It was a generally tough night on the farm, especially for our minor leaguer bats, with the Low-A Mudcats, AA Shuckers, and AAA Sounds combining to produce just 13 hits and five runs. Thankfully Wisconsin second baseman Tyler Black got the job done with a walk-off, one-out single to score the organization one win on the evening.
Game Balls go to RHP TJ Shook, RHP Brannon Jordan, C Jakson Reetz, 2B Tyler Black, 1B Ernesto Martinez, and the Mudcat fielders who threw out four baserunners. A special mention goes out to RHP Lun Zhao for his Low-A Carolina debut.
- OF Tristen Lutz placed on AA Biloxi's 7-day injured list
- There’s some confusion around the status of Low-A Carolina OF Hendry Mendez, whose 7-day injury list placement was immediately rescinded. Perhaps he’s in a concussion protocol after a collision on Wednesday
Via the Mudcats’ website, game details, and we encourage readers to review each of the affiliate write-ups as part of their Link Report routine: Carolina Suffers First Home Loss 8-1
The game was closer than the score, as the Mudcats trailed just 2-0 entering the eighth inning. However, it also could have been far worse, as the squad threw out four Hillcat baserunners while managing just two hits offensively.
RHP Brannon Jordan made his third straight solid start, yielding just one run and three hits over five innings, but unfortunately, the lack of offense left him wearing the loss.
While offensive futility was the name of the game for the Mudcats (13 Ks vs. just two hits and one walk), difficulty in the bullpen also entered the picture. RHP Carlos F. Rodriguez, in particular, had his second consecutive rough appearance, throwing 51 pitches but covering just 1 2/3 innings and giving up five earned runs, with all the damage occurring in his sec inning of work.
In his highly-anticipated Low-A Carolina debut, 20-year-old RHP Lun Zhao was understandably nervous. Entering with runners at second and third base in the eighth inning, he walked the first two batters on nine pitches before earning his first out on three swinging strikes.
But let’s give credit where it’s due:
- C Jose Sibrian threw out attempted stealers in the first and fifth innings
- RF Arbert Cipion gunned down a runner headed to third base in the sixth inning to keep the game close
- LF Oswel Leones threw out a runner headed to third base in the eighth inning
Performances of Note:
- Eduardo Garcia – 1-4, RBI
- Branndon Jordan (Loss) – five innings, one run, five strikeouts
Friday’s outlook: Expect RHPs Edwin Jimenez and Israel Puello to cover most innings as the Mudcats try to extend their 2-1 series lead.
Via the Timber Rattlers’ website, game details: Black and the Rattlers Win on Another Walkoff
With RHP TJ Shook dominating for the third time this year, the Timber Rattlers appeared to have this one comfortably in hand, leading 5-1 entering the eighth inning. But that would be forgetting that the 2022 Wisconsin Timber Rattlers prefer drama.
Through 15 2/3 innings, Shook now has a 0.57 ERA, 0.64 WHIP, and 13.2 K/9 ratio, competing with AAA Nashville’s Jason Alexander for organizational pitcher of the month thus far. Before likely tiring in the sixth inning, he’d only allowed an infield hit (who was erased by C Darrien Miller on an attempted steal), one hit-by-pitch and a solo home run.
Leading 4-1 in the top of the sixth inning, TJ did allow two River Bandits to reach base (walk, hit-by-pitch), both of which were stranded by RHP Brady Schanuel. 1B Ernesto Martinez then added a solo no-doubter in the sixth inning.
Normally-reliable RHPs Max Lazar and Cam Robinson both struggled, thus making the game interesting. Lazar escaped the seventh inning in spite of giving up a single, double and walk, but wasn’t as fortunate in a 3-run eighth inning (single, single, three-run homer). Robinson then gave up an infield single and three straight walks to knot up the game at 5-5, before Martinez (walk, stolen base, run) and Tyler Black came to the rescue in the bottom of the ninth inning with an opposite field, game-winning single.
Performances of Note:
- Tyler Black – 2-4, double, walk, 2 RBIs
- Joe Gray Jr. – 2-4, RBI
- Ernesto Martinez – 1-3, HR, walk, RBI, SB
- Sal Frelick – 1-3, double, 2 walks
- Zavier Warren – 1-4, RBI
- TJ Shook – 5 2/3 innings, 1 run, 7 Ks
- Cam Robinson (Win) – 1 inning, 1 run, 1 K
Full highlight package -
Postgame Podcast via the Rattler Radio Soundcloud:
"They did it again! The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers beat the Quad Cities River Bandits 6-5 on April 21 with a walkoff, RBI single by Tyler Black. The Rattlers have won via walkoff four times this season are now 9-3. Chris Mehring & Kyle Lobner discuss the details before Black, TJ Shook, and Joe Ayrault have comments from the clubhouse. If you come to a game this year, don't leave early!"
Friday’s outlook: LHP Antoine Kelly makes his third start, still searching for his first win, as Wisconsin aims for a fourth straight victory at home over Quad Cities.
Audio via WSCO's "The Show with Leo and Balky: Timber Rattlers' President Rob Zerjav (go to the 16:45 minute mark)=
Audio via WSCO's "The Show with Leo and Balky: Timber Rattlers' Manager Joe Ayrault (go to the 12:50 minute mark)
We learn that Tyler Black's week-long absence was due to a sprained finger; Ayrault with praise for OF Tristan Peters
Via the Shuckers’ website, game details: Reetz’ Late Home Run Not Enough, Shuckers Fall Short 4-3
Credit for keeping this one close goes to the terrific bullpen duo RHPs Nash Walters and Zach Vennaro, who covered 3 2/3 innings without allowing a run. Their effort, along with C Jakson Reetz’ singular heroics, were nearly enough to enable Biloxi to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. But alas, Reetz was left as on third base in the top of the ninth inning as the potential game-tying run.
A CF Garrett Mitchell first-inning double (6-game hitting streak) and two walks produced a first-inning lead on a 2B Felix Valerio sacrifice fly.
The team then stranded two runners in the third inning before Birmingham opened up a 4-1 lead against Biloxi RHP starter Tyler Herb in the bottom half of the frame on three hits and an error.
The rest of the game centred on Reetz, whose two-run, sixth inning homer (third of the year) brought Biloxi to within 4-3. Then after the next eight Shuckers failed to reach base, Reetz doubled with one out in the ninth inning and moved to third base on a balk.
Unfortunately, 3B Cam Devanney (ground out) and LF Noah Campbell (strike out) were unable to bring him home, as the Shuckers suffered their third straight 1-run defeat.
Performances of Note:
- Jakson Reetz – 2-4, HR, double, 2 RBIs
- Thomas Dillard – 1-3, double, walk
- Garrett Mitchell – 1-4, double
- Tyler Herb (Loss) – 4.0 innings, 4 runs (3 earned), 6 Ks
- Nash Walters – 1 2/3 innings, zero runs, 1 K
- Zach Vennaro – 2 innings, zero runs, 1 K
Friday’s outlook: RHP Victor Castaneda (2.70 ERA in 10.0 innings) makes his third start. Biloxi needs a win tonight to prevent falling behind 0-4 in the series.
Via the Sounds’ website, game details: Sounds’ Winning Streak Snapped at Four Games
Despite sitting two of their big bats, Nashville appeared well-placed to win this one at home, with RHP Josh Lindblom cruising through five scoreless innings (scattering three hits with no walks) and the game still knotted 0-0. However, things fell apart in the sixth inning with the Knights putting together six(!) singles and a walk against the combined efforts of Lindblom and LHP Rex Brothers for a 5-0 lead.
The main Sounds’ threat was in that same sixth inning, producing one run and two more baserunners before a Charlotte catcher picked 2B Mark Mathias off at first base to protect a 5-1 lead which would hold up the rest of the way.
Performances of Note:
- Garrett Whitley – 2-3, walk
- Mark Mathias – 2-4
- Tyler White – 1-4, RBI
- Josh Lindblom (Loss) – 5 innings, 3 runs, 8 Ks
- Connor Sadzeck – 2/3 inning, zero runs
- Zach Brown – 1 inning, zero runs, 2 Ks
- Luis Perdomo – 1 inning, zero runs, 2 Ks
- Hobie Harris – 1 inning, zero runs, 1 K
Friday’s outlook: LHP Ethan Small (0.68 ERA in 13 1/3 innings) is on the hill for his fourth start of the year, as Nashville looks to take a 3-1 series lead at home against Charlotte.
We hope that you enjoy the Minor League Link Report. Better luck on Friday, gentlemen!