One-Run Wonders: Kannapolis in the clutch

The Kannapolis Intimidators scored yet another one-run win on Friday night, edging the Grasshoppers, 4-3, on a John Ziznewski walk-off single with two outs in the bottom of the ninth.

The Intimidators improved to 20-9 (.690) in one-run games this season.  Kannapolis leads the South Atlantic League in winning percentage in one-run games while tying for the most victories by a lone tally this season (Charleston is 20-13 [.606] in one-run games).

In fact, Kannapolis leads all of Minor League Baseball when it comes to success in close contests.  Here’s the breakdown of the top teams in the Minors by winning percentage in one-run games.

1-RUN GAMES
W% TEAM (W-L)
.690 Kannapolis (20-9)
.650 Great Lakes (26-14)
.649 Daytona (24-13)
.645 Biloxi (20-11)
.633 Bowie (19-11)
.625 Palm Beach (20-12)
.621 Hickory (18-11)
.621 Midland (18-11)
.621 Visalia (18-11)
.614 Fort Myers (27-17)
.613 Iowa (19-12)
.613 Scranton/WB (19-12)
.607 High Desert (17-11)
.607 Round Rock (17-11)
.607 Sacramento (17-11)
.606 Charleston (20-13)
.600 El Paso (12-8)

The Intimidators also enjoyed another walk-off win on Friday night, their third of the season.  You can dig into all of the walk-off wins below:

July 31 vs. Greensboro – John Ziznewski drops Hoppers

John Ziznewski and the Intimidators celebrate after a walk-off win over Greensboro on Friday.

John Ziznewski and the Intimidators celebrate after a walk-off win over Greensboro on Friday.

GAME RECAP

June 25 vs. Asheville – Brett Austin sends Tourists packing

GAME RECAP

May 27 vs. Lexington – Ryan Leonards plays the hero

Teammates congratulate Ryan Leonards after his walk-off single scored John Ziznewski to beat Lexington on May 25, 2015.

Teammates congratulate Ryan Leonards after his walk-off single scored John Ziznewski to beat Lexington on May 25, 2015.

GAME RECAP

Game Notes 8/1/15: Intimidators vs. Grasshoppers

Kannapolis Intimidators vs. Greensboro Grasshoppers
Saturday, Aug. 1, 2015 – 7:05 p.m.
Intimidators Stadium supported by Carolinas HealthCare System – Kannapolis, N.C.
Game #104 of 139
RHP Spencer Adams (6-5, 3.51) vs. RHP Tyler Kolek (4-7, 4.15)

Intimidators: 18-16 Second Half, 53-50 (Chicago White Sox)
Grasshoppers: 10-24 Second Half, 38-65 (Miami Marlins)

Today’s Preview: The Intimidators (A, White Sox) continue their four-game series with the Greensboro Grasshoppers (A, Marlins) Saturday night. Kannapolis looks to take a 2-1 series lead after winning game-two Friday in walk-off fashion. Saturday’s match-up pins highly touted farmhand’s Spencer Adams against Tyler Kolek. According to MLB.com Adams is the fourth ranked prospect in the Chicago White Sox organization and Kolek is the number one ranked prospect in the Miami Marlins system.

Intimidating Starter: Spencer Adams, 19, makes his 16th start of the season and his second against the Grasshoppers. Adams earned a win on June 20 against Greensboro, giving up three runs on seven hits with two strikeouts over 5.0 innings. Adams his coming off is first loss in over a month, spinning 6.0 innings, allowing three runs on ten hits while striking out five at Lakewood on July 25. Adams made his High-A debut with the Winston-Salem Dash on July 19, earning a win against the Lynchburg Hillcats (High-A, Indians), working 6.0 innings allowing no runs, four hits while walking one and fanning four. This season Adams is 2-2 at home with a 4.46 ERA (17 ER/34.1 IP) compared to a 4-3 record on the road with a 2.83 ERA (15 ER/47.2 IP). The White Sox selected Adams in the second round (44th overall) in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft out of White County High School in Cleveland, Ga.

Hoppers Hurler: Tyler Kolek, 19, makes his 20th start of the season and his third against the Intimidators. Kolek is 0-1 against Kannapolis in two starts, with a 5.63 ERA (5.0 ER/8 IP). The Texan is coming off a loss against Savannah on July 26, working 3 and 2/3 innings, giving up five runs (two earned) on five hits while walking four and striking out four. The 6’5” right-handed pitcher who routinely throws in the upper 90’s is 2-1 away from Newbridge Bank Park with a 2.37 ERA (10 ER/38.0 IP) compared to a 2-6 record at home with a 5.37 ERA (29 ER/46.2). The Miami Marlins made Kolek their first selection, No. 2 overall, in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft out of Shepard High School in Sheppard, Texas.

Last Time Out: The Kannapolis Intimidators erased a three-run deficit in the sixth and finished off the comeback with a walk-off RBI single by John Ziznewski in the ninth to beat the Greensboro Grasshoppers, 4-3, Friday. The Grasshoppers took a 1-0 lead in the top of the fourth when Arturo Rodriguez scored from third on a fielding error by Ziznewski. Greensboro padded its lead with two more runs in the fifth, to make it 3-0. After John Norwood singled off-the-wall to score Rony Cabrera, Mason Davis scored on an Arturo Rodriguez sac-fly. In the sixth, Kannapolis plated three runs to even the game at 3-3. It started when Suiter doubled to score Ryan Plourde. Mason Robbins then singled, and Suiter scored on a ground out to first by Louie Lechich. Robbins completed the three-run frame when he scored from third on a wild pitch. In the ninth, with two outs and runners on the corners John Ziznewski lined home Louie Lechich to complete the third walk-off win of the season for Kannapolis. Matt Cooper earned the win (3-0), working one inning while striking out one. Kelvin Rivas took the loss (1-2), working 2 and 2/3 innings, allowing one run on three hits while striking out three.

Game Set Match: Last night’s walk-off winner by John Zinznewski was just the third walk-off win of the season for Kannapolis and the first since Brett Austin won it in the ninth with a two-run double against the Asheville Tourists on June 25.  Kannapolis is now 8-9 in games decided in the final at-bats this season, including winning its last five such games.

Suiter’s Streak: Outfielder Michael Suiter doubled to go 1-for-4 on Friday with a run scored and a RBI to extend his hitting streak to a career-high-tying 10-straight games since July 19, the longest such streak by an Intimidator this year. He is batting .325 (13-40) during this ten game stretch. He previously hit safely in eight consecutive games April 15-25, batting .387 (12-31) during that time. Since returning to Kannapolis from High-A Winston-Salem, he is batting .327 (19-58) with hits in 14 of his 15 games played. Suiter opened his career with a 10-game hit streak from June 21 to July 6, 2014, in which he hit .368 (14-38).

Rockin’ Robbins: Mason Robbins recorded his 22nd multi-hit game of the season Friday and his seventh game with three or more hits, going 3-for-4 with a run scored. Robbins has now hit safely in eight-straight games, one shy of his season-high nine game-hitting streak from June 1 – June 10. Robbins hit safely in 17-straight games from July 16- Aug 8, 2014, with the Great Falls Voyagers (Rookie, White Sox).

Louie Louie: Louie Lechich went 2-for-4 Friday with a run scored and a RBI. It was the third straight multi-hit game for Lechich and his team leading 26th multi-hit game of the season. Lechich also leads the team with 56 RBI, which is tied for third in the South Atlantic League. The Stockton, California native is tied for third in games played in the Sally League (96), outfield assists (12) and at-bats (364).

The Closer: Matt Cooper spun a perfect ninth Friday night and earned his third win of the season (3-0). Mr. Reliable ranks second in games finished in the South Atlantic League and he is tied for sixth in saves with 10. Cooper’s 10 saves is the most by an Intimidators reliever since 2010 (Orlando Santos, 15) and only the 10th player in Intimidators history with double digit saves in a season (since 2001).

Broadcast Information: This season, all 140 games will be broadcast live on the Kannapolis Intimidators Baseball Network at IntimidatorsBaseball.com and via TuneIn Radio App with the Josh Feldman, in his fifth season as the “Voice of the Intimidators,” and Nick Nollenberger, in his first year with the team.

Game Notes 7/30/15: Intimidators at Grasshoppers

Kannapolis Intimidators vs. Greensboro Grasshoppers
Thursday, July 30, 2015 – 7:05 p.m.
Intimidators Stadium supported by Carolinas HealthCare System – Kannapolis, N.C.
Game #102 of 139
RHP Zach Thompson (3-4, 4.25) vs. RHP Jorgan Cavanerio (2-4, 4.76)

Intimidators: 17-15 Second Half, 52-49 (Chicago White Sox)
Grasshoppers: 9-23 Second Half, 38-63 (Miami Marlins)

Today’s Preview: The Intimidators (A, White Sox) return to Kannapolis following a winning road trip to host the Grasshoppers (A, Marlins) in a four-game series. Kannapolis took two of three games in Greensboro last week and leads the season series 6-2 with eight games between the two squads left in 2015. Zach Thompson makes his second straight start against the Hoppers in a pitching rematch of the July 24 game at NewBridge Bank Park, a game Greensboro won, 7-6, to avoid a sweep. The Intimidators enter this game have won seven of their last 11 games while the Grasshoppers have lost nine of their last 12 games.

The White Sox selected Zach Thompson in the fifth round of the June 2014 First-Year Player Draft.

The White Sox selected Zach Thompson in the fifth round of the June 2014 First-Year Player Draft.

Intimidating Starter: Zach Thompson, 21, makes his ninth start of the year and third against Greensboro. He is 1-0 with a 4.15 ERA (4 ER/8.2 IP) in two starts against the Grasshoppers, including a no decision on July 24 in his last start in Greensboro in which he struck out a career-high five batters over 3.2 innings. Thompson is two starts removed from a career-high-tying 6.0 scoreless innings of one-hit ball on July 18 in a win over Hagerstown. Thompson is 1-3 with a 5.32 ERA (13 ER/22.0 IP) in five starts in the second half after starting 2-1 with a 2.57 ERA before the break. The 6’7”, 215-pound right-hander joined Kannapolis on June 3 from Extended Spring Training. He made his pro debut in 2014 with Advanced Rookie Great Falls, going 2-3 with a 3.27 ERA (16 ER/44.0 IP) in 11 games (11 starts). The White Sox selected him in the fifth round of the June 2014 First-Year Player Draft out of UT-Arlington. Thompson graduated from Grace Preparatory Academy in Arlington, Texas. His brother, Matt, pitched in the Rangers organization from 2008-12.

Hoppers Hurler: Jorge Cavanerio, 20, makes his 12th start of the season and third against the Intimidators. He is 1-1 with a 6.00 ERA (8 ER/12 IP), seven strikeouts and three walks in two starts against Kannapolis, including a win in his last outing July 24. The right-hander struck out a career-high 10 batters in 6.0 innings on June 14 against Lexington. After starting the first half 0-3 with a 3.77 ERA in eight starts, he is 2-1 with a 7.47 ERA (13 ER/15.2 IP) in three starts since. He made three starts with High-A Jupiter in early July, going 0-3 with a 4.08 ERA (8 ER/17.2 IP) and is 2-7 with a 4.60 ERA in 14 starts between Greensboro and Jupiter in 2015. He spent all of 2014 with the Short-Season Batavia Muckdogs, going 4-6 with a 4.56 ERA in 14 starts.

Last Time Out: The Intimidators salvaged a series split with a 3-1 win over the BlueClaws on Tuesday in Lakewood. Louie Lechich drove in all three runs for Kannapolis, going 3-4 at the plate. Yency Almonte (8-4) earned the win, tossing six inning and giving up just one run on eight hits while striking out two and walking two.  Jose Brito took over in the seventh inning and spun three scoreless, hitless frames for the save (2).  Ranfi Casimiro (6-6) took the loss, giving up three runs (two earned) on seven hits over 6 and 2/3 innings. Lechich gave the Intimidators the lead in the top of the third.  With the bases loaded and one out, he singled back up the gut to drive in Ethan Gross and Ryan Plourde for a 2-1 advantage. In the seventh, Lechich beat a shift by singling to score Suiter.

Louie Lechich ranks tied for third in the SAL with 12 outfield assists this season.

Louie Lechich ranks tied for third in the SAL with 12 outfield assists this season.

Louie Louie: Louie Lechich matched his career-high with three hits on Tuesday, his first three-hit game of the season in his team-leading 24th multi-hit game of the year. Lechich, who had 23 two-hit games already under his belt in 2015, enjoyed the fifth three-hit game of his career and first since Sept. 1, 2014, at Billings while with Advanced Rookie Great Falls. He matched his career-high with three RBI in the game as well, running his team-leading total to 54 RBI this season, which ranks sixth in the South Atlantic League. The White Sox sixth round pick from the June 2014 draft ranks tied for third in at-bats (356) and tied for fifth in games played (94).

Suiter’s Streak: Outfielder Michael Suiter went 1-4 on Tuesday to run his hitting streak to a season-high-tying eight straight games since July 19. He is batting .324 (11-34) during this eight game stretch. He previously hit safely in eight consecutive games April 15-25, batting .387 (12-31) during that time. Since returning to Kannapolis from High-A Winston-Salem, he is batting .327 (17-52) with hits in 12 of his 13 games played. Suiter opened his career with a 10-game hit streak from June 21 to July 6, 2014, in which he hit .368 (14-38) – still the longest hitting streak of his career. He also reached base safely in 14 straight games to open his career, the longest on-base streak of his career.

Mighty Martinez: Luis Martinez set a new career-high with 8.0 scoreless innings of 2-hit ball on Monday against Lakewood, surpassing his previous career-high of 6 and 2/3 innings on May 2 against Rome. He became just the fourth Intimidators pitcher to work at least eight complete innings this season, joining Jordan Guerrero (8.0, April 28 vs. Greenville), Thad Lowry (8.1, May 14 vs. Lakewood), and Yency Almonte (8.2, July 4 at Augusta).

The Closer: Matt Cooper spun a perfect ninth for the save (10) on Monday, becoming the first Intimidator to record 10 saves since 2010 (Orlando Santos, 15). Cooper is only the 10th reliever with 10 or more saves in Intimidators history (since 2001).

Broadcast Information: This season, all 140 games will be broadcast live on the Kannapolis Intimidators Baseball Network at IntimidatorsBaseball.com and via TuneIn Radio App with the Josh Feldman, in his fifth season as the “Voice of the Intimidators,” and Nick Nollenberger, in his first year with the team.

Game Notes 7/28/15: Intimidators at BlueClaws

Kannapolis Intimidators (16-15, 51-49) at Lakewood BlueClaws (19-12, 52-47)
Tuesday, July 28, 2015 – 11:05 a.m.
FirstEnergy Park – Lakewood, N.J.
Game #101 of 139
RHP Yency Almonte (7-4, 4.05) vs. RHP Ranfi Casimiro (6-5, 3.23)

Today’s Preview: The Intimidators (A, White Sox) play for a series split against the BlueClaws (A, Phillies) in Tuesday’s series finale. Kannapolis is coming off its league-leading 13th shutout win and will send Yency Almonte to the mound against Lakewood’s Ranfi Casimiro. Lakewood leads the season-series, 8-6, going into the final game between the Intimidators and BlueClaws in 2015. Kannapolis is trying to avoid losing its first road series since May 20, when Asheville completed a three-game sweep of the Intimidators.

Intimidating Starter: Yency Almonte, 21, makes his 16th start for Kannapolis and second against a Phillies affiliate. He is coming off a career-high seven strikeouts over 6.0 innings in a no decision at Greensboro on July 23, a game Kannapolis won in 15 innings, 7-5. He is two starts removed from throwing 7.0 scoreless innings of one-hit ball in a win over Hagerstown on July 17. Almonte took a no-hitter two outs into the ninth inning, the longest no-hit bid in franchise history, on July 4 in Augusta. The 8.2 IP outing was a career-long start. This month, he is 2-0 with a 2.36 ERA (7 ER/26.2 IP) in four starts. He ranks fifth in the SAL among starters with a .245 average against him. Almonte earned a win in his lone start with the Winston-Salem Dash on June 2 against the Salem Red Sox, working 7.0 innings of relief, allowing no runs, four hits while striking out three. The White Sox acquired Almonte from the Los Angeles Angels as the PTBNL in exchange for infielder Gordon Beckham on February 4, 2015. Almont was drafted in the 17th round by the LAA, in the 2012 draft.

BlueClaw on the Bump: Ranfi Casimiro, 22, makes his 17th start of the season and seventh career start against the Intimidators (fourth in 2015). The Dominican right-hander is 1-2 with a 5.03 ERA (11 ER/19.2 IP) in three starts against Kannapolis this season, including a complete-game loss on May 15 in Kannapolis, giving up one run in 8.0 IP in an Intimidators’ 1-0 win. In his six career starts against Kannapolis, he is 1-3 with a 4.84 ERA (19 ER/35.1 IP). Casimiro has won his last three starts, including an outing in Kannapolis on July 15 in which he allowed four runs on eight hits over 6.2 innings. In his last start, he spun 7.2 scoreless innings to beat West Virginia on July 22. He is off to a strong start in the Second Half, going 4-0 with a 2.37 ERA (10 ER/30.1 IP) in five starts compared to going 2-5 with a 3.64 ERA in 11 starts in the First Half. He is tied for the league lead with two complete games, including a 7-inning complete-game shutout on May 22 against Greensboro. He ranks seventh in the league in ERA (3.23) and fifth in WHIP (1.17). In his first full season in the South Atlantic League, Casimiro went 5-9 with a 4.92 ERA in 25 games (25 starts) in the SAL in 2014.

Last Time Out: Kannapolis scored its league-leading 13th shutout with a 1-0 win over the BlueClaws on Monday. Luis Martinez (4-9) spun eight innings of two-hit ball, and Matt Cooper tossed a perfect ninth for the save (10). Tyler Viza of the BlueClaws worked all nine innings, suffering a complete-game loss while becoming the first Lakewood arm to throw a nine-inning complete game since Lisalverto Bonilla on July 6, 2011. In the seventh inning, Kannapolis scored the game’s only run. Alexander Simon led off the inning with a double, and Toby Thomas brought him home with a two-out triple for the 1-0 lead.

Mighty Martinez: Luis Martinez set a new career-high with 8.0 scoreless innings of 2-hit ball on Monday against Lakewood, surpassing his previous career-high of 6 and 2/3 innings on May 2 against Rome. He became just the fourth Intimidators pitcher to work at least eight complete innings this season, joining Jordan Guerrero (8.0, April 28 vs. Greenville), Thad Lowry (8.1, May 14 vs. Lakewood), and Yency Almonte (8.2, July 4 at Augusta).

The Closer: Matt Cooper spun a perfect ninth for the save (10) on Monday, becoming the first Intimidator to record 10 saves since 2010 (Orlando Santos, 15). Cooper is only the 10th reliever with 10 or more saves in Intimidators history (since 2001).

Baker’s Dozen Blankings: Kannapolis spun its SAL-leading 13th shutout of 2015 Monday in Lakewood, the team’s fifth of July. The Intimidators now have two more shutouts than the next-closest SAL team (Rome, 11) and leads the league in winning percentage in shutout games at .813 with a 13-3 record. Three shutout losses is tied with Greenville for fewest in the league. The Intimidators are tied for third in the Minors with New Orleans (AAA, Marlins) with 13 shutouts, behind 16-7 Charlotte (High-A, Tampa Bay) and 14-12 Palm Beach (High-A, Cardinals).

Shutouts By Pitcher: Luis Martinez pitched Kannapolis to a shutout win on Monday, the fourth time the Intimidators have spun a shutout in a game he has started. The lanky right-hander leads the team with four shutouts in his starts.

Starting Pitcher — Team Shutouts — Last Shutout Win (Score)
Luis Martinez — 4 — July 27 at Lakewood (W, 1-0)
Yency Almonte — 2 — July 4 at Augusta (W, 1-0)
Thad Lowry — 2 — July 8 at Charleston (W, 2-0)
Zach Thompson — 2 — July 18 vs. Hagerstown (W, 1-0)
Spencer Adams — 1 — May 21 (Gm 1) vs. Hickory (W, 2-0)
Jordan Guerrero — 1 — April 15 (Gm 2) at Delmarva (W, 8-0)
Yelmison Peralta — 1 — May 28 at Hagerstown (W, 4-0)

One-Run Wonders: The Intimidators (19-9) lead all of full-season Minor League Baseball with a .679 winning percentage in one-run games. Kannapolis is tied for 16th in one-run wins this season, behind Fort Myers (26), Norfolk (26), Dayton (25), Great Lakes (25), Daytona (24), Birmingham (23), Arkansas (22), Mississippi (22), Binghamton (21), Clearwater (21), Indianapolis (21), Biloxi (20), Chattanooga (20), Lehigh Valley (20), and Palm Beach (20).

That Escalated Quickly: The Intimidators played their fastest game of the season on Monday, taking just one hour, 58 minutes to beat the BlueClaws, 1-0. The team’s previous fastest game also came in Lakewood when the Intimidators needed just two hours, six minutes to beat the BlueClaws, 8-0, on April 12.

Quieting The Claws: Kannapolis allowed just two Lakewood hits on Monday, matching the lowest hit total Intimidators pitchers have allowed this season. Previously the Intimidators gave up two hits in back-to-back games on July 3 against West Virginia (a rain-shortened 3-0 shutout win in seven innings) and July 4 at Augusta, when Yency Almonte took a no-hitter two outs into the ninth inning. The last time the Intimidators allowed one hit in a game was April 28, 2013, when Jake Cose and Braulio Ortiz gave up just one hit in a 1-0 loss to Hickory.

Lechich Among League Leaders: Outfielder Louie Lechich ranks fourth in the SAL in at-bats (352) and tied for fifth in games played (93). The Kannapolis outfielder also ranks tied for third in the league with 12 outfield assists, trailing on Lakewood’s Herlis Rodriguez (14) and Asheville’s Drew Weeks (13).

Broadcast Information: This season, all 140 games will be broadcast live on the Kannapolis Intimidators Baseball Network at IntimidatorsBaseball.com and via TuneIn Radio App with the Josh Feldman, in his fifth season as the “Voice of the Intimidators,” and Nick Nollenberger, in his first year with the team.

Starting lineups 7/27/15: Intimidators at BlueClaws

In Sunday’s lineup post, I mentioned the “tough loss” Kannapolis suffered on Saturday, but there is no loss tougher than what the Delmarva Shorebirds experienced on Sunday evening in Augusta. Long story short: Elier Leyva hit a would-be go-ahead home run in the top of the 9th but failed to touch home plate. The game went to extra-innings, and Augusta beat the Shorebirds.  I saw the video on twitter last night and couldn’t believe my eyes.

Here’s the video:

Not sure I’ll ever see anything like that again.  Unreal.

Kids, please touch home.  Here are today’s lineups:

Kannapolis Intimidators (15-15, 50-49)

#9 Hunter Jones CF
#10 Mason Robbins RF
#23 Alexander Simon 1B
#11 Ryan Leonards SS
#20 Brett Austin C
#2 Toby Thomas 2B
#14 Michael Suiter LF
#5 John Ziznewski 3B
#37 Cody Daily 1B
#43 Luis Martinez RHP (3-9, 5.14 ERA, 17th start)

Lakewood BruceClaws (19-11, 52-46)

#20 Herlis Rodriguez RF
#18 Scott Kingery 2B
#27 Kyle Martin 1B
#14 Damek Tomscha 3B
#17 Cord Sandberg LF
#23 Jiandido Tromp CF
#26 Deivi Grullon C
#3 Chase Harris DH
#24 Emmanuel Marrero SS
#21 Tyler Viza RHP (4-5, 3.91 ERA, 17th start)

Tune in to today’s pregame interview with John Ziznewski, who has been playing this series in front of scores of friends and family.  He’s from nearby Staten Island and even played some of his college games here at FirstEnergy Park while with LIU in Brooklyn.  We roll live at 6:50 p.m. with first pitch at 7:05 p.m.  Here are your links to listen:

PC/Droid: http://bit.ly/16WINds
iOS: http://bit.ly/ZqLOx9
TuneIn: http://bit.ly/1rouCcl

-JF
@BigTexJosh

Game Notes 7/27/15: Intimidators at BlueClaws

Kannapolis Intimidators (15-15, 50-49) at Lakewood BlueClaws (19-11, 52-46)
Monday, July 27, 2015 – 7:05 p.m.
FirstEnergy Park – Lakewood, N.J.
Game #100 of 139
RHP Luis Martinez (3-9, 5.14) vs. RHP Tyler Viza (4-5, 3.91)

Today’s Preview: The Intimidators (A, White Sox) will try to get back into this four-game series against the BlueClaws (A, Phillies) with game three of the set after dropping the first two games. Lakewood, which now leads the season-series, 8-5, can clinch a series win by beating Kannapolis today. Luis Martinez takes the mound for his 17th start against Lakewood right-hander Tyler Viza, who has faced Kannapolis three times already this season.

Intimidating Starter: Luis Martinez, 20, makes his 17th start of the year and his second against the BlueClaws. He suffered a home loss to Lakewood on July 16, giving up three runs on six hits over 5.2 innings. The right-hander is coming off a no decision July 22 at Greensboro, giving up a run on four hits over 5.0 innings. His last win came July 3 in Kannapolis when Martinez spun 6.0 scoreless innings in a shutout win over West Virginia. Despite a losing record, he has been much better in the Second Half, going 1-3 with a 1.93 ERA (5 ER/23.1 IP) in five starts after he went 2-6 with a 6.75 ERA before the break. Martinez has struggled on the road, going 0-4 with a 6.51 ERA (20 ER/27.2 IP) in seven road stars compared to 3-5 with a 4.25 ERA (20 ER/42.1 IP) in nine home starts. He ranks second in the SAL with nine losses. Martinez was signed as a free agent on Dec. 16, 2011. In 2014, he went 5-3 with a 2.93 ERA (24 ER/58.1 IP) and 62 strikeouts in 12 games (11 starts) between the AZL White Sox and Advanced Rookie Great  Falls.

BlueClaw on the Bump: Tyler Viza, 20, makes his 16th start of the year and fourth against the Intimidators. He is 1-1 with a 5.82 ERA (11 ER/17 IP) and 12 strikeouts in three starts against Kannapolis, including a career-high nine strikeouts on May 14. The win in his season debut sparked a run of three straight victories in each of his first three starts. Viza is coming off his best start in two months, spinning 7.0 scoreless innings with six hits, a walk and three strikeouts while taking no decision at Rome on July 20. Prior to his scoreless start against the Braves, he took a loss in his last three starts, including in Kannapolis on July 14. This is Viza’s second year with Lakewood. In his first full season in 2014, Viza went 3-17 with a 5.29 ERA in 24 games (24 starts) in the SAL. He led the circuit in losses and hits allowed (172). The Phillies selected him in the 32nd round of the June 2013 First-Year Player Draft.

Last Time Out: The BlueClaws rallied for two runs in the sixth and three more in the seventh to pull away late in a 5-3 win over Kannapolis on Sunday. Lakewood plated three runs in the bottom of the seventh off Kelvis Valerio.  With two on and one out, Scott Kingery singled to score Joel Fisher, and Chase Harris scored on a wild pitch for a 4-3 lead.  Damek Tomscha added an RBI-double to plate Kingery for a two-run lead. Will Morris (3-0) tossed 7.0 strong innings to earn the win, giving up three runs on six hits with four strikeouts and two walks.  BlueClaws relievers Scott Harris and Matt Hockenberry each spun a perfect inning with Hockenberry earning the save (10) by working the ninth.  Valerio (1-1) took the loss, giving up three runs on four hits in 1 and 2/3 innings.

Lowry Matches His Gem: Thad Lowry opened with five scoreless, hitless inning on the mound on Sunday, equaling an effort that earned him a rain-shortened five-inning no hitter June 3, 2014, at West Virginia. Before giving up three straight singles to open the sixth, ending his outing, Lowry struck out a career-high-tying seven batters.  Lowry is one of two Intimidators to throw an individual no-hitter, joining Brian Miller, who spun a 7-inning gem June 10, 2003, against the Greensboro Bats.

The Daily Show: Cody Daily enjoyed a strong day at the plate, going 2-3 with a home run and a double. He crossed the plate twice for two of the Intimidators’ three runs on Sunday. The first baseman joined Kannapolis on Wednesday from the AZL White Sox where he was hitting .390, which led the Arizona League. Daily now has four home runs in his professional debut season.

Three Up, Three Down: Following the Intimidators’ three-game winning streak from July 20-23, Kannapolis has dropped its last three games. It’s the first three-game slide for the team since a four-game slide June 26-29. Kannapolis is back to .500 in the Second Half, 15-15.

Lechich Among League Leaders: Outfielder Louie Lechich ranks third in the SAL in at-bats (352) and tied for fourth in games played (93). The Kannapolis outfielder also ranks tied for third in the league with 12 outfield assists, trailing on Lakewood’s Herlis Rodriguez (14) and Asheville’s Drew Weeks (13). Lechich also ranks tied for ninth on the circuit with 51 RBI. He went 0-4 on Sunday, ending his season-long seven-game hitting streak after batting .267 (8-30) during the stretch.

Broadcast Information: This season, all 140 games will be broadcast live on the Kannapolis Intimidators Baseball Network at IntimidatorsBaseball.com and via TuneIn Radio App with the Josh Feldman, in his fifth season as the “Voice of the Intimidators,” and Nick Nollenberger, in his first year with the team.

Starting Lineups 7/26/15: Intimidators at BlueClaws

Tough loss in Saturday night’s series opener. Brett Austin chipped in a bomb (hear the highlight), but Kannapolis couldn’t keep up with the BlueClaws in a 5-1 loss.  Today the Intimidators look to get back into the series as 10-game winner Thad Lowry takes the mound for his fourth start against Lakewood this season.  The last time he started at FirstEnergy Park, Kannapolis shutout the BlueClaws on April 12 — Lowry’s season-debut.

Here are today’s lineups:

Kannapolis Intimidators (15-14, 50-48)

#14 Michael Suiter CF
#10 Mason Robbins RF
#21 Louie Lechich DH
#23 Alexander Simon LF
#11 Ryan Leonards SS
#20 Brett Austin C
#2 Toby Thomas 2B
#5 John Ziznewski 3B
#37 Cody Daily 1B
#24 Thad Lowry RHP (10-5,

Lakewood BruceClaws (18-11, 51-46)

#3 Chase Harris RF
#18 Scott Kingery 2B
#27 Kyle Martin 1B
#14 Damek Tomscha 3B
#17 Cord Sandberg LF
#23 Jiandido Tromp CF
#26 Deivi Grullon C
#7 Joel Fisher DH
#10 Williams Cuicas SS
#25 Will Morris RHP (2-0, 1.57)

Tune in to today’s pregame interview with recently-activated Hunter Jones, who has spent three different stints on the DL. We go live at 12:50 p.m. First pitch is at 1:05 p.m. from FirstEnergy Park in Lakewood, N.J.

PC/Droid: http://bit.ly/16WINds
iOS: http://bit.ly/ZqLOx9
TuneIn: http://bit.ly/1rouCcl

-JF
@BigTexJosh

Game Notes 7/26/15: Intimidators at BlueClaws

Kannapolis Intimidators (15-14, 50-48) at Lakewood BlueClaws (18-11, 51-46)
Sunday, July 26, 2015 – 1:05 p.m.
FirstEnergy Park – Lakewood, N.J.
Game #99 of 139
RHP Thad Lowry (10-5, 3.92) vs. RHP Will Morris (2-0, 1.57)

Today’s Preview: The Intimidators (A, White Sox) send 10-game winner Thad Lowry to the mound against the BlueClaws (A, Phillies) for the second game of this four-game series. Lowry, who earned a win in his season debut at FirstEnergy Park, ranks second in the South Atlantic League in innings pitched (103.1) and tied for second in wins. The BlueClaws counter with right-hander Will Morris, who has bounced between four different classifications within the Phillies organization – as high as Double-A Reading – this season. Lakewood leads the season-series over Kannapolis, 7-5, however the Intimidators lead the all-time series, 83-80 (since 2001).

Early Risers: Kannapolis enters today 10-3 in day games (starting at 4:05 p.m. or earlier), including a win at Lakewood on April 12.

Road Warriors: Kannapolis has won seven consecutive road series. The Intimidators took three of four games in Hagerstown (May 28-31), two of three in Greenville (June 1-3), three of four in Delmarva (June 12-15), swept two games in Greensboro (June 20-21), won three of four in Augusta (July 4-7), three of five in Charleston (July 8-12), and two of three this week in Greensboro (July 22-24).

Intimidating Starter: Thad Lowry, 20, makes his team-leading 18th start of the season and his fourth against BlueClaws. In three 2015 starts against Lakewood, he is 1-1 with a 4.12 ERA (9 ER/19.2 IP), including a career-long 8.1 innings pitched on May 14. Lowry is coming off a day-game win over Hagerstown on July 20, working 7.0 innings and giving up two runs on three hits, his team-leading 13th quality start this year. The right-hander is the first Kannapolis pitcher to post double-digit wins since both Spencer Arroyo (10-9) and Matt Heidenreich (10-10) accomplished the feat in 2011. Lowry is the 11th pitcher in the Intimidators era (since 2001) to post 10 wins in a single season. The White Sox fifth round pick from the June 2013 First-Year Player Draft is now tied for fourth all-time in franchise wins with 14, two away from equaling the franchise record of 16 wins set by Brian Miller from 2002-2003. Last year, Lowry went 4-6 with a 4.76 ERA (46 ER/87 IP) in 17 starts with Kannapolis. The White Sox selected Lowry in the fifth round of the 2013 First-Year Player Draft.

BlueClaw on the Bump: Will Morris, 22, makes his third start and eighth appearance for Lakewood when he faces Kannapolis for the first time this season. Morris, who pitched for the BlueClaws in 2014, faced Kannapolis twice in relief last season, going 0-1 with a 5.41 ERA (2 ER/3.1 IP) and three strikeouts. Overall this season, he is 2-0 with a 1.59 ERA (7 ER/39.2 IP) in 14 games (two starts) between Short-Season Wilmington (four games), Lakewood, High-A Clearwater (two games), and Double-A Reading (one game). Last season with Lakewood, he went 1-3 with a 3.52 ERA with 51 strikeouts in 46.0 innings in 23 relief appearances. The Phillies drafted Morris in the 24th round of the June 2013 First-Year Player Draft out of the College of Southern Nevada.

About Last Night: Lakewood’s Kyle Martin went 4-4 to pace the BlueClaws to a 5-1 win over Kannapolis on Saturday. Shane Watson (1-2) earned his first win since 2013, tossing 6.0 innings, giving up a run on six hits with two strikeouts and no walks.  Lakewood struck first with two runs in the home half of the first inning. Martin tripled to score Scott Kingery from first, and Cord Sandberg added an RBI-double for a 2-0 lead.  Brett Austin blasted a solo home run (4) that put Kannapolis on the board in the second. Lakewood’s Joel Fisher hit a home run (1) in the fourth, and the BlueClaws added two more runs in the seventh on RBI-singles from Cord Sandberg and Jiandido Tromp for a 5-1 lead. Spencer Adams scattered 10 hits over 6.0 innings while giving up three runs in a loss.  He struck out five and walked none.  Yelmison Peralta spun 2.0 relief innings, his first appearance out of the bullpen this year.

Lechich Among League Leaders: Outfielder Louie Lechich now ranks third in the SAL in at-bats (348) and tied for fourth in games played (92). The Kannapolis outfielder also ranks tied for third in the league with 12 outfield assists, trailing on Lakewood’s Herlis Rodriguez (14) and Asheville’s Drew Weeks (13). Lechich also ranks tied for eighth on the circuit with 51 RBI. He went 1-4 on Saturday, extending his current hitting streak to seven games, a new season-high, and his longest streak since a career-long 10-game streak August 12-22, 2014, with Advanced Rookie Great Falls in which he hit .425 (17-40). Lechich is currently batting .267 (8-30) during this seven-game hitting streak.

Austin’s Powers: Kannapolis catcher Brett Austin smashed his fourth career home run and fourth this season, a two-out solo blast in Saturday’s second inning off Shane Watson. Austin last went yard June 30 against West Virginia off Colten Brewer in Kannapolis. Three of Austin’s four bombs have come on the road.

Kyle vs. Kannapolis: Lakewood first baseman Kyle Martin, the Phillies fourth round pick from the June 2015 First-Year Player Draft out of South Carolina, upped his average to .376 (41-109) with Saturday’s four-hit performance, the fifth different opponent to collect four hits in a game against the Intimidators. In four games against Kannapolis, Martin is batting .600 (9-15) with two doubles, a triple, and four RBI.

Adams Quality in Loss: Spencer Adams spun his fourth quality start of the season (6 IP or more, 3 ER or less) on Saturday in Lakewood. He gave up three runs in six innings but allowed a career-high-tying 10 hits, which was set in his previous start against the BlueClaws on May 16. Adams leads all South Atlantic League starters in lowest walks/9 IP ratio at 1.10 (10 BB-IBB/82.0 IP) and ranks ninth in the league with a 3.51 ERA.

Gone But Not Forgotten: Eddy Alvarez still ranks among SAL leaders after being promoted to the Winston-Salem Dash on Wednesday. He leads the league in walks (69), is tied for first in runs scored (64), ranks third in on-base percentage (.408), and ranks fourth in stolen bases (42).

Broadcast Information: This season, all 140 games will be broadcast live on the Kannapolis Intimidators Baseball Network at IntimidatorsBaseball.com and via TuneIn Radio App with the Josh Feldman, in his fifth season as the “Voice of the Intimidators,” and Nick Nollenberger, in his first year with the team.

Starting lineups 7/25/15: Intimidators at “BruceClaws”

Kannapolis Intimidators (15-13, 50-47)

#9 Hunter Jones CF
#10 Mason Robbins LF
#21 Louie Lechich RF
#23 Alexander Simon 1B
#11 Ryan Leonards DH
#20 Brett Austin C
#2 Toby Thomas SS
#5 John Ziznewski 3B
#18 Ethan Gross 2B
#12 Spencer Adams RHP (6-4, 3.43 ERA, 16th start)

Lakewood BruceClaws (17-11, 50-46)

#20 Herlis Rodriguez RF
#18 Scott Kingery 2B
#27 Kyle Martin 1B
#14 Damek Tomscha 3B
#17 Cord Sandberg LF
#23 Jiandido Tromp CF
#44 Jose Mayorga DH
#7 Joel Fisher C
#24 Emmanuel Marrero SS
#37 Shane Watson RHP (0-2, 6.17 ERA, fourth start)

Tune in to today’s pregame interview with the newest member of the Intimidators, Cody Daily, who was hitting .390 in the AZL before his Wednesday promotion to Kannapolis. We go live at 6:50 p.m. First pitch is at 7:05 p.m. from FirstEnergy Park in Lakewood, N.J.

PC/Droid: http://bit.ly/16WINds
iOS: http://bit.ly/ZqLOx9
TuneIn: http://bit.ly/1rouCcl

-JF
@BigTexJosh

Game Notes 7/25/15: Intimidators at “BruceClaws”

Kannapolis Intimidators (15-13, 50-47) at Lakewood “BruceClaws” (17-11, 50-46)
Satuday, July 25, 2015 – 7:05 p.m.
FirstEnergy Park – Lakewood, N.J.
Game #98 of 139
RHP Spencer Adams (6-4, 3.43) vs. RHP Shane Watson (0-2, 6.17)

Today’s Preview: The Intimidators (A, White Sox) bring a streak of seven consecutive road series wins into FirstEnergy Park for a four-game series against the BlueClaws (A, Phillies). This is the final series of the season between Kannapolis and Lakewood, and the BlueClaws – who will be playing today’s game as the “BruceClaws” in tribute to New Jersey’s Bruce Springsteen – lead the season-series over the Intimidators, 6-5. Lakewood won two of three games at Intimidators Stadium supported by Carolinas HealthCare System last week, and the two teams split a pair of four-game series in the first half.

Road Warriors: The Intimidators are 26-20 (.565) on the road, tied with 26-20 Hickory for the best road record in the SAL. Kannapolis has won seven consecutive road series coming into this four-game series in Lakewood. The Intimidators took three of four games in Hagerstown (May 28-31), two of three in Greenville (June 1-3), three of four in Delmarva (June 12-15), swept two games in Greensboro (June 20-21), won three of four in Augusta (July 4-7), three of five in Charleston (July 8-12), and two of three this week in Greensboro (July 22-24).

Spencer Adams pitchingIntimidating Starter: Spencer Adams, 20, makes his 16th start with Kannapolis and third against Lakewood. He is coming off five consecutive wins, including his Class A-Advanced Debut in his last outing July 19 against Lynchburg. Adams spun 6.0 scoreless innings with the Dash. The White Sox No. 3 prospect has won four straight South Atlantic League starts, including three on the road. If Adams earns a win today, he will be the first Intimidator to earn a win in five straight starts since Cameron Bayne won six straight starts July 27-Aug. 25, 2010. In the Second Half, Adams is 3-0 with a 1.11 ERA (3 ER/24.1 IP) in four starts between Kannapolis and Winston-Salem. Since he opened the season 0-2 with a 6.08 ERA in four April starts, Adams has gone 7-2 with a 2.87 ERA (20 ER/62.2 IP) in 16 starts with Kannapolis and Winston-Salem. The second round pick (44th overall) from the June 2014 First-Year Player Draft was named Best Athlete in the Sox 2014 draft class by Baseball America. He made his professional debut in 2014 with the AZL White Sox, going 3-3 with a 3.67 ERA (17 ER/41.2 IP) in 10 games (nine starts). He struck out 59 batters while walking just four in the Arizona League, including a career-high nine strikeouts in three different starts. The Cleveland, Ga., native graduated from White County High School.

BruceClaw on the Bump: Shane Watson, 21, makes his fourth start for Lakewood and sixth of the year after two starts with the GCL Phillies. The former first round pick missed the start of the 2015 season after serving a 50-game suspension for testing positive for a banned substance. The right-hander took a road loss at Rome in his last start on July 18, giving up five runs (four earned) on eight hits over four innings. This season, Watson is 0-2 with a 6.32 ERA (11 ER/15.2 IP), 15 strikeouts, and 13 walks in five games (five starts). Prior to missing the entire 2014 season, Watson – the 40th overall pick from the 2012 draft who was taken one pick after Joey Gallo – spent all of 2013 with the BlueClaws, going 4-6 with a 4.75 ERA in 16 starts. He faced Kannapolis April 6, 2013, giving up a run on two hits over 6.0 innings in a no decision, his lone start against a White Sox affiliate in his career. Watson attended Lakewood (Calif.) High School, the same school as Intimidators outfielder Hunter Jones.

About Last Night: Justin Twine hit a pair of two-run doubles to lead Greensboro to a 7-6 win over the Intimidators on Friday. Twine finished 3-3 with four RBI. Kannapolis trailed 7-4 going into the ninth and rallied for two runs in the final frame before Kelvin Rivas recorded the final two outs for the save (1). Hoppers’ Jorgan Cavanerio (2-4) earned the win, giving up four runs on eight hits over 6.0 innings. Connor Walsh (0-1) tossed a career-long 3.1 innings but gave up three runs on three hits with five strikeouts and a walk while taking the loss. Alexander Simon went 2-5 with a home run and two RBI.

Alexander The Great: First baseman Alexander Simon has hit home runs in his last two games, opening the scoring with a two-run home run on Thursday and blasted a solo home run Friday. He now has three home runs this season, and all are go-ahead bombs. Simon is the fourth Intimidator to hit home runs in consecutive games, joining James Baldwin (April 22-23), Chris Curley (April 29-30), and Louie Lechich (May 6-7).

Wring ‘Em Up: One day after the Intimidators struck out a season-high 15 batters Thursday in Greensboro, Kannapolis pitchers fanned 13 more batters on Friday. The I’s previous team-high was 12 strikeouts, which the team reached five times in 2015, most recently June 5 at Delmarva.

A Bullish Pen: The Kannapolis bullpen combined to work 9.0 innings Thursday, allowing one run on four hits with eight strikeouts and two walks. Jose Brito gave up a run over 2.0 innings in the seventh and eighth. David Trexler tossed 3.0 scoreless innings to get Kannapolis through the 11th, striking out three. Jacob Morris matched his career-high with 3.0 scoreless, hitless innings to earn the win, and Brad Salgado worked around two hits in a scoreless 15th for the save (4).

More J-Mo: Jacob Morris matched his career-high with 3.0 scoreless innings, equaling an effort from July 9 at Charleston. He ranks second among SAL relievers in average (.157). Morris has not allowed a run in his last 11.0 innings, spanning five outings. He has allowed no runs in 13 of his last 15 relief appearances. Morris is now 1-0 with a 1.84 ERA in seven Second Half games.

Going Long: The Intimidators played their longest game of the season on Thursday, taking four hours, 39 minutes to beat the Grasshoppers in 15 innings. The team’s previous long game for innings and time came April 10 in Lakewood, a 12-inning game lasting three hours, 50 minutes.

Broadcast Information: This season, all 140 games will be broadcast live on the Kannapolis Intimidators Baseball Network at IntimidatorsBaseball.com and via TuneIn Radio App with the Josh Feldman, in his fifth season as the “Voice of the Intimidators,” and Nick Nollenberger, in his first year with the team.

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