The G-Stros no longer have the worst record in the Appy League. With Burlington's game last night suspended, and Greeneville winning 9-5 over Princeton, the G-Stros own a half game lead over the Royals.
Adrian Houser made his G-Stros debut last night with a solid outing. Through 4 innings, he had only faced two batters over the mminimum. His fast ball had nice pop and his curve ball appeared to be keeping the P-Rays hitters off balance often inducing weak ground balls. He didn't walk a batter until the 5th inning but he went to full counts on several batters.
Ump Blows Call - Manager Ejected
Houser ran into some trouble in the 5th. With two outs, one run in and a runner at second, Ryan Brett hits a long fly ball to center field. Jordan Scott ran back and appeared to have tracked it down but the ball went over his outstretched glove for a double. I am not sure if he missed judged it or took his eye off of it looking for the wall, either way, I was surprised when he couldn't corral the ball. In fact, even one of the umpires thought he should have caught it because he called him out. Yes he called the batter out an a fly ball that bounced on the warning track. Houser is on the mound ready to face the next batter when some of the players start off and other players are confused. After a few seconds, the players jog off the field. At that point, the P-Rays manager Mike Johns comes out and argues the call. After confirming with the home plate ump, the field ump changes the call to safe and calls the G-Stros back on the field. Omar Lopez comes out first and was irate. After several steps over the line, he was ejected and hitting coach Josh Bonafay & pitching coach Rick Aponte split the manager duties for the rest of the night. That would be the last batter Houser faced. He finished the night allowing three runs on five hits in 4 2/3 IP. If Scott is able to track down that ball in center, his night is over with one run on four hits in five innings. A game of inches.
Matison Smith was called in from the pen and had uncharacteristic struggles. He was hit hard (two doubles and a HR) and he walked two batters. He only had three walks coming into the night in 19 IP. Yet he was the pitch of record when the Astros began their improbable comeback.
Seven runs on one hit
After being stymied for much of the game by P-Rays starter Reinaldo Lopez, the G-Stros made their move in the 7th. Down 5-2, Greeneville used five walks, an error, a balk and a grand slam from Jose Vargas to push 7 runs across the plate. It was Vargas' first HR of the season. It was a well hit ball that bounced off the top of the wall in right center field. Several diligent Astros staffers literally beat the bushes to come up with the HR ball so they could return it to Vargas.
From there, bullpen did it's job. In the last two innings, Mark Jones, Scott Zuloaga and Steve Martin shut the P-Rays down, allowing a hit an inning but fanning four of the last six outs.
Houser had a very solid outing. He is a tall, athletic looking right hander with a very smooth delivery. His off speed stuff had Princeton batters out in front several times during the game.
Ovando got two RBI's last night. One on a grounder to 2nd with the bases loaded that the second baseman couldn't get out of his glove to turn he double play and settled for a force at 1st. The second RBI came on a walk. He did have a solid hit through the right side early in the game. He made a laser of a throw to the cutoff man on a double hit in the 9th.
On the Princeton side of the equation, their shortstop was impressive. Jake Hager, the Rays 2011 1st round pick, is 18 years old and looks like a giant at SS, though he is listed at just 6' 1". He turned three double plays where he fielded the ball, touched second and threw the batter out. There was another time he fielded a ball that would have resulted in similar play had the runner not stolen second earlier in the at bat. It was amazing how well he was positioned all night. At the plate, he went 0-4 but is hitting .257 through 19 Appy League games and is hitting .341 in his last 10 despite going just 1 for his last 13.