Marcus Nidiffer, center; Photo: UK Athletics
Highlights from Saturday Kentucky MiLB playoff action:
- Durham evened the International League playoff series with the Louisville Bats at two wins each after sending Louisville to an 8-1 loss. Left fielder Todd Frazier homered for the Bats.
- Former UK catcher and 2010 Astros NDFA Marcus Nidiffer slugged a home run to help short-season Tri-City to a 5-2 win in game one of the second round of the New York-Penn League playoffs.
- Former UofL first baseman and 2010 Rangers draftee Andrew Clark was 3-3 with two walks for short-season Spokane in the team’s 4-3 loss in the second round of the Northwest League playoffs.
The Bats’ season is officially over after a 5-3 loss to Durham in game five of the opening series of the International League playoffs. Louisville’s elimination signals the end of the minor league season for BluGrass Baseball minor league teams. Look for more links about the game this afternoon, and a season recap post for the Bats, but for now here’s the Courier-Journal recap of game five. Louisville mustered only five hits in the game, one of which was a bunt to lead off the ninth inning.
No links today as the Bats game-four win was the story of the day. Louisville will face Durham in the decisive game five at 5:05 at Slugger Field. Camilo Vazquez will take the mound for the Bats in game five. Vazquez has made only two starts for Louisville after spending most of the year with AA Carolina. In five appearances for Louisville, Vazquez was 0-0 with a 5.52 ERA. He was 5-2 with a 5.29 ERA at Carolina, so the Bats might be well served to put some runs on the board tonight.
Paul Phillips will make his second start of the season for Durham tonight. Phillips hasn’t been scored on in 7.2 AAA innings, and is 5-4 with a 2.51 ERA in 49 games between high A, AA and AAA this season.
You can watch game five on MiLB.TV or follow the MiLB gamecast.
The Louisville Bats put on an offense showcase en route to a 10-6 victory over Durham in game four of a best-of-five series. The Bats forced a decisive game five with their victory. Catcher Chris Denove led the Bats with two doubles, a run scored and three RBI. Left fielder Daniel Dorn was 1-1 with three runs scored, a home run and two walks.
Starting pitcher Tom Cochran surrendered six runs in two and one-third innings. Lee Tabor earned the win with four scoreless innings of relief and Logan Ondrusek pitched a perfect 1.2 innings to close the game and earn the save.
In place of the usual links post I thought today I’d highlight the different game stories from Louisville’s Friday loss to Durham in the first round of the International League playoffs.
Louisville starting pitcher Sam Lecure gave up four runs in six innings as Louisville fell 4-3 to Durham in game three of a five-game series. The Bats fell behind 2-1 in the series and must win the final two games of the series to advance. Reds top prospect Yonder Alonso drove in his first AAA run and Juan Francisco added two more hits in the loss, brining his batting average to .357 in the series.
Ben Jukich (9-6, 4.10) gets the start for Louisville tonight in game two of the five-game series against Durham in the first round of the International League playoffs. Louisville lost 8-4 in game one despite Juan Francisco’s two home runs in game one. Francisco leads the Bats’ attack tonight alongsid Chris Heisey and Todd Frazier. Shortstop Wes Bankston has been Louisville’s best batter against Durham this season with a .270 average, one home run and five RBI. Jukich is 0-0 with a 3.86 ERA against the Bulls this season in three games, including one start. You can watch the minorleaguebaseball.com gamecast here.
The Bats were just where they wanted entering the sixth inning Wednesday night. The score was tied at three, their young ace was on the mound and they had a major league outfielder and quartet of top prospects waiting to further dent the scoreboard. A funny thing happened on the way to the party though as Durham scored five in the sixth to post a 8-4 victory in game one of the best-of-five series.
Reliver Federico Baez replaced starter Travis Wood, who had struggled through a three-run fifth, to start the sixth inning. Former Bat Ray Olmedo greeted him with a one-out triple, before Baez struck out Desmond Jennings. The Bulls then strung together five consecutive hits to plate five runs with two outs, blowing the game open.
The Bulls’ win spoiled the AAA debut of Reds’ top prospect Yonder Alonso, who went 0-4 in the opener, and a two-home run night from slugger Juan Francisco. Durham starting pitcher Jeremy Hellickson struck out 12 Bats in five and two-thirds innings to earn the win.
Travis Wood gets the ball for Louisville tonight in game one of a best-of-five series against the Durham Bulls in the first round of the International League playoffs. Wood is 13-5 with a 1.77 ERA on the season, and its 4-2 with a 3.14 ERA for Louisville. The Bats have lost several players to big-league promotions but their opening game lineup still features top prospects Chris Heisey, Juan Francisco and Todd Frazier. To further improve their standing the Bats have major league outfielder and former top minor-league prospect Jay Bruce on rehab assignment, and the Reds promoted top prospect Yonder Alonso to Louisville for the playoff run. You can follow the minorleaguebaseball.com game tracker here.