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Link Report for Games of Tuesday May 20th

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Tuesday's Daily Menu:


All times Central; pitchers subject to change --


Nashville: LHP Lindsay Gulin at home vs. Memphis (Cardinals), 5:45 PM pre-game; 6:00 gametime


Audio link:



Huntsville: Idle


Brevard County: LHP Zach Braddock at home vs. Sarasota (Reds), 6:00 PM gametime


Sorry, no audio for this series...

West Virginia: LHP Dan Merklinger at Lake County (Indians), 5:50 PM pre-game, 6:05 gametime


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


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Follow Tuesday'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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Nashville's division a bastion of mediocrity, allowing the Sounds to compete for yet another title; in comparison, the Stars are in a real dogfight despite their outstanding start, complicated by the recent tough Carolina series; the 8-36 St. Lucie Mets have lost 12 in a row (The Manatees are 5-1 against them); and while Milwaukee may be MLB's only sixth-place team, the Power are floundering in 7th in an eight-team division...


 Pacific Coast League (AAA) - PCL American North Division Standings ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Team W L PCT GB HOME ROAD STREAK ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Memphis 22 23 .489 - 9-11 13-12 L1 Iowa 21 22 .488 - 13-9 8-13 W1 Omaha 19 23 .452 1.5 11-12 8-11 L1 Nashville 19 24 .442 2.0 11-9 8-15 W2 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 

 Southern League (AA) - SOU North Division Standings ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Team W L PCT GB HOME ROAD STREAK ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Huntsville 30 15 .667 - 18-7 12-8 L2 West Tenn 28 16 .636 1.5 15-4 13-12 W5 Carolina 26 19 .578 4.0 11-9 15-10 W2 Chattanooga 24 21 .533 6.0 14-11 10-10 W2 Tennessee 16 29 .356 14.0 6-14 10-15 L1 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 

 Florida State League (A+) - FSL East Division Standings ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Team W L PCT GB HOME ROAD STREAK ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Palm Beach 27 17 .614 - 17-8 10-9 W1 Brevard County 23 21 .523 4.0 14-10 9-11 W3 Daytona 23 21 .523 4.0 9-9 14-12 W5 Jupiter 22 22 .500 5.0 13-6 9-16 W1 Vero Beach 21 23 .477 6.0 14-7 7-16 W1 St. Lucie 8 36 .182 19.0 5-20 3-16 L12 ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 

 South Atlantic League (A) - SAL Northern Division Standings ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Team W L PCT GB HOME ROAD STREAK ------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Lake County 28 15 .651 - 12-9 16-6 W2 Delmarva 23 19 .548 4.5 15-9 8-10 W1 Greensboro 24 20 .545 4.5 10-12 14-8 L1 Hagerstown 22 21 .512 6.0 9-11 13-10 W2 Hickory 23 22 .511 6.0 7-12 16-10 W7 Lakewood 21 23 .477 7.5 12-12 9-11 W2 West Virginia 16 26 .381 11.5 7-13 9-13 L2 Lexington 13 30 .302 15.0 5-16 8-14 L2 

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First-place team merits audience

Contact Bill Bryant at bill.bryant@htimes.com

Huntsville Times


In my never-ending quest to pick up all things random off the floor in my house, I stumbled across a keepsake Monday morning that brought a sentimental smile to my face.


It was a ball - and given the season, that can range anywhere from golf, to tennis, to soft to basket to even Whiffle - marked by a star. A hand-drawn, black magic marker star, penned not-so-perfectly on an official Southern League baseball, with president Don Mincher's signature to prove it.


On one side it read "Stars game 2001." On the other side, scribbled in a first-grader's scrawl, it read "Will."


Chances are, if you've lived here long enough, you have a Southern League ball somewhere in your house, back yard or garage.


And chances are, you are planning on making at least one trek out to Joe Davis Stadium this season to watch the Huntsville Stars play, if you haven't already.


Looking at the numbers through 24 home games, though, it's apparent most of you haven't already. After Monday afternoon's debatable crowd of 1,684 came through the turnstiles, the Stars are averaging 2,031 for the season.


That's last in the Southern League, even though the team is in first place with a 30-15 record.


It's an all-too-familiar refrain. Huntsville has been ninth in attendance the last two years, despite winning the North Division.


Like a 7-year-old trying to untie a double-knot in his shoe, first-year general manager Buck Rogers is trying to undo a lot of what has been done - or not done - in the past.


Such as scheduling businessperson's specials like the one he witnessed Monday.


"That might be the last businessperson's special you'll see," Rogers said. "We only have 70 home games, and you have to maximize them. It's like we're planning 70 weddings, and we're the father of the bride."


Also on, as he put it, "the endangered species list" are buyouts (as much of a Huntsville tradition as the Stars themselves) and fireworks shows, to an extent. There are nine buyout nights this season and the fireworks will go off after every Friday night home game as planned, but don't look for that same schedule in 2009 and beyond.


"If you shoot fireworks off every Friday home game, how does that make it special?" Rogers asked. "If you do it once a month, then it becomes an event. That's the challenge that is before us - making as many games into events as possible."


Rogers, who was hired in February, came into this season much like a pinch-hitter who's put into the game facing an 0-2 count. Promotional dates were already lined up and schedules had been made.


That has forced Rogers to bide his time, which, given his oversized personality, might be the toughest part of his job right now.


"I'm tweaking what I can tweak," Rogers said. "We have a great staff here with great ideas. And they're certainly not all mine."


Next up for the Stars? "Meatloaf Night" on Saturday.


Not the "Two out of Three Ain't Bad" Meatloaf, but the kind your mom likes to make. Those wanting to show off their best meatloaf recipe can register with the Stars and have their dish tasted and voted on by the fans during the game against Birmingham (start time 2:05 p.m.).


The winner gets, among other things, two season tickets for 2009.


"Matt Price, our director of promotions, came up with it," Rogers said. "I laughed my head off when I heard that one. I thought it was a great idea."


Like most people who live in Huntsville, I also think it's a great idea to go to Stars games. I have driven past Joe Davis on a regular basis and often thought to myself "I need to get the family out there," - though not necessarily on "Meatloaf Night."


Before I know it, though, the season is over.


So, my advice to those procrastinators out there is this.


Don't blink. Or you'll be tripping over souvenirs in your house, wondering where all the time has gone.

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Still gotta remember....he's behind the rest in competitive innings...still working off the "ring rust"...I think he's doing fantastic! Wait till the walks go down...can you say dominant again!? Without 2 2 out walks in the 4th...no runs...looks good to me! Finished the 5th with 2 k's...anyone have any idea on pitch count?
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Final: Memphis (Cardinals) 4, Nashville 1


Nashville Site Game Summary:

Link for Russell Branyan photo, text follows --


Sounds Fall To Redbirds, 4-1


NASHVILLE - The Nashville Sounds dropped a 4-1 decision to the division-leading Memphis Redbirds on Tuesday evening at Greer Stadium.


Nashville (19-25) managed only five hits against three Memphis hurlers, including a pair of doubles by third baseman Russell Branyan.


The Sounds took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning when Laynce Nix scored on Branyan's two-out RBI double to left off Memphis starter Anthony Reyes. It was the veteran's team-leading 14th two-bagger and 34th RBI of the year.


AUDIO: Russell Branyan RBI Double


Memphis evened things in the third with a two-out run of its own. Ex-Sound Mark Johnson led off with a double into the right field corner and later scored on a Joe Mather RBI single.


A bout of Lindsay Gulin wildness allowed the visiting Redbirds to take a 2-1 lead with an unearned run in the top of the fifth inning. Reyes and Brian Barden led off with consecutive singles before a Gulin wild pitch advanced the runners to second and third. The Nashville hurler then misfired to first while fielding a Mather chopper, pulling Brad Nelson off the bag to load the bases. Gulin hit Josh Phelps with a pitch to force home Reyes with the go-ahead score.


The Redbirds added another unearned run in the sixth following a two-base fielding error by Sounds right fielder Brendan Katin. Gabe Johnson, who reached on the inning-opening error, scored to make it a 3-1 contest on a Barden RBI single.


Memphis tacked on its final tally in the eighth against Derrick Turnbow, taking advantage of a pair of walks to net a run on Mather's two-out RBI single to right.


Reyes (1-0) turned in a solid outing for Memphis, allowing one run on three hits while striking out seven batters over five innings of work.


Former Sound John Wasdin followed Reyes with three scoreless frames of one-hit relief before Jason Motte worked into and out of a bases-loaded jam in the ninth to notch his second save of the season.


Gulin (1-4) was saddled with the loss after surrendering two runs (one earned) on five hits while striking out six batters in five frames.


The teams continue the series with a noon matinee on Wednesday afternoon. Right-hander Jeff Weaver (1-1, 6.35) will make the start for Nashville to face Memphis right-hander P.J. Walters (1-0, 5.06).


Nashville Box Score

Derrick Turnbow has walked 11 in 3.2 IP with Nashville -- sad but true; it's May 20th, and Russell Branyan still carries a 1.135 OPS...


Nashville Game Log

Hernan Iribarren threw out a runner at home from left field in the 9th...

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Final: Brevard County 3, Sarasota (Reds) 1

Brevard County Box Score

Each club with only five hits, but the Manatees also drew seven walks (they issued four); Charlie Fermaint walked three times from the leadoff spot; Kenny Holmberg, slugging .302 (.302!) your cleanup man -- that's unique; Casey Baron and Omar Aguilar remain clutch in the back of the bullpen...


Brevard County Game Log

Chuckie Caufield with a two-run home run, his first bomb of the year, in the 3rd; Matt Cline singled in a run in the 2nd...

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West Virginia Site Game Summary:




The West Virginia Power were held to just three hits at Classic Park on Tuesday night, but they received solo homers from Zelous Wheeler and Scott Houin and earned their first extra inning victory of the season, defeating the Captains 3-2 in 12 innings.


Wheeler began the fourth inning with his third homer of the year to give West Virginia a 1-0 lead. The Captains plated a pair of runs in the fourth to take the lead. A wild pitch allowed Jeff Hehr to score the tying run in the fourth inning before Michael Valadez's groundout plated Dustin Realini to give the Captains the lead.


The Power had the bases loaded with two outs in the seventh inning when Brent Brewer scored the tying run on a wild pitch. West Virginia had been held hitless since the fifth inning until Houin blasted a solo home run in the top of the 12th inning to put the Power ahead for good.


Corey Frerichs (2-4) provided three scoreless innings of relief and struck out four batters to get the victory while Mike Ramlow (2) tossed a scoreless 12th inning to get the save. Gary Campfield (2-1) allowed a run on a hit over two innings and was tagged with the loss. Frerichs, Ramlow and Wes Etheridge combined to toss seven and a third scoreless innings of relief.


The Power improved to 17-26 with the win and the Captains fell to 28-16 with the loss. The two teams hit into four inning-ending double plays through the first two and a half innings. The game was West Virginia's first that went more than nine innings. They played two other extra inning games, but those were in scheduled seven inning contests. West Virginia is now 1-2 in games with extra frames.


The Power will continue their five game series against Lake County in Eastlake, Ohio with a doubleheader on Wednesday afternoon. In game one, right hander Evan Anundsen (3-3, 4.02) will get the start for the Power and the Captains will counter with left hander Ryan Morris (5-0, 2.59). In game two right hander Rob Bryson (1-2, 4.50) will take the mound for the Power and the Captains will counter with right hander Joanniel Montero (0-0, 6.00). The first pitch in game one is scheduled for 12:05 PM (11:05 AM Central).


West Virginia Box Score

Clean defense over 12 innings always a plus; Zelous Wheeler and Eric Fryer reached three times apiece; LH starter Dan Merklinger's outing, 4.2 innings, was his longest of the season as he continues to stretch out; Lee Haydel in the 9th spot...


West Virginia Game Log


Here's your go-ahead "jack-jackety-jack" call --

Go to the 3 hour, 34 minute mark of the WSWW archive of May 20th

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Branyan's new offense catches Brewers' eyes


Tennessean Staff Writer


Throughout his career, the Sounds' Russell Branyan has fit the definition of power hitter pretty comfortably.


In parts of 12 minor league seasons, Branyan has hit more than 200 home runs while striking out more than 1,000 times.


But a couple of adjustments have led to a new and improved Branyan - one that might get him back to the major leagues.


"He used to hit in batting practice, and he'd just launch balls and see how far he could hit them," Milwaukee Brewers General Manager Doug Melvin said during the Sounds' 4-1 loss Tuesday to Memphis at Greer Stadium. "But he's really working on being a better hitter. Some guys make adjustments."


Branyan's first-inning opposite-field double drove in Nashville's only run. He finished 2-for-4 with two doubles.


"In spring training, he and (Sounds hitting coach) Harry Spilman made an adjustment with where his hands started," Sounds Manager Frank Kremblas said. "They got his hands moved out away from his body. When he does his pre-pitch stuff, he gets them into a good hitting slot."


Entering Tuesday night's game, Branyan was hitting .359 - 100 points higher than his career minor league average - along with 11 home runs, 24 extra-base hits and a .683 slugging percentage to rank among the Pacific Coast League leaders in each category.


With the struggles that the Brewers have endured against right-handed pitching - the team slipped to last place in the National League Central - the left-hitting Branyan might be the cure for that team's offense.


"You look at his numbers, and they're pretty good," Melvin said. "We've been short a left-handed bat, but playing our regular guys, it's hard to take anybody up for any extended time."


Although he spent most of the 2007 season in the majors with the Padres, Phillies and Cardinals, the 32-year-old Branyan was in a fringe role.

Branyan was unavailable for comment following the game.


What they said: "We didn't do anything to really threaten them till the ninth. We gave them so many chances, and we used a lot of energy trying to get out of jams we created ourselves." - Kremblas.

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Turnbow continues struggles with Sounds


Tennessean Staff Writer


In four relief appearances since joining the Sounds on May 12, ex-Franklin High standout Derrick Turnbow has had his share of rough outings.


Tuesday night was no exception.


Working the eighth inning of Nashville's 4-1 loss to Memphis, Turnbow struck out the side but issued a pair of walks and gave up an earned run.


"He looked better than he has," Sounds Manager Frank Kremblas said of Turnbow, who improved his ERA from 10.12 to 9.82. "He threw more strikes (13 of 25 pitches); he got to two strikes on some guys and didn't have to throw the fastball to get back into the count."


Over 3 2/3 total innings, Turnbow has walked 11 with four strikeouts and four earned runs.


Tempers flare: Sounds catcher Vinny Rottino nearly set off a brawl after tagging out Gabe Johnson on a play at the plate to end the eighth inning. Rottino dropped the ball at Johnson's feet, and both dugouts emptied. Coaches quickly restored order.


Pomp and circumstance: Memphis radio play-by-play announcer Steve Selby, who held the same post for the Sounds during the late 1990s, missed Tuesday's game to attend his son's high school graduation. In Selby's absence, Predators radio play-by-play announcer Pete Weber filled in.


Nix clicks: A first-inning base hit extended Sounds center fielder Laynce Nix's hot streak. Nix has hit safely in 22 of 25 games and 13 of 14.


Runaways: With Vinny Rottino's fourth-inning stolen base, Nashville's Pacific Coast League-leading total went to 51 - five more than second-place Fresno.


Home sweet home: The Sounds have won nine of their past 13 games at Greer Stadium after a 2-7 start. The surge coincided somewhat with the team's May 1 move into the new clubhouse beyond the center-field fence. Since losing that day's game against Colorado Springs, Nashville is 7-3 in its new digs.

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