Hot As Sounds Topple Royals


OMAHA - The Nashville offense continued its recent success on Saturday evening at Rosenblatt Stadium, producing a season high-tying 13 runs in a 13-9 victory over the division-rival Omaha Royals.


Designated hitter Brad Nelson (3-for-4, three RBIs) and first baseman Russell Branyan (4-for-4, five RBIs) continued their sizzling start to the seasons, combining to drive in and score 12 of Nashville's 13 runs on the evening. Catcher Vinny Rottino homered and drove in three runs in extending his hit streak to eight games, matching the longest by a Sound in 2008.


Sounds hitters belted three home runs on the evening, the club's third straight contest with at least three longballs and its tenth in a row with at least one big fly (20 home runs over that stretch).


Nashville (5-16) continued its recent trend of quick starts, plating three runs in the top of the first inning for the fourth straight contest on its current road trip.


Nelson plated the game's first run with a two-out RBI infield single before Rottino smacked his fourth home run of the year, a two-run shot to left off Omaha starter Matt Wright. All three runs came in unearned due to a fielding error by Royals left fielder Chris Lubanski.


Omaha got a run back in the bottom of the first on a two-out Shane Costa homer off Zach Jackson and pulled within a run at 3-2 with a second-inning sacrifice fly before grabbing a 5-3 advantage with a three-run third against the southpaw. Mike Aviles, Ryan Shealy, and Matt Tupman all touched Jackson for solo longballs in the frame.


The Sounds rallied to reclaim the lead in the following half-inning with a four-run outburst that chased Wright from the ballgame. After Rottino opened the frame with a walk, Branyan and Brendan Katin connected on back-to-back home runs, their fourth and third roundtrippers of the year respectively. Nashville added its fourth run of the inning when Abraham Nunez scored on a double-play grounder.


AUDIO: Russell Branyan Home Run


The Royals responded with another rally against Jackson, chasing the left-hander with three runs in the home half of the fourth to grab an 8-7 lead. The outburst was highlighted by a two-run Mitch Maier homer.


Nashville evened things at 8-8 in the fifth when Nelson singled, stole second, and score on a Branyan RBI double, the veteran's team-leading ninth two-bagger of the year.


The Sounds retook an 11-8 lead in the sixth against the Omaha bullpen. With one out, Hernan Iribarren doubled then Mike Cameron and Joe Dillon drew walks from Brad Salmon, who was replaced by Jeff Fulchino. Nelson greeted the right-hander with a two-run, go-ahead single to right and Branyan added a two-out RBI single later in the stanza.


Omaha pulled within two at 11-9 in the bottom of the seventh with an unearned run stemming from a Nunez fielding error.


Nashville tacked on a pair of insurance runs in the eighth as a pair of walks again came back to haunt Royals relievers. With one out, Dillon and Nelson drew free passes from Fulchino. Rottino and Branyan followed with consecutive RBI singles that stretched the Nashville lead to 13-9.


Veteran left-hander Erasmo Ramirez (1-0) earned the victory after he cooled off the Royals' offense upon taking over for Jackson. He worked an efficient 2 2/3 innings, during which he allowed only one hit and threw 38 pitches.


Salmon (2-1) took the loss for Omaha after giving up four runs on three hits in his 1 1/3 innings of relief work.

Neither starter was especially effective in the contest but both took no-decisions. Jackson allowed eight runs on nine hits over 3 1/3 innings and saw his season ERA increase to 8.89 through five starts. Wright allowed seven runs (four earned) on six hits over his four frames of action.


Nashville will look to score its first series victory of the year when the wrap up the weather-shortened three-game series with a 1:35 p.m. finale on Sunday afternoon. Left-hander Chris Narveson (0-3, 4.29) will make the start for the Sounds to face Omaha southpaw and former Milwaukee Brewer Jorge De La Rosa (2-0, 1.15).


Nashville Box Score

Brad Nelson is slugging nearly .700 -- he's absolutely raking, the decision the Brewers made to add him to the 40-man last October, instead of allowing him to walk in minor league free agency, was questioned by many (my hand is raised), but you have to be psyched for Brad; Nelson's OPS is 1.122, Russell Branyan's is 1.199; fantastic bullpen work, while Zach Jackson -- not so much...


Nashville Game Log

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Brevard County Site Game Summary:

Manatees Ride Hot "Hand" to Victory
By Tyler Stover / MLB.com

While the Florida State League is widely considered a league that favors strong pitching, the Brevard County Manatees did not seem to care about this early in the season, riding their hot bats to victories instead. In recent games, however, the Manatees pitching staff has stepped up to the challenge, with Donovan Hand's Saturday night masterpiece the latest example. Hand (3-1) gave Brevard County 7.2 dominant innings in their 5-1 victory over Vero Beach, earning his third win of the season. Hand scattered eight hits in the game, allowing just one run while walking zero Devil Rays.

Hand appeared to be in for a rough night early on, as he allowed five consecutive hits to start the game. He managed to escape the inning with only one run allowed, though, as catcher Martin Maldonado helped the cause by gunning down Vero Beach's Garrett Groce on an attempt to steal second base. Hand came up with a key strikeout, and then forced Matthew Fields to ground out to end the inning. Hand settled down after the rough first inning, allowing no runs and just three hits the rest of the way.

The Manatees, as they have all season, responded quickly. Stephen Chapman started off the second inning with a walk, followed by a double by Charlie Fermaint. This brought up Matt Cline, who entered the game in the first inning after an injury to starter Kenny Holmberg. Cline rose to the occasion, lining a single to right field to score both baserunners. He later came around to score on a wild pitch. The Manatees added their other two runs in the fourth inning, as Yohannis Perez and Lorenzo Cain each added an RBI single sandwiched between three Vero Beach errors.

Hand breezed through the Devil Rays lineup all the way to the 8th inning, retiring 12 straight batters at one point. After allowing two Vero Beach hitters to reach base, he was finally replaced by left-hander Casey Baron. Baron walked the first hitter he faced to load the bases, but induced a groundout to end the threat. He stayed in to pitch a perfect ninth inning, earning his first save of the season. After tonight's performance, Donovan Hand is now 2-0 with only one run allowed in 14.1 innings over his last two outings.

Heath Rollins (0-1) took the loss for the Devil Rays, allowing five runs (three earned) in six innings of work. Quinn Stewart's home run (3) in the first inning represented the only run for Vero Beach. The Devil Rays have now lost four consecutive games. Mike Jones (0-0, 5.63) faces off against Jeremy Hellickson (2-0, 0.78) in tomorrow's matchup, starting at 1:00 PM (12:00 Central).

Lorenzo Cain takes a lead during Brevard County's 5-1 victory. (MiLB.com Photo by Dennis Greenblatt)



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David Weiser's www.starsboxscore.com


Stars Turn 3


A Saturday game played at a Sunday pace. It took roughly a half-hour to get through each full inning during the middle portion of the game..... But it was a wonderfully warm day to catch some day baseball, and to watch the Stars march over Southern League competition, particularly the Southern Division...... The Stars, who have now won seven of their last nine, are 11-2 vs. South teams...... But North or South, what does it matter? This team is playing like it can beat anyone....... Just point to any one of a number of offensive categores...... They are hitting .289, their best April at the plate in their history -- by far...... They are 15-8 -- one loss more than the best W-L Pct. in their history. One more victory and they tie a record for April that was set in 2003, when they got off to a 16-10 start....... They have ten or more hits in ten games. One more, and they set a record for April.......


The Stars lead the Southern League in runs scored with 133. The Stars didn't score that many last year until May 10, and they didn't have a bad season last year.......They have led in more games after five innings (13-2), six innings (13-1), and seven innings (14-1) than any team in the league...... They lead the league, not just in batting, but in slugging (.439) and on-base percentage (.364) as well...... Still, in a very strong and competitive division this year, they are a game in back of Carolina, a team with the best pitching in the league (2.63)...... The Stars staff is .78 runs behind, and still has a very respectable 3.41 ERA. It should be a very interesting series when the Mudcats come to the Joe in the middle of May.


The Stars won their 3rd straight against Jacksonville, which they haven't done since the 2001 season, when they won four straight over the course of two series....... In so doing, the Stars have hit .333 and outscored the Suns, 23-9........ Even the pitchers are hitting well, driving in five runs in the last eight games, although the season mark is .219...... Two hitting streaks to watch for Sunday -- Mat Gamel 's 12-game hitting streak is, along with Chattanooga's B.J. Szymanski, the longest current streak in the league. Gamel raised his average from .256 when the streak started to .341, going 21-for-52 (.404)....... Alcides Escobar is on a smaller nine-game streak (16-for-39, .410), raising his average from .185 when it began to .280.


David Welch pitched himself out of some jams before the Stars started to pile on the runs in the middle innings...... After spotting the Suns a run in the 1st on Greg Jacobs' single to right-center, Welch retired Russ Mitchell and Rene Rivera on fly balls to right and with a runner in scoring position in the 2nd, Welch, who sparingly strikes out hitters, got James Tomlin swinging at strike three to end the inning...... But he owed a lot to his defense, which came up with two double plays, which snuffed out leadoff hits in the 5th and 6th innings, and a triple play in the 4th -- the 3rd in Stars history.


I thought, like Stars announcer Brett Pollock, that it was the 2nd triple play in Stars history. It was actually the 3rd....... Oddly enough, they all were at home. The first one came August 2, 2002 vs. Jacksonville in the 1st inning. Bubba Crosby hit into a 9-4-6-3 TP, Cristian Guerrero-Keith Luuloa-J.J. Hardy-Jeff Deardorff....... The 2nd came against Mobile, August 23, 2005 when Steve Baker hit into a 1-2-3-5 TP with the bases loaded in the 4th inning, Ty Taubenheim-Jeff Winchester-Brandon Gemoll-Nelson Castro turned that one, with an alert Gemoll firing to third to get the runner, whose momentum had taken him too far off the bag.


Historical footnote: The Stars, as part of the A's organization at the time, turned a controversial triple play vs. Greenville, July 26, 1993 that was offically erased from the books after manager Bruce Kimm's protest was recognized by the league. It came in the 2nd inning. Interestingly enough, Greenville had pulled a triple play on the Stars earlier that season on May 27. Tim Gillis opened the inning with a single to center. Lee Heath then bunted past pitcher Scott Baker for an infield hit. On a 3-2 pitch to Ed Giavanola, the runners took off. Giavanola sliced a liner into the gap in left-center. Chris Hart ran the ball down for the first out, then threw to Francisco Matos, who doubled up Gillis for the second out. Matos threw to first to try and complete the triple-killing on the returning Heath. His throw was low, skipping past 1st baseman Jim Bowie. Heath had taken second on contact, but Manager Casey Parsons came out of the dugout and appealed. Heath was thumbed out for not retouching second base as he returned to first. Greenville manager Bruce Kimm filed a protest and the game was replayed, wiping out HRs by George Williams and John Kuehl and giving Fausto Cruz a second chance at breaking the club hit streak record Jim Bowie established at 19. The game was replayed two days later. Huntsville won, 5-3, but Fausto Cruz went 0-for-3.


The Stars got on board in the 2nd when Cole Gillespie, carrying a .210 average, homered to left, just clearing the wall. Freddy Parejo, who continues to have a record bat for April, drove in the 2nd run in the 4th with a soft two-out liner to left-center, bringing in Carlos Corporan who walked, took 2nd on a sacrifice by Welch, and 3rd on a wild pitch.......Parejo stole second, then scored on Escobar's line single to left-center, making it 3-1...... Parejo needs just three at-bats to officially have the hottest April in the record books for the Stars. Even if he goes 0-for-3, Parejo will end up with a .460 average, far outdistancing Marcos Armas, who hit .415 in April of 1992 - the best April to date.


The Stars put this one out of reach in the 5th when they scored three times to make it 6-1.....Against Rick Asadoorian, the former Chattanooga outfielder-turned-pitcher, Matt LaPorta, Chris Errecart, and Gillespie loaded the bases on a walk, a single to right, and another walk. It looked like Asadoorian would escape this jam, getting Michael Bell to foul out near the Chattanooga dugout and Corporan to strike out on 2-and-2, but Welch, with his parents in attendance, singled up the middle on a 3-2 count, scoring LaPorta and Errecart...... Then Parejo, behind 0-and-2, hit a one-hop liner that fell in left, bringing in Gillespie to make it 6-1...... Mat Gamel, who had hit just one home run, lined one in the 5th inning off the Cook's Pest Control sign in right, the second level of signage out there, for the Stars' 7th and final run.......... Gamel is doing a better job in the field than last year, according to GM Buck Rogers, who saw him play at Brevard last year. Affirming that, he has made five errors this month, compared to 11 in April of 2007.


Don't know which is brighter, the afternoon sun or the Suns' bright yellow uniform tops. They're a sight to see.


Michael Bell hit his first double since April 7 in the 2nd inning, following Gillespie's homer...... Cole Gillespie has left 10 on base in 12 at-bats in this series........ In the first major transaction this season, the Stars released Rusty Tucker, who was trying to comeback after two elbow surgeries, and added former West Tennessee pitcher Juan Sandoval, who made his Stars debut in this game.


2:05 game tomorrow, if the rain holds off...... Brae Wright (1-2, 3.27) will face right-hander Jesus Castillo (0-1, 2.79).


Reggie Rivard, the Canadian reliever from Alberta who was 3-1 with a 6.55 ERA in 22 appearances for the Stars in 2004, is pitching again in the indy leagues this year for Calgary in the Golden League. For the past three seasons, he has been with Edmonton, his hometown, in the Northern League, where he was 13-17 with a 5.73 ERA.


With the success of "3Rs for the Stars" GM Buck Rogers wants to take this a step further in Huntsville next year...... Taking an idea he implemented at Brevard County, Rogers wants to incorporate baseball with the students' education at every grade level but high school (and he's not averse to that idea)....... As he did at Brevard, Rogers wants to solicit the ideas and suggestions of teachers and school board members for a teachers' guide, similar to one used successfully at Brevard........ Students would learn, of course, how math is applied to baseball, but also geometry, geography, science, social studies, and language arts, as well....... For instance one of the tasks Buck described to me is how the kids would have to identify the places the Stars are from on an outlined map...... It would presumably be called Education Day at Joe Davis Stadium. Buck told me he plans to present his ideas as early as September.

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Sounds swinging in the rain

By Rob White

Omaha World-Herald Staff Writer


When the series with Omaha started, Nashville's Brad Nelson had a good number for home runs and a less than thrilling total in RBIs.


The number for each was four.


"Guys were giving me grief about how many (RBIs) I would end up with," Nelson said. "It just shows how early in the season it really is."


Nelson continued his two-game tear Saturday night against the Royals, adding three hits and three RBIs to his two-homer, five-RBI game in Thursday's opener and leading the Sounds to a 13-9 win before 3,987 (paid) at Rosenblatt Stadium.


Game-long drizzle, all three hours and 15 minutes worth, made it miserable for both sides, leading to sloppy fielding and struggling pitching.


But Nashville came out smiling at the end.


"We're happy with the first Sounds night victory of the year," Nelson said. "But it was pretty ridiculous conditions out there."


The Sounds had lost their first 14 under the lights as part of a sluggish 5-16 start. It's unfamiliar territory for a team that has won three straight division titles.


"We've started to put up some runs, but we're just not used to starting out like this after the teams we've had the last few years," Nelson said. "We haven't pushed the panic button yet, but we know we've got to get some things done and get this season turned around before it drags out too much longer."


Nelson, 25, the former Nebraska recruit from Algona, Iowa, was part of all three of those teams, and seems to be getting back on track after a disappointing 2006. Once considered Milwaukee's top prospect, Nelson made a comeback with 20 homers last year for the Sounds and is hitting .364.


"He's made some nice adjustments in his swing," Nashville manager Frank Kremblas said.


Nelson had plenty of help Saturday, as he, Russell Branyan and Vinny Rottino combined to go 9 for 12 with 11 RBIs.


They outslugged an Omaha team that got home runs from each of the top five hitters in the order - Mitch Maier, Mike Aviles, Shane Costa, Ryan Shealy and Matt Tupman - in the first four innings.


But the Royals also gave up potentially six runs because of defensive miscues brought about by the conditions.

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