Liuzza Lifts Lansing as Snider Slumps

Saturday, June 30 2007 @ 12:26 PM EDT

Contributed by: Thomas

The affiliates went 4-1 yesterday evening with only Auburn’s one-run loss to Williamsport spoiling the night. There was impressive pitching by Blue Jays farmhands in both Triple-A and the Gulf Coast League, while Lansing had one of its best offensive nights of the year, despite a lack of production from its most feared hitter.

Charlotte 2 @ Syracuse 5 - Boxscore

Josh Banks had one of his best starts in Triple-A yesterday against Charlotte. Banks improved to 7-5 on the strength of a 113-pitch performance. Banks gave up two runs on seven hits in eight innings, but was in complete control of the game with nine strikeouts and no walks on the evening. Banks now has 60 strikeouts to 12 walks on the season and looks very much like he is Josh Towers, version 2. He’s even struggling with the long ball, as both runs last night were scored off solo home runs.  Justin James continues to pitch well for Syracuse and struck out the side in the ninth for his first save.

Every Chiefs starter had a hit last night but John Ford-Griffin and Jeff Duncan, while the latter pitched in with a walk. Chad Mottola hit his ninth homer of the year off Charlotte’s starter Charlie Haeger. Haeger pitched well at times, despite all five runs scoring when he was on the mound. He registered 10 strikeouts and Mottola’s home run was the only earned run scored off Haeger. The other runs were scored with walks and the help of five Charlotte errors, including three by 3B Paul Snyder

New Britain 4 @ New Hampshire 9 - Boxscore

Kurt Isenberg picked up his third win of the season against the New Britain Rock Cats. He went six-plus innings and gave up all four runs on nine hits and a walk. He struck out six. Isenberg ran into problems in the top of the seventh, with New Hampshire holding an 8-1 lead. He gave up a double and three singles to begin the inning, allowing two more Rock Cat runs. Jean Machi came in and allowed one of the two inherited runners to score before he and Sean Stidfole pitched the last three innings and didn’t allow a hit.

Every Fisher Cat had a hit and every Fisher Cat but one scored a run. Robinzon Diaz, Chip Cannon and Dustin Majewski all had two hits, while the rest of the lineup had one. Majewski had two doubles while Cannon hit his thirteenth homer of the year, which was the game’s only long ball. Cannon and Rob Cosby both had 3 RBIs and Diaz had 2. Hot-hitting Aaron Mathews only went 1-5

Dayton @ Dunedin


Lansing 15 @ Great Lakes 7 - Boxscore

Lansing looked to be in tough last night facing heralded Dodgers prospect and first-round pick Clayton Kershaw. Kershaw demonstrated the nasty stuff he possesses recording seven strikeouts in 4.2 innings. However, the rest of his line isn’t nearly as impressive as Kershaw gave up three in both the second and fifth innings. Lansing added one run in the seventh off reliever Thomas Melgarejo. The team then exploded in the last two innings with four off Melgarejo and Yulkin German in the eighth and four off German in the ninth. It could have been more but James Peterson, the right fielder, came in to pitch with the bases loaded and one out and got Travis Snider to fly into a double play, as Jonathan Diaz was thrown out at the plate.

Heading into the bottom of nine it was 15-1 Lansing. Zach Dials was in line for the win with 5 strong innings. He gave up four hits, a walk and one run and struck out five. Benjamin Harrison had completed three innings of shut out relief and Ted Serro was in to finish off the game. Unfortunately, this was an outing to forget for Serro. Two walks were followed by three singles and then a Thomas Giles triple cleared the bases to make it 15-6. Serro departed without recording an out and Julio Pinto retired the next three Great Lakes batters.

I don’t think we’ll get to say this very often, but on a night when his team scored 15 runs Travis Snider was held hitless. He walked and scored a run, but was 0-5 on the night and was retired by a position player subbing in a pitcher. Yuber Rodriguez also struggled with an 0-4 line that included three strikeouts. He also walked and scored. Raul Barron was 0-4 with a walk, as well. The Lugnuts only had four extra-base hits on the night. One was a homer by Matt Liuzza, who went 3-4 with 3 runs, 2 RBIs and a walk. Evidently, Liuzza wants Bauxites to reconsider their midseason hitter prospect poll votes. First baseman Kevin Nelson had three hits, including a double, and added three runs and three RBIs. The Jonathans (Jaspe and Diaz) each had two hits, two RBIs and a walk, although Diaz did it in one less at-bat.

Auburn 5 @ Williamsport 6 - Boxscore

After three innings it was 1-0 Williamsport. The Crosscutters brought in Abel Gomez in relief of starter Luke Wertz and he retired Shawn Scobee on a strikeout and Baron Frost on a fly ball. A two-out homer by JP Arencibia seemed to rattle Gomez, as he wasn’t the same pitcher afterwards. Gomez gave up five Auburn runs without retiring a batter and after the inning ended it was 5-1 Auburn. However, the Doubleday bats went back to sleep and Williamsport fought back and won the game.

The cluster of runs in the fourth and the inability to hit outside that inning means that Auburn’s stat line is mostly full of players with 1-4 afternoons. This comes although only two Auburn players recorded a hit during that inning and most of the offence was helped by two walks and three hit by pitches. Adam Calderone is the only Doubleday to reach base twice (on a hit and a walk) and was the second most notable offensive player on the team behind Arencibia. Every pitcher for the Doubledays was thoroughly mediocre,  including starter Kyle Walter who gave up 3 in 4.2 innings on two hits and four walks.

GCL Blue Jays 3 @ GCL Tigers 2 - Boxscore

The biggest news from this game was that a “Jackson, SS” led off for the GCL Blue Jays. As Mike Green speculated, it’s very likely that this is Justin Jackson, the Jays fourth pick from this year’s draft. Jackson was a highly heralded high school SS with great defence and intriguing offensive potential. He went 1-2 with a run and a stolen base before being pulled halfway through the game for first overall pick Kevin Ahrens. Ahrens went 0-2 with a strikeout. The Blue Jays scored their runs on a John Tolisano single, a Kevin Denis-Fortier sac fly and a two-base throwing error by Tigers catcher Joseph Bowen that allowed Tolisano to score from first on a stolen base attempt. The only two Blue Jays with two hits were Balbino Fuenmayor and first baseman Michael McDade, who both went 2-4 and combined to hit all three extra-base hits by the team, all doubles.

Brian Letko started for the GCL Blue Jays in his third appearance and second start for the team. He got the win with five strong innings of two-hit ball. He didn’t allow a walk and struck out five. Letko has now pitched 10.2 innings of shutout baseball, although two unearned runs have scored. He has not walked a batter yet and has nine strikeouts. Nathan Melek came on in relief and gave up two runs, one earned, before John Zinnicker finished the game and picked up a save.

3 star selection

3rd star – Kevin Nelson, 3-5, 3 R, 2B, 3 RBI, 4 TB

2nd star – Josh Banks, 8 IP, 7 H, 2 ER, 0 BB, 9 K

1st star – Matt Liuzza, 3-4, 3 R, HR, 3 RBI, BB, 6 TB