Blue Rocks can’t complete rally, as Lovvorn stays winless

With their first winning homestand in the books, High-A Wilmington tried for their first series sweep of the season on Wednesday night. Instead, a 9th inning rally wasn’t enough, as they dropped the series finale to Winston-Salem, 4-3.

The Blue Rocks offense was held in check until the ninth (they had just four hits, but six walks). Austin Bailey and Robert Pehl started the rally with singles to start the inning. Nick Dini was hit by a pitch to load the bases for the top of the order.

Up came Cody Jones, who already had two doubles and a walk. He worked another walk to force in a run. Last night’s hero, shortstop Humberto Arteaga followed with an RBI ground out on a nice scoop by the Dash third baseman. Alfredo Escalera was hit by a pitch to reload the bases with one out.

That brought a pitching change and a wild pitch to bring in the third run. Unfortunately, Wander Franco popped out and Elier Hernandez grounded out to end the game.

“I really thought we were going to get them there,” manager Jamie Quirk said after the game. “We had the guys up we wanted with Wander up there, just didn’t get the fly ball deep enough. We made it interesting, we just have to find a way to score earlier in the game. Seventh, eighth, and ninth have been great but we have to find a way to have that same energy earlier in the game.”

Zach Lovvorn2

Blue Rocks starter Zach Lovvorn pitching on May 18, 2016 (Jen Nevius).

The 9th inning comeback wasn’t enough to take starter Zach Lovvorn off the hook. He dropped to 0-7 on the season, despite another quality start. He allowed two runs (one earned) on eight hits over seven innings. He struck out six. It was the first time Lovvorn had completed seven innings since April 30th, but it was his eighth appearance (out of 13) of giving up unearned runs. As a starter, Lovvorn gets 0.91 runs of support, as he lowered his ERA to 3.31 (seventh in the Carolina League).

“I might have to sacrifice a glove or some cleats or something,” Lovvorn said about his winless first half. “It’s frustrating but this kind of adversity is going to be good for me. I can either take it and let it bring me down or let it fuel my fire, which it has been, and go from there.”

 

How did the KC Royals full season teams do on Wednesday?

 

Triple-A Omaha ended their eight-game losing streak with an afternoon victory at OKC, 6-5 in 12 innings.

Hunter Dozier

Third baseman Hunter Dozier during spring training 2015 (Jen Nevius).

With one out in the top of the 12th, Hunter Dozier (who homered earlier) doubled. He moved to third base on a fly out and scored the go ahead run on an error.

The 12 inning affair taxed the Storm Chasers bullpen, as Malcom Culver got the start (3.1IP, 4H, 2R, ER, 2BB, 2K). Benino Pruneda followed and allowed three runs on two hits and a walk over three innings (he also allowed an inherited run to score). Lefty Scott Alexander was next and he allowed both inherited runs to score in the seventh that tied the game at 5-5 (2IP, 3H, 0R, 0BB, 4K).

Brooks Pounders earned the win, allowing just one hit and a walk over 3.2 scoreless innings. He struck out seven, including the final two batters of the game.

Ramon Torres went 3-for-5 with a walk, two runs scored, an RBI, and his third stolen base. Tony Cruz went 2-for-6 with a run scored.

nwaDouble-A NW Arkansas won their series opener over Springfield, 12-6.

With the game scoreless heading into the bottom of the fourth, the Naturals broke it open with an eight-spot. Cam Gallagher (2-for-3) got the inning started with a double. Three batters later, the bases were loaded for Jack Lopez, who singled in a run (and one was thrown out at the plate).

A walk loaded the bases for Terrance Gore, who drove in two runs with a single and chased the Cardinals starter. A hit batter loaded the bases again and Logan Moon followed with a two-run single. Up came Gallagher, who walked to loaded the bases yet again. A wild pitch drove in one run while Ryan O’Hearn singled in the final two.

They also tacked on much needed runs in the seventh and eighth. Catcher Allan de San Miguel went 4-for-4 with a double, two runs scored, and an RBI. Lopez had three hits, while Bubba Starling had two.

Kris Medlen made his first rehab start and struck out five over two scoreless innings. Ashton Goudeau followed and was credited with the win, as he allowed three hits over 2.2 scoreless innings. He struck out four.

Then the Naturals bullpen made the game closer.

Evan Beal stranded two inherited runners in the fifth, but then allowed two runs on four hits over 2.1 innings. Eric Stout and Matt Alvarez each allowed two runs in their one inning of work.

Low-A Lexington was swept by West Virginia, losing 12-4. The Power broke the game open with a seven-run top of the eighth.

Starter Julio Pinto left with one out in the 2nd inning with an injured arm and took the loss, as he allowed four runs on three hits and three walks. Yunior Marte allowed one of two inherited runs to score (5.2IP, 4H, R, BB, 3K).

It took three Legends relievers to record three outs in the 8th inning (three hits, five walks, and three wild pitches). Daniel Concepcion started the inning and took a line drive off his leg with one out and left the game.

On offense, the Legends collected eight hits, three by outfielder Anderson Miller (two doubles and an RBI).

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About Jen Nevius

I first became a KC Royals fan way back in 1995 when I attended my first Wilmington Blue Rocks game. I fell in love with minor league baseball then and began following the Royals as former Blue Rocks clawed their way to the big leagues. 3+ years ago I started covering the Royals for Aerys Sports, but since the site has been shut down, I am going out on my own.
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