Game Notes 8/24/16: Lambert v. Soroka as Intimidators fight for playoff

Kannapolis Intimidators (30-28, 55-74) at Rome Braves (35-23, 62-65)
Wednesday, August 24, 2016 – 7:00 p.m.
State Mutual Stadium (opened 2003) – Rome, Ga.
Game #129 of 140
RH Jimmy Lambert (0-3, 3.68) vs. RH Mike Soroka (7-9, 2.98)

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Today’s Preview: The Intimidators (A, White Sox) send fifth rounder Jimmy Lambert to the mound against Braves No. 6 prospect Mike Soroka in the second game of this 3-game series at State Mutual Stadium. The Rome Braves (A, Atlanta) have won six straight games and 14 of their last 17 since August 6, their hottest streak of their season to surge into first place in the SAL Southern Division while Kannapolis has dropped three straight games to slip into a tie for third in the Northern Division, 5.0 games back of first place Lakewood.

Jimmy Lambert

Kannapolis Intimidators starting pitcher Jimmy Lambert (8) in action against the Lexington Legends at Kannapolis Intimidators Stadium on July 12, 2016 in Kannapolis, North Carolina. (Brian Westerholt/Four Seam Images)

Intimidating Starter: Jimmy Lambert, 21, makes his ninth start for Kannapolis and his first career appearance against a Braves affiliate. He is coming off back-to-back losses at home to Lakewood and West Virginia, allowing three runs in both starts. Prior to that, he posted a 1.62 ERA in his first six starts with Kannapolis. Lambert made his pro debut with the AZL White Sox where he went 1-1 with a 3.38 ERA (3 ER/8.0 IP) and 13 strikeouts compared to two walks in four games (two starts). The White Sox selected Lambert in the fifth round (146th overall) out of Fresno State, where he went 10-2 with a 3.13 ERA (34 ER/97.2 IP) and 78 strikeouts in 15 games (15 starts) in 2016 to help the Bulldogs secure their first Mountain West Conference regular season championship. Fresno State went 36-22 in 2016, amassing its highest win total since 2011, and Lambert earned Mountain West Co-Pitcher of the Year honors.

Brave on the Bump: Mike Soroka, who turned 19 this month, makes his 23rd start and second against Kannapolis. He threw a 7.0 inning complete game, striking out seven (then a career-high) while allowing a run on two hits against the Intimidators on June 28. He is coming off a career-high eight strikeouts over 7.0 innings at Asheville on Aug. 19, to lock up his fourth consecutive win and fifth straight winning decision. Soroka has only gotten better of late, going 5-0 with a 2.00 ERA (8 ER/36 IP) and 29 strikeouts in six games (six starts) since July 20. Atlanta selected Soroka in the first round (28th overall) in the June 2015 First-Year Player Draft out of Bishop Carroll High School in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Soroka boasts the eighth-best ERA in the SAL at 2.98.

About Last Night: Rome’s Ricardo Sanchez struck out nine over 7.0 innings to keep the Intimidators quiet in a 6-3 Braves win on Tuesday. Kannapolis mustered one unearned run off Sanchez before scoring twice in the eighth off the Braves bullpen with 2-out RBI hits by Danny Mendick and Cody Daily. Sanchez (7-9) earned the win and Luis Martinez (7-9) took the loss, giving up four runs in 5.2 IP. Rome’s Corbin Clouse notched the save (4).

Walk This Way: Nate Nolan drew two walks as the Intimidators walked five times in the 6-3 loss to Rome on Tuesday. Kannapolis has 404 base on balls this season, the third most in the SAL behind only Greenville (450) and Columbia (438). The Intimidators .319 OBP is right at the SAL average despite a batting average (.247) below the SAL average .250.

Racing the Bases: Kannapolis matched its season-high with four stolen bases on Tuesday in Rome. Alex Call stole two bases while Jake Fincher and Grant Massey also added a bag swiped. The Intimidators have 84 stolen bases this season, fourth-fewest in the SAL.

Sooner Rather Than Later: Former Oklahoma Sooners pitcher Alec Hansen, the White Sox second round pick (49th overall) in the June 2016 First-Year Player Draft was promoted Tuesday to Kannapolis after 10 appearances between the AZL White Sox and Advanced Rookie Great Falls to open his professional career. The 67” right-hander is 2-0 with a 1.03 ERA (5 ER/43.2 IP) and 70 strikeouts compared to 16 walks in his first 10 professional outings while holding hitters to a .094 batting average. He is scheduled to make his Class A debut on Friday in Kannapolis against Columbia.

B’EASTerling: Starting pitcher Brannon Easterling continues to lead the SAL with a 2.17 ERA despite pitching through a water-logged outing on Sunday in a loss to the Power. He is now 3-2 with a 2.35 ERA in 15 starts since June 7 after opening the season in the pen, going 3-1 with a 1.78 ERA in 16 relief appearances.

Call In the Clutch: White Sox third round pick Alex Call, the 86th overall pick in this June’s draft, is batting .333 (6-18) with runners in scoring position and 2 outs this season with Kannapolis. The Intimidators outfielder is batting .317 (45-142) in 36 games since he earned a promotion to the SAL on July 17. He has hit safely in 27 of his 36 games with the Intimidators. Call began his professional career by reaching base in 24 consecutive games with Advanced Rookie Great Falls in the Pioneer League.

Game Notes 8/23/16: Call in the Clutch, B’EASTerling, and we’ll see a Sooner

Kannapolis Intimidators (30-27, 55-72) at Rome Braves (34-23, 61-65)
Tuesday, August 23, 2016 – 7:00 p.m.
State Mutual Stadium (opened 2003) – Rome, Ga.
Game #128 of 140
RH Luis Martinez (7-8, 3.78) vs. LH Ricardo Sanchez (6-9, 4.98)

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Alex Call

Alex Call (2) of the Kannapolis Intimidators hustles down the first base line against the West Virginia Power at Kannapolis Intimidators Stadium on August 20, 2016 in Kannapolis, North Carolina. The Intimidators defeated the Power 4-0. (Brian Westerholt/Four Seam Images)

Today’s Preview: The Intimidators open a 3-game road series against the now first place Rome Braves (A, Atlanta Braves) on Tuesday. Rome has surged past Augusta in the South Atlantic League Southern Division standings, winning five straight games to take a half-game lead over the GreenJackets, which have suddenly dropped six in a row after their nine-game inning streak. Kannapolis is coming off losses in six of its last nine games to fall 4.0 games behind the first place Lakewood BlueClaws in the SAL Northern Division, third in the division. Today, Luis Martinez makes his SAL-leading 26th start as the Intimidators look to enact a measure of revenge after the Braves won a 3-game series in Kannapolis in June of this season. Rome leads the all-time series, 60-49.

Intimidating Starter: Luis Martinez, 21, makes his 26th start and his second against the Braves. He took a loss to Rome on June 29, giving up four runs on six hits while striking out seven over 7.0 innings. Martinez is coming off a career-high nine strikeouts over 5.0 scoreless innings of 2-hit ball in a no-decision on August 18 at Greenville. He has now struck out 128 on the season, fifth-most in the SAL, and he ranks fourth among starters in highest strikeouts/9 IP ratio at 9.32 (128 K/123.2 IP). After a sluggish start to the season in which he went 2-6 with a 4.91 ERA in 14 first half starts, Martinez is 5-2 with a 2.50 ERA in 11 starts in the second half. This is Martinez’s second season with Kannapolis. In 2015, he went 4-14 with a 5.38 ERA in 24 games. In his lone start against the Braves in 2015, he spun 6.2 shutout innings, limiting Rome to four hits on May 2, 2015.

Brave on the Bump: Ricardo Sanchez, 19, makes his 22nd appearance and 21st start of the season as he faces a White Sox affiliate for the second time in his career. He is coming off 6.0 innings against Hagerstown on August 18, limiting them to two runs (one earned) on eight hits in a no decision. He is 2-6 with a 5.29 ERA in 10 games (nine starts) in home games compared to 4-3 with a 4.72 ERA in 11 starts away from State Mutual Stadium. In his last nine appearances (eight starts) in July and August, Sanchez is 3-3 with a 3.54 ERA and 41 strikeouts in 48.1 IP after a rough month of June in which his ERA was over 9.00.

About Last Night: Kannapolis dropped two games to West Virginia, falling to the Power 5-2 in the completion of Sunday’s suspended game before a 5-1 loss (7 inn.) in Monday’s regularly-scheduled contest. Seby Zavala homered in the second game for a 1-0 lead in the second inning, but the Braves rallied against Intimidators reliever Jack Charleston for four runs over the final 2.0 innings for a come-from-behind win.

Boomer, Sooner: Former Oklahoma Sooners pitcher Alec Hansen, the White Sox second round pick in the June 2016 First-Year Player Draft has been promoted to Kannapolis after 10 appearances between the AZL White Sox and Advanced Rookie Great Falls to open his professional career. The 67” right-hander is 2-0 with a 1.03 ERA (5 ER/43.2 IP) and 70 strikeouts compared to 16 walks in his first 10 professional outings while holding hitters to a .094 batting average. The White Sox selected him with the 49th pick this June.

B’EASTerling: Starting pitcher Brannon Easterling continues to lead the SAL with a 2.17 ERA despite pitching through a water-logged outing on Sunday in a loss to the Power. He is now 3-2 with a 2.35 ERA in 15 starts since June 7 after opening the season in the pen, going 3-1 with a 1.78 ERA in 16 relief appearances.

Call In the Clutch: White Sox third round pick Alex Call, the 86th overall pick in this June’s draft, is batting .333 (6-18) with runners in scoring position and 2 outs this season with Kannapolis. The Intimidators outfielder is batting .317 (44-139) in 35 games since he earned a promotion to the SAL on July 17. He has hit safely in 26 of his 35 games with the Intimidators. Call began his professional career by reaching base in 24 consecutive games with Advanced Rookie Great Falls in the Pioneer League.

Broadcast Information: All 140 Intimidators games will be broadcast live on the Kannapolis Intimidators Baseball Network online at IntimidatorsBaseball.com and via TuneIn Radio App with the Josh Feldman, in his sixth season as the “Voice of the Intimidators.” Erik Oas will handle play-by-play during weekend home games.

Game Notes 8/21/16: A look at shutout history,Probables & Remillard heating up

WEST VIRGINIA POWER at KANNAPOLIS INTIMIDATORS
WVA: 27-28 Second Half (62-62) – Pittsburgh Pirtes
KAN: 30-25 Second Half (55-70) – Chicago White Sox
Sunday, August 21, 2016 – 5:05 p.m.
Intimidators Stadium supported by Carolinas HealthCare System (opened 1995) – Kannapolis, N.C.
Game #126 of 140
RH Logan Sendelbaugh (8-6, 3.65) vs. RH Brannon Easterling (6-2, 1.99) 

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Today’s Preview: The Kannapolis Intimidators (A, White Sox) collected their 10th shutout of the season Saturday night to top the West Virginia Power (A, Pirates) 4-0. The Intimidators with a win tonight can pull even with the Power in the season series and combined with losses from Hagerstown would move into sole possession of second place in the North Division.

 

Sally League Standings: Kannapolis (30-25) kept pace with the first place Lakewood BlueCalws (30-23) with their win Saturday night to remain 2.0 games back in third place in the SAL Northern Division second half standings.  Hagerstown saw their game with the Lexington Legends postponed due to rain but still remain in second place 1.5 game back.  Hickory (28-27) took over fourth place. 4.0 game out of first, with their win over Greensboro while West Virginia (27-28) dropped into fifth place, 5.0 games back. The Greensboro Grasshoppers (26-28) remain in sixth place 5.5 games back. The Southern Division’s first place Augusta GreenJackets (33-21) dropped both games of a doubleheader to Columbia but still hold first by a 1.5 over the Rome Braves (32-23).

 

Intimidating Starter: Brannon Easterling, 26, makes his 14th start and 31st appearance of the year for Kannapolis. This will be Easterling’s second time facing the Power this year, the righty worked four shutout innings of relief in West Virginia back April 18. The Texas native pitched exclusively out of the bullpen until moving to the starting rotation on June 7th and has been starting ever since. Easterling was one of the most effective relievers for Kannapolis going 3-1 with a 2.10 ERA (16 ER/ 68.2 IP) out of the ‘pen, but has been even more impressive as a starter, posting a 3-1 record with a 1.78 ERA (7 ER/ 35.1 IP). Those numbers combine to give Easterling a 1.99 ERA the lowest in the South Atlantic League, among qualifiers. Also known as one of the quickest workers in the Intimidators starting staff, he brings in a string of two straight starts of six innings to go with his modest two game winning streak.

 

Power Probable: Logan Sendelbach, 22, makes his 24th start of the season and his second against Kannapolis. The Tiffin Ohio native is a four pitch pitcher, using his fastball, low 90’s, and slider as his primary pitches but also working in a changeup and curveball. Both the curve and change are seen as works in progress and Sendelbach spent much of spring training working on a new grip for his changeup and a curve that he has admitted to using rather sparingly. Sendelbach was the starter for the Power during the 16 inning marathon with the Intimidators on April 18th in West Virginia. The righty worked 5 and 1/3 innings and gave up just one run on five hits while striking out three and walking none. Sendelbach has struggled at times away from home this season posting a record of 2-3 with a 4.30 ERA (22 ER/ 46 IP) compared to a  6-3 record at home with a 3.26 ERA (28 ER/ 77.1 IP).

 

Last Time Out: Johnathan Frebis set the tone for the Intimidators 10th shutout victory of the season, a 4-0 win over the West Virginia Power on Saturday night at Intimidators Stadium supported by Carolinas HealthCare System. Kannapolis (30-25 Second Half, 55-70) broke its longest scoreless streak in five years to pull ahead late with two runs in the seventh and two more in the eighth. Danny Dopico took over for Frebis with the bases loaded and one out in the sixth inning. Facing West Virginia’s John Bormann, Dopico induced a grounder up the middle which shortstop Danny Mendick backhanded and glove-flipped to second base where Grant Massey bare-handed the ball and fired it to first for an inning-ending double play. Dopico (2-0) spun a scoreless seventh and notched the win for Kannapolis. Relievers Brandon Quintero and Ian Hamilton each tossed a scoreless frame to complete the shutout, the Intimidators’ first since August 7 in a 1-0 win at Greensboro.

 

What is the deal with all the shutouts? (Seinfeld voice): The Intimidators struck for four runs in Saturday night’s 4-0 win to snap a string of two straight games in which they had been shutout. Thanks to strong outings from Johnathan Frebis, Danny Dopico, Brandon Quintero and Ian Hamilton Kannapolis returned the favor to register their 10th shutout of the season.

 

24 Scoreless Innings: When the Intimidators offensive exploded for two runs in the seventh inning of Saturday night’s game it ended a streak of 24 scoreless innings for Kannapolis the longest of the season. The last time Kannapolis suffered through such a long offensive malaise was April 7th-10th of 2011 when Kannapolis started the season without scoring a run in the first 24 innings of the season.

 

3 for Dale … and also Remillard: Zach Remillard set the pace for the Intimidators offense with a three hit night. Remillard was selected in the 10th round this year’s draft after winning the NCAA College World Series with Coastal Carolina, his three-hit game Saturday night his third of his professional career, all with Kannapolis.

 

This Date in Baseball History: On this date in 1926, at Fenway Park, White Sox right-hander Ted Lyons throws a no-hitter against the hometown Red Sox, 6-0. The future Hall of Famer’s gem takes only 67 minutes to complete.

 

Broadcast Information: All 140 Intimidators games will be broadcast live on the Kannapolis Intimidators Baseball Network online at IntimidatorsBaseball.com and via TuneIn Radio App with the Josh Feldman, in his sixth season as the “Voice of the Intimidators.” Erik Oas will handle play-by-play during weekend home games.

Game Notes 8/19/16: Intimidators eye first, Sullivan continues to hit & a look at shutouts

WEST VIRGINIA POWER at KANNAPOLIS INTIMIDATORS
WV: 26-27 Second Half (61-61) – Pittsburgh Pirtes
KAN: 29-24 Second Half (53-70) – Chicago White Sox
Friday, August 19, 2016 – 7:05 p.m.
Intimidators Stadium supported by Carolinas HealthCare System (opened 1995) – Kannapolis, N.C.
Game #124 of 140
RH Mitch Keller (7-5, 2.72) vs. RH Jimmy Lambert (0-2, 2.84) 

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Today’s Preview: The Kannapolis Intimidators (A, White Sox) return home to open up a four-game series and home stand with the West Virginia Power (A, Pirates) this will be only trip to Kannapolis for the Power who last faced the Intimidators April 18-20 in West Virginia. Kannapolis only win of the series was thanks to a Tanner Banks nine inning shutout and complete game that earned him Pitch of the Week honors.

 

Sally League Standings: Kannapolis (29-24) remained a game back of first place Lakewood (30-23) in the SAL Northern Division second half standings with Thursday night’s loss.  Hagerstown moved into a tie with Kannapolis for second place, 1.0 game back after Thursday night’s win in Rome.  Greensboro (26-26) took control of fourth place and are now 3.5 games back. West Virginia (26-27) fell to fifth place after dropping both games of a doubleheader with the Lexington Legends. The Southern Division’s first place Augusta GreenJackets (33-19) currently enjoy a 3.5 game lead over the Rome Braves (30-23).

 

Intimidating Starter: Jimmy Lambert, 21, makes his eighth start and appearance of the year, and his first against West Virginia. Lambert has an innings limit after logging nearly 100 innings, 97.2 IP, for the Fresno State Bulldogs this season. This season he has not made it past the third inning and has also not thrown more than 57 pitches as a professional. In limited work this season, Lambert has been sharp striking out 19 and walking just six in his time with Kannapolis.

 

Power Probable: Mitch Keller, 20, makes his 22nd start of the season and first against Kannapolis. The Cedar Rapids native was selected by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the second round of the 2014 MLB Draft and entered this season as the team’s 14th overall prospect.  This year has been his first sting in the Sally League and the beginning of the year was marked by dominance. In April he posted an ERA of 0.86, earning him Sally League Pitcher of the Month honors, and in May an ERA of 2.50, but in June Keller struggled with his command and his ERA ballooned to 6.39 with opponents hitting .275 against him. Keller has enjoyed more success since his struggles in June and factored into back-to-back shutouts July 13-14. It was the first time the Power had back-to-back shutouts since the 2010 season. Mitch older brother, Jon, 24, pitches in the Baltimore Orioles organization for the Frederick Keys (Class A Advanced) and has spent time in double A. A groundball pitcher, Keller was thought of as the best prospect to come out of Iowa and has proven to have bounced back from an injury riddled 2015 season, missing extened time due to a forearm injury. His best pitch is his fastball registering between 90 and 94 mph with sink which works off his 11-to-5 curve and a changeup that is described as by scouts as needing work.

 

Last Time Out: Luis Martinez struck out a career-high nine batters, but the Intimidators couldn’t take advantage of his strong start in a 2-0 loss to Greenville on Wednesday at Fluor Field at the West End. Kannapolis (29-24 Second Half, 53-70) suffered its fifth shutout loss of the season and first since a 4-0 loss to Rome on June 29. Greenville starter Roniel Raudes (11-5) spun 7.0 scoreless innings, limiting the Intimidators four hits and a walk while striking out four to earn a win. Victor Diaz worked the final 2.0 innings out of the bullpen for the Drive, giving up a walk while striking out two for the save (9). Martinez worked around two hits and four walks while striking out nine batters, the most by an Intimidators pitcher this season. He spun 5.0 shutout innings for his fifth scoreless outing of the season and fourth since the All-Star Break.

 

Sullivan Adds Another: Tyler Sullivan has been a mainstay atop the Intimidators lineup appearing as the leadoff man 105 times this season. Sullivan has rewarded Kannapolis consistent playing time with hits, he leads the Intimidators with 105 hits and has also set the pace with multi-hit nights as well. Despite being shutout 2-0 by the Greenville Drive Thursday night Sullivan collected his team leading 34th multi-hit game.

 

Not so Familiar: Even though the West Virginia Power are North Division Rivals with the Kannapolis Intimidators they will meet just seven times this season with the four game series being the final meeting of the 2016 season.

 

Stand Alone: The Kannapolis Intimidators will play the first of four games with the West Virginia Power in a stand-alone four game home stand. The Intimidators will then hit the road for a stand-alone three game series in Rome before returning home for the final time during the regular season to face the Columbia Fireflies for three games. Kannapolis will finish the season on the road with three games in Lakewood and four games in Delmarva.

 

Shutouts: Thursday night’s 2-0 loss in Greenville was the first time this season that the Kannapolis Intimidators were shutout on the road and the fifth time overall on the season. The Intimidators are 9-5 in shutouts this year.

 

This Date in Baseball History: On this date in 1921, at the age of 34, Ty Cobb becomes the youngest player to collect 3000 hits when he singles off of Red Sox hurler Elmer Myers. The ‘Georgia Peach’ will end his career with 4,191 hits, the most ever in the major leagues until Pete Rose surpasses the mark in 1985.

 

Broadcast Information: All 140 Intimidators games will be broadcast live on the Kannapolis Intimidators Baseball Network online at IntimidatorsBaseball.com and via TuneIn Radio App with the Josh Feldman, in his sixth season as the “Voice of the Intimidators.” Erik Oas will handle play-by-play during weekend home games.

Game Notes 8/18/16: Offensive eruption in extras, working late, and sweet relief

KANNAPOLIS INTIMIDATORS at GREENVILLE DRIVE
KAN: 29-23 Second Half (53-69) – Chicago White Sox
GVL: 27-25 Second Half (64-57) – Boston Red Sox
Thursday, August 18, 2016 – 7:05 p.m.
Fluor Field at the West End (opened 2006) – Greenville, S.C.
Game #123 of 140
RH Luis Martinez (7-8, 3.94) vs. RH Roniel Raudes (10-5, 3.98)

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Today’s Preview: After back-to-back extra-inning games to open this series, the Intimidators (A, White Sox) face the Drive (A, Red Sox) in the series rubber match at Fluor Field. Luis Martinez will make his South Atlantic League-leading 25th start of the season in search of his third straight win against Roniel Raudes of Greenville, who is one of only four 10-game winners in the league this season, in a rematch of a June 7 pitching match-up at Intimidators Stadium. Kannapolis is coming off an extra-innings win over Greenville after the Drive edged the Intimidators in extras Tuesday in the series opener. This is the final meeting between the two teams this season unless both teams win the Second Half and advance to the SAL Championship Series.

Sally League Standings: Kannapolis (29-23) kept pace with first place Lakewood (30-22) to remain 1.0 game back in the SAL Northern Division second half standings. Hagerstown slipped to third, 1.5 games back after being rained out on Wednesday in Rome. Greensboro and West Virginia are both 26-25, now 3.5 games back with doubleheaders today against Delmarva and Lexington, respectively. The Southern Division’s first place Augusta GreenJackets saw their 9-game winning streak come to an end with a loss to Charleston, 5-1, however they remain 4.0 games ahead of Rome in the division.

Intimidating Starter: Luis Martinez, 21, makes his 25th start and his second of the season against Greenville. He took a home loss to the Drive on June 7, spinning all 7.0 innings in a complete-game loss in the first game of a doubleheader, allowing four runs (three earned) on four hits with two walks and three strikeouts. The lanky right-hander is coming off back-to-back wins in consecutive quality starts, beating Greensboro on August 7 and Lakewood on August 12. Over his last four outings, Martinez is 3-1 with a 1.99 ERA (5 ER/22.2 IP) and 21 strikeouts. After a sluggish start to the season in which he went 2-6 with a 4.91 ERA in 14 first half starts, Martinez is 5-2 with a 2.73 ERA in 10 starts in the second half. This is Martinez’s second season with Kannapolis. In 2015, he went 4-14 with a 5.38 ERA in 24 games.

Dealing for Drive: Roniel Raudes, 18, makes his 22nd start of the season and second against Kannapolis. He beat the Intimidators on June 7, allowing a run on five hits while striking out five and walking one in 5.1 innings. Despite a pair of losses, he has continued to improve in August, going 1-2 with a 1.69 ERA (3 ER/16.0 IP) and 15 strikeouts on the heels of a rough July where he was 2-1 with a 5.76 ERA (16 ER/25.0 IP) and five home runs allowed in the month. The right-hander is rated the No. 13 Prospect in the Red Sox organization according to MLB.com. Raudes signed with the Red Sox in July 2014 and dominated the Dominican Summer League in his professional debut in 2015, posting 63 strikeouts and three walks in 53.2 innings, going 4-3 with a 3.52 ERA in 11 games (10 starts) and earning a late-season promotion to the Gulf Coast League. Raudes, a native of Granada, Nicaragua, finished his professional debut by going 3-0 with a 0.90 ERA in four GCL starts.

Last Time Out: Four relievers combined to strike out 10 batters in seven innings, and the Intimidators bats erupted for seven runs in the 14th inning for an extra-innings blowout win, 9-2, over Greenville. In the 14th, Kannapolis sent 12 batters to the plate, matching the team’s most runs in an inning this season against Drive reliever Stephen Nogosek and JT Watkins, a position player pressed into duty on the mound. An error helped Kannapolis load the bases with no outs before Bradley Strong, Zach Remillard, and Tyler Sullivan each followed with RBI-singles.  Grant Massey added a sacrifice-fly to cash Strong.  Seby Zavala chipped in with an RBI-single, and Mendick’s second hit of the inning nearly cleared the wall in left-field for a grand slam, however the Intimidators infielder settled for a 2-run double. Four Intimidators relievers — Mike Morrison, Louie Lechich, Ian Hamilton, and Danny Dopico — combined to allow one unearned run on three hits while striking out 10 and walking three.  Dopico (1-0) earned the win with scoreless 13th and 14th innings after Ian Hamilton spun 2 and 2/3 frames of relief.  Nogosek (0-1) suffered the loss for Greenville in a game that lasted 4:18, the third-longest game for Kannapolis both in terms of time and innings this season.

Big Inning in Extras: The Intimidators matched their highest-scoring inning of the season by scoring seven in the 14th on Wednesday. Previously, Kannapolis scored seven runs in an inning this season on August 3 against Charleston in the first inning and on May 7 against Lakewood in the fourth. The last time Kannapolis scored eight in an inning came May 9, 2015, at Lexington when Kannapolis rallied in the ninth inning to beat the Legends, 13-8.

Working Late: Kannapolis went extra innings for the second straight game for the third time this year. After falling on Tuesday, 3-2 in 11 innings to the Drive, the Intimidators enacted revenge in a 9-2 win in 14 innings on Wednesday in Greenville. Earlier this season, Kannapolis went 10 innings on May 19 at Asheville and, a day after a rainout, went nine innings in a 7-inning game in the first game of a May 21 doubleheader against the Tourists. To open the second half, the Intimidators went 11 innings then eight innings in a 7-inning game against Delmarva.

Going Long: Wednesday’s 14-inning game is the third-longest of the season for the Intimidators both in terms of innings and time of game as Kannapolis needed 4:18 to beat Greenville, 9-2. On April 18 at West Virginia, Kannapolis fell 8-7 to the Power in 16 innings in a game that lasted 5:01. Then on May 31, the Intimidators played their longest game since 2005, both in terms of innings and time when they played 17 innings in 5:26 in an eventual home loss to Augusta, 6-5.

14 Innings of Fun: Wednesday’s 9-2 win is the seventh 14-inning game Kannapolis has played since the beginning of the 2005 season. The last time the Intimidators went exactly 14 innings also came at Fluor Field, on April 13, 2014.

History Repeats Itself: The last time Kannapolis played consecutive games of at least 11 innings came exactly four years prior, on August 16-17, 2012. In those games, White Sox first round pick Courtney Hawkins came through for the Intimidators with walk-off hits in both games, first in a 13-inning win, 4-3, on August 16, 2012, then in a 7-6 win in 11 innings on August 17, 2012.

Sweet Relief: Four Intimidators relievers (Mike Morrison, Louie Lechich, Ian Hamilton, and Danny Dopico) combined to allow one unearned run on three hits while striking out 10 and walking three in Wednesday’s win at Greenville.Louie Lechich took over for Morrison to record the final out of the ninth, striking out left-handed hitter Josh Ockimey, and Ian Hamilton relieved Lechich with two on and one out in the 10th to strand two men on base. Hamilton spun 2.2 innings before turning the ball over to Dopico for 2.0 scoreless frames. The quartet helped lower the team’s bullpen ERA to 3.20 this season while throwing 103 total pitches. Starter Max Beatty threw 104 pitches in his 7.0 innings to open the game.

Beatty Battles on the Bump: Starting pitcher Max Beatty worked 7.0 innings, limiting the Drive to a run on two hits in his fifth start of at least 7.0 innings this season. He has worked seven complete innings in three of his last four starts, including limiting his opponents to one run in each of his last two starts, both 7-inning outings.

Game Notes 8/17/16: Another dance with the Drive

Kannapolis Intimidators (28-23 Second Half, 52-69 overall)
at
Greenville Drive (27-24 Second Half, 64-56)
Tuesday, August 17, 2016 – 7:05 p.m.
Fluor Field at the West End (opened 2006) – Greenville, S.C.
Game #122 of 140
RH Max Beatty (6-8, 4.07) vs. LH Logan Boyd (13-6, 4.73)

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Today’s Preview: On the heels of an extra-inning loss in Tuesday’s series opener, the Intimidators (A, White Sox) face the Drive (A, Red Sox) in Game 2 of this 3-game series at Fluor Field at the West End. Kannapolis, which fell 3-2 in 11 innings, sends right-hander Max Beatty to them mound with a chance to even the series against South Atlantic League wins leader Logan Boyd. The Drive have been one of the SAL’s hottest teams in August, going 12-4 so far this month. Greenville has won its last four series (vs. Asheville, at Charleston, at Columbia, vs. Charleston), while the Intimidators are coming off wins in seven of their last nine games and consecutive series wins.

Sally League Standings: Kannapolis (28-23) fell into a tie for second in the SAL Northern Division as Lakewood (29-22) swept a doubleheader over Hickory. The Intimidators are even with Hagerstown (28-23) in the standings, 1.0 game back of the BlueClaws in the Second Half standings. Hagerstown won the First Half title in the Northern Division, and if the Suns win the Second Half as well, the second-best overall team will join them as a wild card in the playoffs. Due to a rough first half, the Intimidators must win the second half to reach the post-season for the first time since 2009. In the Southern Division, the Augusta GreenJackets won their ninth straight game on Tuesday and lead the division by 4.5 games.

Intimidating Starter: Max Beatty, 25, makes his 10th start with the Intimidators and second against Greenville. He is coming off his fourth outing of at least 7.0 innings, spinning 7.0 frames for a home win over Lakewood on August 11, allowing a run on six hits while striking out three. Beatty spent 2015 as one of the best arms in the independent Pacific Association, going 8-2 with a 3.18 ERA and three complete games in 14 games (14 starts) for the San Rafael Pacifics. He opened this season with the Pacifics before the White Sox signed him in June. In his most recent season in affiliated ball, Beatty made 18 appearances for Short-Season Eugene in the Padres system, going 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA (14 ER/28.0 IP) and 25 strikeouts in 2014. He pitched at Pacific Lutheran University in college, missing the 2012 season while recovering from testicular cancer. He bounced back to go 7-5 with a 2.48 ERA in 13 starts for Pacific Lutheran in 2013 before the Padres took him in the 32nd round of the June 2013 draft.

Dealing for the Drive: Logan Boyd, 22, takes the mound in pursuit of his Minor League Baseball-best 14th win of the season. Boyd is coming off five consecutive wins and is tied for fourth in all of Minor League Baseball with 13 wins, behind three AAA pitchers who have 14 cumulative wins in 2016. He is 6-3 with a 5.71 ERA in 10 home starts compared to 7-3 with a 3.95 ERA in 13 road starts. In his last two outings, he allowed one run over 6.0 innings to beat Charleston twice. He did not face Kannapolis earlier in the season. Boyd was named SAL Pitcher of the Week for July 18-24, tossing 7.0 scoreless innings of 1-hit ball in a July 21 win over Greensboro which started his current 5-game winning streak. The Red Sox selected Boyd in the 19th round of the June 2015 draft out of Sam Houston State.

Last Time Out: The Intimidators rallied to force extra innings but fell to the Drive, 3-2 in 11 innings, on Tuesday. Trailing the entire game, Kannapolis rallied for runs in the eighth and ninth innings to tie the game, 2-2, forcing extras.  In the 11th, Jeremy Rivera led off with a base hit and moved into scoring position on a Derek Miller sacrifice bunt, setting up Michael Chavis’ game-winnings single up the middle to walk-off the Intimidators. Greenville’s Kuehl McEachern (2-3) earned the win with a perfect 10th and 11th after giving up the tying run in the ninth. He struck out four while allowing an unearned run on two hits in 3.1 innings.  Ben Wright (1-1) took the loss, giving up a run on two hits with a walk and three strikeouts in a 2.1 innings.

Easy For Easterling: Kannapolis starter Brannon Easterling bounced back from allowing two early runs to spin a quality start on Tuesday, striking out a career-high seven batters over 6.0 innings.  He limited the Drive to two runs on six hits while walking none in a no decision. Easterling continues to lead the SAL with a 1.99 ERA and a .750 winning percentage. He previously struck out six batters five times in his career, including twice previously this season.

Five Double Plays: Kannapolis turned a five double plays in Sunday’s 2-1 win against Lakewood, equaling the most by the team in recorded history (since 2005). Since the 2005 season, there have been 25 South Atlantic League games where a team has turned five double plays with Kannapolis turning in three of those performances. The Intimidators also turned five double plays on July 28, 2009, against Rome and on May 12, 2010, in an 8-3 home win over Delmarva. Kannapolis is one of four SAL teams with three 5-double-play games since 2005, along with Augusta, Greensboro, and Rome. The Intimidators have not hit into five twin kills since 2005. In that time, Rome has hit into five double plays four times. In South Atlantic League history, there have only been a pair of games where a team turned six double plays: Greenville did it on August 10, 1968, and Asheville also accomplished the feat on May 27, 1996.

Remember Me?: Louie Lechich, who led the Intimidators with 130 games played as the team’s primary center fielder in 2015, returned to Class A Kannapolis as a pitcher and spun a scoreless inning – working around two hits – in his debut on Sunday. Lechich opened this season with Class A-Advanced Winston-Salem but struggled at the plate, prompting the White Sox to convert the Stockton, Calif., native into a pitcher. The White Sox took Lechich in the sixth round of the June 2014 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of San Diego where he pitched and played outfield.

Game Notes 8/16/16: ERA leader Easterling on the mound, turning 5 double plays, and you gotta see Hamilton

Kannapolis Intimidators (28-22 Second Half, 52-68 overall)
at
Greenville Drive (26-24 Second Half, 63-56)
Monday, August 16, 2016 – 7:05 p.m.
Fluor Field at the West End (opened 2006) – Greenville, S.C.
Game #121 of 140
RH Brannon Easterling (6-2, 1.93) vs. LH Dedgar Jimenez (6-5, 4.62)

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Today’s Preview: The first place Intimidators (A, White Sox) make their lone trip of the season to Fluor Field to face the Drive (A, Red Sox) in a three-game series this week. Today, the South Atlantic League ERA leader Brannon Easterling takes the mound in a duel with Greenville left Dedgar Jimenez. Kannapolis is coming off a one-run win, 2-1, over Lakewood to claim a 3-games-to-1 series win to move into a first place tie in the division while the Drive have been one of the SAL’s hottest teams in August, going 11-4 so far this month. Greenville has won its last four series (vs. Asheville, at Charleston, at Columbia, vs. Charleston), while the Intimidators are coming off wins in seven of their last eight games and consecutive series wins.

Sally League Standings: Kannapolis (28-22) jumped back in front of Lakewood (27-22) into a tie for first place in the South Atlantic League Northern Division Second Half standings with Hagerstown (28-22) with only three weeks left in the 2016 regular season. Hagerstown won the First Half title in the Northern Division, and if the Suns win the Second Half as well, the second-best overall team will join them as a wild card in the playoffs. Due to a rough first half, the Intimidators must win the second half to reach the post-season for the first time since 2009. Augusta increased its lead in the Southern Division to 4.5 games.

Intimidating Starter: Brannon Easterling, 25, makes his 14th start and 30th appearance for Kannapolis as he faces the Drive for the second time. The SAL’s leader in ERA (1.93) and winning percentage (.750) is now 3-1 with a 1.38 ERA (8 ER/52.0 IP) in 10 games (10 starts) since the All-Star Break. In his lone outing against the Drive, he allowed two runs in 1.2 innings in his first start of the year on June 7 (Game 2). He is coming off a no decision on August 10 at Hagerstown, tossing 6.0 shutout innings while matching his career-high six strikeouts for the second time in his last three starts. This season, Easterling is 4-1 with a 1.59 ERA (10 ER/56.2 IP) in 16 games (seven starts) on the road compared to 2-1 with a 2.40 ERA in 13 games (six starts) at home. On July 31, he matched career-highs with 7.0 innings pitched and six strikeouts in a win over Greensboro. Easterling served as a starter for Advanced Rookie Great Falls in 2015, going 5-4 with a 3.50 ERA (32 ER/82.1 IP) in 15 games (all starts). The White Sox selected him in the 20th round of the June 2014 First-Year Player Draft out of St. Edwards where he led the nation with 14 complete games in 2014.

One of the Best in the Minors: Brannong Easterling ranks fourth in all of full-season Minor League Baseball with a 1.93 ERA, behind only Scranton/WB’s Dietrich Enns (1.62), Oklahoma City’s Brock Stewart (1.75), and St. Lucie’s P.J. Conlon (1.90). Those are the only four players in the full-season Minors with a sub 2.00 ERA.

Dealing for the Drive: Dedgar Jimenez, 20, makes his 14th start of the year for Greenville and his first against Kannapolis. The lefty spent opened this year with High-A Salem, going 2-3 with a 6.35 ERA and an upside-down 14 SO/21 BB ratio in 39.2 IP in the Carolina League before being transferred back to Greenville, where he spent the 2015 season. He is coming off back-to-back road wins at Charleston and Columbia, including 6.2 innings of work, allowing three runs (two earned) on five hits while striking out six and walking three Aug. 10. Since returning to the SAL, Jimenez has improved his control, striking out 60 batters with just 14 walks in 74.0 innings. He worked a career-high 8.0 innings on July 25 at Asheville. In 2015 with Greenville, he went 9-9 with a 4.43 ERA and 66 strikeouts compared to 21 walks in 126 innings over 23 games (23 starts).

Last Time Out: Right fielder Micker Adolfo fired a bullet to home plate where catcher Nate Nolan applied the tag on the would-be tying run for the game’s final out in a 2-1 win over the  BlueClaws on Sunday. Kannapolis turned a season-high five double plays — including the final play of the game — while secure a series win over the BlueClaws, 3-games-to-1. The game was delayed for 61 minutes in the middle of the fourth inning, and when play resumed with the score tied 0-0, Kannapolis won the battle of bullpens.  Jack Charleston (2-4) spun 3.0 scoreless innings to earn the win, allowing three hits and a walk while striking out two.  Ian Hamilton worked into trouble in the ninth inning but held on for the save (7).  BlueClaws reliever Zach Morris (7-3) allowed two runs on four hits in 3.0 innings, taking the loss for Lakewood. The Intimidators broke a scoreless tie in the bottom of the sixth inning thanks to back-to-back 2-out hits from Danny Mendick and Alex Call.    With one out, Grant Massey laid down a bunt-single toward first base and stole second base before moving to third on a Tyler Sullivan groundout.  Mendick followed with an RBI-double to left field, and Call singled up them middle to cash Mendick for a 2-0 lead.

Rested, Not Rusted: Kannapolis is 5-3 following off days in 2016. Monday was the Intimidators’ first day off since July 27 when the team returned from a road trip to Lakewood and Delmarva. Kannapolis is coming off a stretch of playing 19 games in 18 days from July 28-August 14. The last league-wide off day is August 29 with the regular season ending on Labor Day, September 5.

Ian Hamilton

Kannapolis Intimidators relief pitcher Ian Hamilton (12) in action against the Greensboro Grasshoppers at Intimidators Stadium on July 17, 2016 in Greensboro, North Carolina. The Intimidators defeated the Grasshoppers 3-2 in game one of a double-header. (Brian Westerholt/Four Seam Images)

You’ve Gotta See Hamilton: Closer Ian Hamilton has slammed the door on Intimidators opponents lately with saves in six of his last seven outings including his last five in a row. Despite working into a bases loaded, 1-out jam and conceding a run in the ninth on Sunday, the right-hander induced the final outs on a fly-out double play to end the game and preserve a 2-1 win over Lakewood. Hamilton now has seven saves (in seven chances) this season, equaling Taylore Cherry for the team lead in 2016. Over his last seven outings, Hamilton has saved six games while posting a 1.80 ERA (2 ER/10 IP) and 10 strikeouts compared to five walks. The White Sox picked Hamilton in the 11th round of the June 2016 First-Year Player Draft out of Washington State.

Quintuple-Double: Kannapolis turned a season-high five double plays in Sunday’s 2-1 win against Lakewood, the most by the team in six seasons. The Intimidators ended the win on a fly-out to Micker Adolfo who then threw home to Nate Nolan who applied the tag on the would-be tying run. Additionally, Kannapolis turned two 5-4-3 double plays (Zach Remillard-to-Grant Massey-to-Cody Daily) as well as a 6-4-3 twin killing, started by shortstop Danny Mendick, and a 6-3 double play during the game. Kannapolis last turned five double plays on May 12, 2010, in an 8-3 home win over Delmarva. This season, the Intimidators had turned three double plays three times, most recently on June 7 against Greenville (Game 2). Kannapolis last turned four two-balls against West Virginia on April 30, 2014 (Game 2).

Remember Me?: Louie Lechich, who led the Intimidators with 130 games played as the team’s primary center fielder in 2015, returned to Class A Kannapolis as a pitcher and spun a scoreless inning – working around two hits – in his debut on Sunday. Lechich opened this season with Class A-Advanced Winston-Salem but struggled at the plate, prompting the White Sox to convert the Stockton, Calif., native into a pitcher. The White Sox took Lechich in the sixth round of the June 2014 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of San Diego where he pitched and played outfield.

Who You Gonna Call: Outfielder Alex Call went 2-for-3 on Sunday against Lakewood, his 14th mutli-hit game in 28 games with Kannapolis, raising his average to .366 (41-112) since his July 17 promotion to the South Atlantic League. In 55 professional games, he has 24 multi-hit games and only nine hitless games between Kannapolis at Great Falls.

Game Notes 8/13/16: First Place! Winning streak! Milestones & Alex Calls’ tear

Lakewood BlueClaws (26-21, 55-61) at Kannapolis Intimidators (27-21, 51-67)

Saturday, August 13, 2016 – 7:05 p.m.
Intimidators Stadium supported by Carolinas HealthCare System (opened 1995) – Kannapolis, N.C.
Game #119 of 140
 RH Alberto Tirado (3-1, 4.58) vs. RH Jimmy Lambert (0-1, 1.62)

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Today’s Preview: The Intimidators (A, White Sox) took game two of the four game home stand and series with a 6-3 win over the Lakewood BlueClaws (A, Phillies) Friday night. The win stretched the Intimidators win streak to six games, the longest of the year, and has moved the Intimidators into first place in the Northern Division. This will be the 14th game of the year between the two teams and 180 in franchise history.

Sally League Standings: Kannapolis (27-21) moved into first place on their own in the 7-team South Atlantic League Northern Division Second Half standings, now 0.5 game up in first place. The Intimidators win over Lakewood (26-20) moved the BlueClaws into second place. Hagerstown (26-22) kept pace with a win Friday night and are now just 1.0 game back. Greensboro (25-23) moved into fourth place with the West Virginia Power (2523) both teams are now 2.0 games back. Hickory’s (24-23) loss Friday night dropped them to fourth in the standings, 2.5 games back. Delmarva (18-30) is bringing up the rear, 9.0 games back. Hagerstown won the First Half title in the Northern Division, and if the Suns win the Second Half l, the second-best overall team will join them as a wild card in the playoffs. Augusta has a 3.5 game lead in the Southern Division second half standings.

3 for Dale x 2: The Intimidators have now won six straight games for the first time this season, taking Friday night’s game against Lakewood 6-3 on Friday night. The Intimidators have won three straight games or more six times this season, four of those winning streaks coming in the Second Half. The longest winning streak on record for the Intimidators came in August of 2009 when the team won 12 in a row.

Intimidating Starter: Jimmy Lambert, 21, makes his seventh start and appearance of the year, and his first against Lakewood. Lambert has an innings limit after logging nearly 100 innings, 97.2 IP, for the Fresno State Bulldogs this season. This season he has not made it past the third inning and has also not thrown more than 55 pitches as a professional. Despite having his work limited, Lambert has been sharp striking out 18 and walking just five in his time with Kannapolis.

BlueClaws Starter: Alberto Tirado, 21, makes his 17th appearance and eighth start of the year for Lakewood and his first against Kannapolis. The righty began the season with the BlueClaws and earned a promotion to the Advanced A Clearwater Threshers of the Florida State League. Following two outings with the Threshers as a reliever, Tirado retuned to Lakewood and was inserted into the starting rotation on June 28 at Hagerstown. The move to the rotation has translated to more success for Tirado. As a reliever he posted a record of 0-0 with a 10.13 ERA (9 ER/8 IP) compared to his numbers as a starter 3-1 3.16 ERA (11 ER/ 31.1 IP). The move to the starting staff was designed to fix an issue the Phillies saw with the control of Tirado who is thought of as a falling prospect but still one of the hardest throwers on the BlueClaws staff.

About Last Night: The Kannapolis Intimidators took over first place in the North Division with their sixth straight win, the longest winning streak of the season, beating the Lakewood BlueClaws 6-3 on Friday night at Intimidators Stadium supported by Carolinas HealthCare System. Grant Massey factored into both Intimidators rallies with a 3-for-4 night at the plate that included two runs scored, a double and a stolen base. Luis Martinez took the ball for Kannapolis (27-21 Second Half, 51-67), his Sally League leading 24 start of the season, and earned his second win of the year against Lakewood after working six innings, allowing two runs on three hits while walking one and striking out five.

Call it in: Alex Call, the 2016 3rd round pick, has played in 53 professional games as of Friday night, and registered his 23rd multi-hit game of the season and his 13th with the Intimidators. Adding to his offensive tear Call has now reached base safely in 12 straight games, the longest active streak on the team, and is in the midst of an 8-game hitting streak.

Rodriguez milestone: The Intimidators 6-3 win Friday night was easily the most significant win of the 2016 season. The victory stretch Kannapolis season long winning streak to six game and moved them into first place. Lost in the fanfare was Antonio Rodriguez 100th hit of the 2016 season. Rodriguez joined Tyler Sullivan as the only other Intimidators with 100 hits with his infield single in the fourth inning of Friday night’s win.
Last time in First: The Intimidators are now atop the Northern Division. The last time the Intimidators were in first place this late into a half/into a season was in 2009 when the team won the 2nd half and last made the playoffs.

3 For Dale (Quality Starts): Any winning streak takes a little luck and some offense, but most importantly it takes consistently good pitching. Luis Martinez six inning outing Friday night, gave the Intimidators their third straight night with a quality start from their starting pitcher.

Sullivan’s 100th: Tyler Sullivan has been a mainstay atop the Intimidators starting lineup this season and last night the Kannapolis outfielder leadoff for the 100th time this season.
On This Date in Baseball History: In 1902, in an attempted double steal by the A’s, the Tigers concede second base to Harry Davis, freezing Dave Fultz, the runner on third, which prompts Davis to return to first base on the pitcher’s next delivery. When Davis takes off for second for the second time, he draws a throw and, in the resulting run-down Dave Fultz scores from third, and he is called safe at second again, but will be credited with only one stolen base for all of his efforts during the sixth frame of Philadelphia’s 9-0 victory over Detroit at Columbia Park.

Broadcast Information: All 140 Intimidators games will be broadcast live on the Kannapolis Intimidators Baseball Network online at IntimidatorsBaseball.com and via TuneIn Radio App with the Josh Feldman, in his sixth season as the “Voice of the Intimidators.” Erik Oas will handle play-by-play during weekend home games.

Game Notes 8/12/16: Winning streak reaches 5, Alex Call answering the call, Strong at home

 Lakewood BlueClaws (26-20,55-60) at Kannapolis Intimidators (26-21, 50-67)

Friday, August 12, 2016 – 7:05 p.m.
Intimidators Stadium supported by Carolinas HealthCare System (opened 1995) – Kannapolis, N.C.
Game #118 of 140
 LH Tyler Gilbert (6-7, 3.48) vs. RH Luis Martinez (6-8, 4.07)

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Today’s Preview: The Intimidators (A, White Sox) opened the four game home stand and series with a 3-1 win over the Lakewood BlueClaws (A, Phillies). The win stretched the Intimidators to five games, tied for the longest of the year, and has moved the Intimidators to within a half of game of Lakewood. This will be the 13th game of the year between the two teams and 179 in franchise history.

 

Sally League Standings: Kannapolis (25-21) pulled into second place on their own in the 7-team South Atlantic League Northern Division Second Half standings, now 0.5 games out of first place. The Intimidators win over Lakewood (26-20) snapped the BlueClaws 6-game winning streak, and moved Kannapolis to within a half-game. Hagerstown (25-22) dropped to third place, 1.5 back, with their loss on Thursday and have now dropped four straight. Hickory (24-22) is 2.0 games back of the BlueClaws in fourth with Greensboro and West Virginia (24-23) tied for fourth 2.5 games back. Delmarva (18-29) is bringing up the rear, 8.5 games back. Hagerstown won the First Half title in the Northern Division, and if the Suns win the Second Half l, the second-best overall team will join them as a wild card in the playoffs.  Augusta has a 3.5 game lead in the Southern Division second half standings.

 

3 for Dale + 2: The Intimidators have now won five straight games for the first time since July 2-6, taking the series opener against Lakewood 3-1 on Thursday night. The Intimidators have won three straight games or more six times this season, four of those winning streaks coming in the Second Half. The longest winning streak on record for the Intimidators came in August of 2009 when the team won 12 in a row.

 

Intimidating Starter: Luis Martinez, 21, makes his 24th start and appearance of the year, most in the Sally League, and his third against Lakewood. Martinez was the Intimidators opening day starter and has taken his spot in the rotation every time since. In his second stint with the Intimidators, Martinez was one of the principle international signees by the Chicago White Sox but saw his pro debut postponed by a year due to Tommy John Surgery. In his three previous starts against the BlueClaws, Martinez has seen mixed results. His record against Lakewood of 1-1 with a 7.71 ERA (10 ER/ 11.2 IP) also includes a strong five inning win in Lakewood on June 17. That win snapped an eight game losing streak the longest of the year. The righty will take the ball following a six inning shutout win over the Greensboro Grasshoppers.

 

BlueClaws Starter: Tyler Gilbert, 22, makes his 20th start and appearance of the year for Lakewood and his third against Kannapolis. In his time against the Intimidators, the lefty has taken the win in both of his starts, posting a record of 2-0 with a 1.50 ERA (2 ER/ 12 IP). Gilbert struggled with the long ball during the first half of play, allowing seven homers including three to Delmarva on June 12. However, in the second half, he has allowed just two. Despite being a lefty Gilbert has no real dramatic splits between the righties and lefties he has faced.  The USC (University of Southern California) product has split time between the bullpen and the starting staff his junior season following a transfer from Santa Barbra Community College. His fastball sits in the high 80’s and will occasionally hit 93 with movement. His secondary pitches are described as “below average” throwing a curveball and changeup.

 

About Last Night: Max Beatty spun 7.0 strong innings to pitch the Intimidators past the first place Lakewood BlueClaws, 3-1, on Thursday night at Intimidators Stadium supported by Carolinas HealthCare System. Kannapolis (26-21 Second Half, 50-67) won its fifth straight game and will play the BlueClaws with the division lead on the line on Friday night. Beatty (4-5) limited Lakewood to a run on six hits while striking out three and walking none. He opened with five scoreless frames which allowed the Intimidators offense to grab an early lead and never look back. Michael Horejsei spun a scoreless eighth and ninth to secure the save (2).

 

Answering the Call: There are many ways to make a first impression when you first arrive at a new place. Alex Call has made his mark by hitting. The 2016 3rd round pick, played in his 52 professional game Thursday night, and registered his 22nd multi-hit game of the season and his 12th with the Intimidators, #good.

 

Home of the Strong: Bradley Strong’s success at Intimidators Stadium supported by Carolinas HealthCare Sytem, a notorious pitchers park, has been no secret. Thursday night Strong drove in two runs during a 2-for-3 night at the plate that included a triple. Now, all of Strong’s homers, 6, have come at home, all of his triples, 2, have come at home and 11 of his 17 RBI this season have been collected at the friendly confines.

 

It’s How You Finish: The second half has been far kinder to the Intimidators than the first half. Thursday night’s win over Lakewood was the 26th of the second half and 50th overall. Meaning, the Intimidators have won more wins in the second half than the first with 23 more game left to play.

 

On This Date in Baseball History: In 1966, in a game which featured a total of 11 home runs, the Reds’ Art Shamsky, who came in as a defensive replacement, hits three round-trippers in a 14-11, 13-inning loss to the Pirates at Crosley Field. Cincinnati’s new left fielder’s eighth inning home run put the team ahead and his 10th and 11th inning shots, equaling the major league mark for round trippers hit in extra innings, tied the game.

 

Broadcast Information: All 140 Intimidators games will be broadcast live on the Kannapolis Intimidators Baseball Network online at IntimidatorsBaseball.com and via TuneIn Radio App with the Josh Feldman, in his sixth season as the “Voice of the Intimidators.” Erik Oas will handle play-by-play during weekend home games.

Game Notes 8/10/16: Can we break out the brooms against Hagerstown?

Kannapolis Intimidators (24-21, 48-67) at Hagerstown Suns (25-20, 68-47)
Wednesday, August 10, 2016 – 7:05 p.m.
Municipal Stadium (opened 1930) – Hagerstown, Md.
Game #116 of 140
RH Brannon Easterling (6-2, 2.05) vs. LH Taylor Guilbeau (2-1, 4.40)

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Today’s Preview: The Intimidators (A, White Sox) play for their second sweep of the season as they face the Suns (A, Nationals) in the third and final game of this series at Municipal Stadium. Kannapolis, which swept Hagerstown in early July for the team’s only other sweep of the season, has won three straight games and today sends South Atlantic League ERA leader Brannon Easterling to the mound. Easterling faces Hagerstown’s left-hander Taylor Guilbeau in the series finale as Kannapolis wraps up its season-series against the Suns. The Intimidators, which lead the season-series 8-4, now lead the all-time series, 90-89, dating back to 2001.

Sally League Standings: Kannapolis (24-21) pulled into a tie for fourth in the 7-team South Atlantic League Northern Division Second Half standings, now 1.5 games out of first place. The Intimidators win over Hagerstown (25-20) dropped the Suns to second place, a half-game behind the surging Lakewood BlueClaws (25-19) which have won four straight. Hickory (24-20) is 1.0 game back of the BlueClaws in third with Kannapolis and Greensboro (24-21) tied for fourth. The West Virginia Power (23-22) are only 2.5 games out in sixth place. Delmarva (17-28) is bringing up the rear. Hagerstown won the First Half title in the Northern Division, and if the Suns wins the Second Half l, the second-best overall team will join them as a wild card in the playoffs. Augusta has a 3.5 game lead in the Southern Division second half standings.

Grant Massey

(Brian Westerholt/Four Seam Images)

3 for Dale: The Intimidators have won three straight games for the first time in a month, taking the series finale against Greensboro on Sunday before winning the first two games of this series in Hagerstown. Kannapolis last won three straight from July 25-28 and has not four straight since the team won five-in-a-row from July 2-6. The Intimidators have won three straight games or more six times this season, four of those winning streaks coming in the Second Half. The longest winning streak on record for the Intimidators came in August of 2009 when the team won 12 in a row.

Sweep Dreams: Kannapolis has a chance to sweep the Suns for the second time this season when they face Hagerstown on Tuesday. The Intimidators have only one other sweep this season when they took three games against the Suns from July 4-6 at Intimidators Stadium supported by Carolinas HealthCare System.

Intimidating Starter: Brannon Easterling, 25, makes his 13th start and 29th appearance for Kannapolis as he faces the Suns for the third time. Easterling, the SAL leader in ERA (2.05) and winning percentage (.750) among qualifying arms, has twice faced Hagerstown in relief, posting a 4.50 ERA (2 ER/4.0 IP) with five strikeouts and two walks. As a starter, Easterling is 3-1 with a 2.22 ERA (14 ER/56.2 IP) in 12 starts after opening the season 3-1 with a 1.78 ERA (7 ER/35.1 IP) in 16 relief appearances. He is coming off a rain-shortened start at Greensboro on August 5, allowing a run on four hits in 4.2 innings. Easterling in two starts removed from matching career-highs with 7.0 innings and six strikeouts in a home win over Greensboro on July 31. Easterling served as a starter for Advanced Rookie Great Falls in 2015, going 5-4 with a 3.50 ERA (32 ER/82.1 IP) in 15 games (all starts). The White Sox selected him in the 20th round of the June 2014 First-Year Player Draft out of St. Edwards where he led the nation with 14 complete games in 2014.

Hagerstown Hurler: Taylor Guilbeau, 23, makes his ninth start and 24th appearance of 2016 as he faces Kannapolis for the third time. The left-hander made a pair of relief appearances against the Intimidators in May, posting a 5.40 ERA (3 ER/5.0 IP) with seven strikeouts and a walk. After spending most of his professional debut season as a starter, Guilbeau opened this season in the Suns bullpen, going 0-0 with a 5.36 ERA (24 ER/40.1 IP) and 41 strikeouts in 15 games. He moved into the rotation to open the second half and has gone 2-1 with a 3.38 ERA (14 ER/37.1 IP) and 26 strikeouts in eight starts since. Left-handed hitters are batting .209 (18-86) off Guilbeau while right-handed hitters have teed off with a .340 (81-238) average. He is coming off a career-long 6.0 innings in a no decision at Lakewood on August 4, allowing a run on four hits while striking out three and walking two. The Nationals selected Guilbeau in the 10th round of the June 2015 draft out of Alabama where he served as the Crimson Tide’s Friday starter. He led ‘Bama with 92.0 innings pitched, going 3-6 with a 3.69 ERA, 79 strikeouts, and 44 walks in 15 starts.

About Last Night: Johnathan Frebis opened with five scoreless innings to pitch the Intimidators past the Suns, 4-2, on Tuesday at Municipal Stadium. Frebis (8-10) earned his first win since July 10, limiting Hagerstown to five hits over 5 and 2/3 innings.  He struck out three and walked one while allowing one run.  Jack Charleston tossed 2.0 scoreless innings in the eighth and ninth for his fifth save in five chances.  Kannapolis scored runs in the second, third, and fourth innings to separate from the Suns early.  Cody Daily doubled in the second inning and moved to third base on a Micker Adolfo grounder before breaking a scoreless tie on a passed ball.  Tyler Sullivan led off the third inning with a base hit, stolen second base — his team-leading 25th stolen base of the season — and scored on an Antonio Rodriguez base hit for a 2-0 lead.  Sullivan finished the night 3-for-5 with a double and a run scored while Daily reached base safely three times, going 2-for-4 with a walk and a run scored.

Jacked Up: Reliever Jack Charleston recorded his second straight save with a pair of scoreless innings on Tuesday. He struck out two while working around a hit and a walk against Hagerstown. Charleston has now converted all five of his save opportunities. The White Sox selected him in the 30th round of the June 2015 draft out of Faulkner University.

Daily Double: First baseman Cody Daily went 2-for-4 with his team-leading 22nd double of the season on Tuesday in a 4-2 win over Hagerstown. Daily, who is batting .274 this season, ranks tied for 16th in the league in doubles and 18th in average as one of six Intimidators hitters with enough plate appearances to qualify (Landon Lassiter, Tyler Sullivan, Grant Massey, Seby Zavala, and Antonio Rodriugez).

Who You Gonna Call: Alex Call saw his career-high-tying eight-game hitting streak come to an end with an 0-3 night on Tuesday. Call, who walked twice to extend his on-base streak to nine games with the Intimidators, hit .355 (11-31) with two doubles, a home run, five RBI, and five runs scored from Aug. 1-8. He had an 8-game hitting streak earlier this season with Advanced Rookie Great Falls, batting .313 (10-32) from June 29-July 7. The White Sox selected Call in the third round of the June 2016 draft out of Ball State where he hit .358 with 13 home runs and 44 RBI this past season. Call began his professional career with a 24-game on-base streak from June 17-July 13 with the Voyagers, still the second-best on-base streak in the Pioneer League this season. Since his July 17 promotion to Kannapolis, Call has hit safely in 19 of 23 games in the South Atlantic League, batting .344 with the Intimidators.

Sullivan struts to first: Outfielder Tyler Sullivan, who went 3-for-5 on Tuesday, is tied for fourth in the SAL with 107 games played. He drew two walks on Saturday, raising his total to a team-leading 53 walks in 2016, which ranks fifth. Sullivan is batting .266 (110-413) for Kannapolis, which ranks 23rd in the SAL.

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