Going Long: A look at the longest games of 2014

Last night, Kannapolis played 13 innings against the Hagerstown Suns.  Here’s a look at how that game stacks up against some of the other long games of this season:

Longest Games of 2014 (innings):

15 innings – July 12 vs. Asheville (L, 5-7), TOG: 5:11
14 innings – April 13 at Greenville (L, 4-5), TOG: 4:24
13 innings – June 7 at Asheville (L, 5-7), TOG: 3:54
13 innings – July 24 at Hagerstown (L, 4-5), TOG: 3:44
12 innings – April 16 at Hickory (W, 4-3), TOG: 3:35
11 innings – May 12 at Hagerstown (L, 1-2), TOG: 3:00
10 innings – 3x: (1) April 10 at Greenville (L, 6-7), TOG: 3:28; (2) May 11 at Hagerstown, Game 2 of DH (L, 2-3), TOG: 2:30; (3) May 18 vs. Hickory (W, 6-5), TOG: 3:18

Longest Games of 2014 (Time of Game):

5:11 – July 12 vs. Asheville (L, 5-7), 15 innings
4:24 - April 13 at Greenville (L, 4-5), 14 innings
3:54 – July 7 at Asheville (L, 5-7), 13 innings
3:45 – June 19 at Charleston (L, 7-10)
3:44 – July 24 at Hagerstown (L, 4-5), 13 innings
3:35 – April 16 at Hickory (W, 4-3), 12 innings
3:34 – June 29 vs. Charleston (W, 7-3)
3:28 – April 10 at Greenville (L, 6-7), 10 innings
3:23 – June 21 at Charleston (W, 6-5)
3:21 – April 21 at West Virginia (W, 11-4)

Tonight is the series finale and get-away day with a bus ride to Lakewood following the final out.  Personally I enjoy extra-innings because of the heightened importance of every pitch, every base-runners.  It’s the fan in me, I suppose.  It’s great baseball, but from a staff standpoint, you’re dragging a little after working all day and continuing to work an extra hour or two.  I suppose for those with “real jobs” its like your boss telling you, “hey, by the way, I need you to stay late today” after you’ve put in a full day’s work.  Then again, give me a full day of work in baseball instead of one of those “real jobs” I speak of.  And no, I don’t know what those “real jobs” are.  I assume it’s a little like what I do in the offseason.

Here’s to a 2-1 win in 2:07 on get-away day! Keep your fingers crossed for us.

-JF
@BigTexJosh

Game Notes 7/25/14: Going long, Electric Engel, and Game-Tying T.J.

KANNAPOLIS INTIMIDATORS at HAGERSTOWN SUNS
47-53, 18-15 (Chicago White Sox)        66-38, 22-12 (Washington Nationals)
Friday, July 25, 2014 – 7:05 p.m.
Municipal Stadium – Hagerstown, Md.
2nd Half Game #34 (101 of 137)
LH Andre Wheeler (1-2, 3.27) vs. RH Lucas Giolito (5-2, 2.54)

Today’s Preview: The Intimidators (A, White Sox) and Suns (A, Nationals) play the series rubber match on Friday after Kannapolis took the series opener on Wendesday and Hagerstown won a 13-inning marathon on Thursday the split the first two games. Southpaw Andre Wheeler makes his third start against Hagerstown with fellow lefty Jordan Guerrero expected to piggy-back the start. The Suns will counter with Washington’s top prospect Lucas Giolito, who makes his second start against Kannapolis in a rematch of a May 11 game in which he faced off against Wheeler.

Sally League Standings: Kannapolis (18-15) slipped into fourth in the SAL Northern Division 2nd Half Standings with Thursday’s loss, falling 3.5 games back Greensboro and Hagerstown (both 22-12), which are tied atop the division. Hickory (19-15) moved into third ahead of Kannapolis.

Intimidating Starter: Andre Wheeler, 22, makes his 11th start and 22nd appearance when he faces the Suns for the fourth time this season and his third start against Hagerstown. He has not taken a decision against Hagerstown, posting a 4.09 ERA (5 ER/11 IP) in three games. The former Texas Tech Red Raider has not allowed an earned run in his last two outings (6.0 IP). He struck out a career-high nine batters over just 4.0 innings in his last start on July 12 against Asheville. Wheeler last earned a win on July 1, tossing 5.0 innings against Delmarva, allowing two runs (one earned) on four hits. He is 1-2 with a 3.71 ERA (18 ER/43.2 IP) in 10 starts compared to 0-0 with a 2.42 ERA in 11 relief appearances. Much like how he struggled in April and flourished in May, Wheeler saw his ERA spike to 5.40 in June but he’s 1-2 with a 2.08 ERA in four games (two starts) in July. The White Sox selected Wheeler in the 15th round of last June’s draft, and he pitched nine games with Bristol before joining Kannapolis in late July 2013.

Hagerstown Hurler: Nationals top prospect Lucas Giolito, who turned 20 last week, makes his 16th start of the season and second against Kannapolis. Washington’s top pick in the June 2012 First-Year Player Draft (16th overall) pitched the MLB All-Star Futures Game for the U.S. team. He would rank third in the SAL with a 2.54 ERA but he is just over 10 innings shy of qualifying (71 IP). In his lone start against the Intimidators, Giolito tossed 6.0 scoreless innings of 1-hit baseball and striking out a then-season-high seven batters in a no decision. The former Harvard-Westlake High School stand out from Santa Monica, Calif., has won three of his last four games, however his 3.31 ERA in July is the highest of any month this season. Giolito, who committed to UCLA before signing with the Nationals, opened the season going 2-1 with a 2.03 ERA in 10 First Half starts. He is now 3-1 with a 3.38 ERA in five starts in the second half. The Nationals drafted Giolito despite a looming need to have “Tommy John” surgery, which he underwent in 2012 after one appearance in his professional debut with the GCL Nationals. Last season, he went 1-1 with a 2.78 ERA in eight starts in the GCL before joining Short-A Auburn Doubledays, where he went 1-0 with a 0.64 ERA in three starts.

About Last Night: Hagerstown 3B John Wooten drove in four of the Suns’ five runs, including the game winner with a base hit in the bottom of the 13th inning to drop the Intimidators, 5-4, on Thursday. Wooten, who finished the game 2-4 with a pair of sac-flies and a pair of run-scoring hits, drove a Brad Salgado offering to right-center field with one out in the bottom of the 13th to score Narciso Mesa from third base.  Mesa and Wilmer Difo led off the 13th with base hits to set up the winning run.  Salgado (2-1) worked three scoreless relief innings in the 10th, 11th, and 12th before giving up the winning run with one out in the 13th and suffering his first loss with Kannapolis this season.  Andrew Cooper (7-2), the fifth Suns pitcher who faced only the final batter of the top of the 13th, logged the win. With the Suns up 4-3 since the fifth inning, T.J. Williams tied the game in the top of the eighth with a 1-out solo home run (7), eventually forcing extra innings.

Extra! Extra!: The Intimidators dropped Thursday’s extra-inning affair in 13 frames, 5-4, to Hagerstown. Kannapolis is now 2-9 in extra-inning games this season, including a 1-7 mark on the road and 0-3 against Hagerstown. The Suns and Intimidators played a 10-inning game (in the second game of a doubleheader on May 11) that Hagerstown claimed, 3-2, and the Suns claimed a 2-1 win in 11 innings the next day on May 12. Additionally, Kannapolis is now 7-15 in games decided in the final at-bats, including three walk-off losses to Hagerstown – all in extra-innings.

Go Long: Thursday night’s 13-inning game lasted 3 hours and 44 minutes, the fifth longest game of the season for the Intimidators by time. It was the fourth time this season Kannapolis played at least 13 innings and the first since July 12 when the Intimidators played their longest game of 2014, a 15-inning marathon against Asheville that lasted 5 hours and 11 minutes in a 7-5 loss to the Tourists. The only non-extra-inning game longer than last night’s contest that Kannapolis has played this season came June 19 at Charleston, a 10-7 loss to the RiverDogs that lasted 3 hours and 45 miunutes.

Electric Engel: Adam Engel collected two more hits on Thursday, extending his hitting streak to a career-best 11 games by going 2-5 with a double. He is batting .380 (19-50) in his last 11 games since July 11. Engel is the fourth Intimidators player with a double-digit hitting streak this season and first since Brett Austin hit safely in 10 straight games from June 24-July 8. Engel’s previous career-long hitting streak was nine games last season with Advanced Rookie Great Falls.

Morris On The Mark: Jacob Morris waited until the 10th inning but extended his own hitting streak to a season-best seven games on Thursday, going 1-6 with an extra-inning base knock. Morris is batting .433 (13-30) with five doubles, a home run, and three RBI during the stretch (since July 16) and two games shy of equaling his career-long hitting streak of nine games with Great Falls where he hit .457 (16-35) from August 3-11, 2013.

I’m Coming Home: Ben Brewster tossed 3.0 scoreless frames in his return to Maryland. The left-hander took over in the seventh and faced the minimum nine batters over three innings, giving up a single but rolling the runner into a double play in the seventh. He struck out three batters to match a career high. The White Sox selected Brewster, a Baltimore native, in the 15th round of the June 2014 First-Year Player Draft out of the University of Maryland.

Game-Tying T.J.: First baseman T.J. Williams has had a knack for coming up with a crucial home run for the Intimidators, including last night’s game-tying blast in the eighth inning, his seventh of the season. In addition to Williams’ walk-off home run on June 28 to beat Charleston, he now has three of the team’s six game-tying home runs in 2014. Kannapolis is 5-2 when he homers.

Road Broadcasts: This week’s games in Hagerstown and Lakewood will be broadcast on the Kannapolis Intimidators Baseball Network available at IntimidatorsBaseball.com & on the TuneIn Radio App with Josh Feldman, now in his fourth season as the Voice of the Intimidators.

Hello from Hagerstown, and the team discovers the lineup rap

Hagerstown's Municipal Stadium.

Hagerstown’s Municipal Stadium.

The Intimidators are at Municipal Stadium in Hagerstown, Maryland, which has a quirkiness about it that is hard to state without possibly coming off as negative. One thing I will say, is it does give off the feel of some of the press boxes that I worked in during my day in the Independent Golden Baseball League.  That’s not a bad thing.  It’s just a different thing.

The press box is wide open, and everyone’s work blends together.  It’s a hodgepodge of promotions, broadcasts, official scoring, and more. Players aren’t fans of the cramped clubhouse quarters, but they did fix the air conditioning, which was a concern after the Shorebirds came to Kannapolis in early July complaining of the sauna-like conditions.

Today, Suns media relations man Eli Pearlstein tells me that the home clubhouse had a fruit fly problem.  An exterminator came to spray, and now the fruit flies have migrated into the Suns front office.

Could be worse.  Could be Yuma, Arizona — similar conditions with much hotter temperatures.  And replace “fruit flies” with “scorpions hiding in your shoes” for a more accurate description.  Seriously, in Yuma, we were instructed to check our shoes before putting them on to make sure a venomous scorpion wasn’t waiting to ambush your toes.

The scoreboard in Hagerstown.

The scoreboard in Hagerstown.

The scoreboard above the wall in left-center field is purple because, according to the GM, they bought it a few years ago from TCU.  Perhaps that’s why Jason Coats played so well here last year, or why Andrew Mitchell should have a good series.

Enough “oh look at the butterfly” writing, though.  There’s plenty to go over — specifically what happened on the bus ride up to Hagerstown.

As some of you know and others on Monday found out, each year on Camp Day, I rap the Intimidators starting lineup.  It’s something I’ve done long since before I got the job in Kannapolis.  In fact, I’ve been Minor League Baseball’s poor man’s version of Weird Al since 2009 when I first did a lineup rap with the Long Beach Armada.  In a weird six-degress-of-separation way, former Intimidator Kris Honel was on that Long Beach team.  That was when I was an on-field host for home games and road broadcaster.  I think I might have done a lineup rap that year on a broadcast, but I definitely did it live on fan appreciation day in front of the fans at Blair Field.

The next year, with the Orange County Flyers, with the team playing a day game in Calgary, I got bored during a long road trip (something like 18 games in 25 days to open the season).  Going back and listening to this brings back plenty of memories about guys on the team.  Anyway, let me share it with you:

**2010 Orange County Flyers lineup rap** (sorry, couldn’t figure out how to embed this player … my pre-soundcloud days)

Perhaps my favorite line is “Eighth in the order and calling all the pitches, Jim Goethels picks up a lot of … foul balls.”

In 2011, on a Camp Day in Kannapolis against the Lakewood BlueClaws, I did it again.  As you can hear, with the same “Still Dre” instrumental beat in the background, I didn’t feel quite comfortable in getting out of my comfort zone.

The 2012 lineup rap is probably my favorite I’ve done (seriously, something about Still Dre). Favorite line from that year’s rap: “So gather ’round the channel, Felds has the call. We got 2,000 campers all wanting foul balls.” Here’s that version:

In 2013, I changed it up and went with Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” as the base for presenting the starting lineup. Favorite line for this one: “we got cloudy skies and a chance of rain, but the gates are open, so please come to the game.”

I present those to you so you can hear them but also so I can express this one other sentiment before I get to the bus trip to Hagerstown. I’ve been doing this for years. It’s been a joke among my fellow broadcast friends and colleagues in Minor League Baseball that I’ll rap the lineup once a year. It’s not a big deal. It’s just something fun and a little stupid that frankly I like to do because it’s different. And in the years I’ve been doing this, with the exception of the first time I rapped the lineup on the field in Long Beach on Fan Appreciation Day in 2009, I have never known of a team to hear it or hear about it.

Fast forward to this year. I did the lineup rap on Monday during my pregame show before the game against the BlueClaws was officially rained out. I then, as I’ve done the last few years, posted it online. That was the end of it.

One day later, I’m on a bus heading up to Hagerstown. The team stops for dinner. We all get back on the bus, and manager Pete Rose Jr. calls for our bus driver — Cap’n Dave — to turn on the microphone. Pete then makes the following announcement announcement: “Hey guys, I’ve got something important to share with you. Maybe some of you have heard this, but for those of you that haven’t, listen up.”

The next thing I heard was this:

All the guys screamed “K-TOWN LINEUP!” as soon as it got started. Here was the inside joke now being played on the bus. If this doesn’t merit a max fine in Kangaroo Court, there’s probably nothing I can do to get maxed. For the most part, the guys seemed impressed with their goofy broadcaster putting the starting lineup into a rap set to “Turn Down For What.” The only guy who seemed rubbed the wrong way was T.J. Williams. Admittedly I probably could’ve come up with something more positive, but this was thrown together between 11:20-11:30am with the pre-game show starting at 11:50am while I was trying to be ready for tarp pulls.

Favorite line from this most recent rap, aside from the refrain of “K-TOWN LINEUP,” has got to be “We’ll go 1 thru 9 and the guy who throws. It’s the K-town lineup from the son of Pete Rose.”

Don’t know if I’ll do it again next year (probably), but I’ll definitely hear footsteps before going on the middle now that I’ve seen a team get it’s hard on the audio. Granted, I posted it online (what did I think was going to happen?). This is why people shouldn’t take compromising digital photos. Nothing good will come from that. Not that anything good has come from this, except for the fact that maybe now I’ll play the whole beat with me yelling “K-TOWN LINEUP” while Sean Fox, our PA announcer, reads the starting line up at home games the rest of the season.

As if GM Randy Long needs any other reason to get annoyed with me.

That’s it from Hagerstown. Time to head down to the clubhouse, get the lineups, and prep for today’s broadcast. Thanks for reading.

- JF
@BigTexJosh

Game Notes 7/24/14: Brennan’s been better, Engel still electric, and Morris making noise

KANNAPOLIS INTIMIDATORS at HAGERSTOWN SUNS
47-52, 18-14 (Chicago White Sox)         65-38, 21-12 (Washington Nationals)
Thursday, July 24, 2014 – 7:05 p.m.
Municipal Stadium – Hagerstown, Md.
2nd Half Game #33 (100 of 137)
RH Thad Lowry (4-4, 4.14) vs. RH Jake Johansen (5-5, 5.00)

Today’s Preview: The Intimidators (A, White Sox) have won three straight games and can clinch a series win over the Suns (A, Nationals) by taking the second of three games in Hagerstown on Thursday at Municipal Stadium. Kannapolis, which opened the series with a 6-2 win, sends right-hander Thad Lowry to the mound for his second start since returning from the Disabled List. He will face Nationals prospect Jake Johansen, who faces Kannapolis for the third time this season.

Sally League Standings: Kannapolis (18-14) has won four of its last five games to move into third place, 2.5 games back Greensboro and Hagerstown, which are tied atop the division at 21-12.

The White Sox selected Thad Lowry in the fifth round of the June 2013 First-Year Player Draft.

The White Sox selected Thad Lowry in the fifth round of the June 2013 First-Year Player Draft.

Intimidating Starter: Thad Lowry, 19, makes his second start since returning from the Disabled List. He is coming off 5.0 scoreless innings at Augusta on July 17 in which he opened with four hitless innings before allowing a leadoff single in the fifth inning in a no decision. Lowry opened his season 0-3 with a 7.59 ERA in three starts in May but opened a strong stretch with a complete game no-hitter in a rain-shortened 5-inning contest at West Virginia on June 3. It was the first complete game no-hitter for Kannapolis since June 10, 2003, when Brian Miller no-hit the Greensboro Grasshoppers. In June and July, Lowry is 4-1 with a 3.30 ERA (16 ER/43.2 IP) in eight starts. The White Sox selected Lowry in the fifth round of the June 2013 draft, and he went 3-5 with a 5.48 ERA in 15 games (7 starts).

Hagerstown Hurler: Jake Johansen, 23, makes his 18th start of 2014 and his fourth career start against Kannapolis. The Allen, Texas, native is coming off consecutive road losses to Lexington and Delmarva. He is three starts removed from his last win, working a career-long 6.2 innings and allowing a run on five hits to beat the BlueClaws on July 8. In three career starts against the Intimidators, Johansen is 0-2 with a 3.68 ERA (6 ER/14.2 IP). He dropped his most recent start to Kannapolis, working 5.0 innings and allowing three runs on three hits with three walks and six strikeouts at CMC-NorthEast Stadium on May 31 in the first game of a doubleheader. The Nats drafted Johansen in the second round of the June 2013 First-Year Player Draft out of Dallas Baptist University. During his pro debut in 2013, he went 1-1 with a 1.06 ERA in 10 games (10 starts) with Short-A Auburn before earning a promotion to Hagerstown to make two starts in the SAL at the end of the season. He is MLB.com’s No. 12 Prospect in the Nationals system.

Last Time Out: Brandon Brennan tossed 5.2 innings to dim the Suns in a 6-2 win on Wednesday, allowing a run on three hits to earn his first win since rejoining Kannapolis. Adam Engel led off the game with a home run (6), and Danny Hayes added a home run (8) of his own in the fifth to lead the Intimidators offense. Jacob Morris went 3-4 with two doubles and two runs scored. The Intimidators enjoyed strong relief outings from Tyler Barnette and Jose Brito to secure the win.

Adam Engel has hit safely in a career-best 10 straight games since July 11.

Adam Engel has hit safely in a career-best 10 straight games since July 11.

Electric Engel: Adam Engel extended his hitting streak to a career-best 10 games by going 2-5 with a home run, two RBI and a run scored on Wednesday. He is batting .378 (17-45) in his last 10 games since July 11. Engel is the fourth Intimidators player with a double-digit hitting streak this season and first since Brett Austin hit safely in 10 straight games from June 24-July 8. Engel joins Austin, Trey Michalczewski (17 games) and Omar Narvaez (10 games) with 10-game hitting streaks. Engel’s previous career-long hitting streak was nine games last season with Great Falls.

Morris On The Mark: Jacob Morris extended his own hitting streak to a season-best six games on Wednesday, going 3-4 with two doubles and two runs scored. Morris is now batting .500 (12-24) with five doubles, a home run, and three RBI during the stretch (since July 16). His career-long hitting streak of nine games came August 3-11, 2013, with Great Falls (.457, going 16-35).

Brandon Brennan was selected by the White Sox in the fourth round in the June 2012 First-Year Player Draft.

Brandon Brennan was selected by the White Sox in the fourth round in the June 2012 First-Year Player Draft.

Brennan Better: Brandon Brennan continued to show great progress in his return from an elbow injury that cut short his 2013 season. In his last five starts in the South Atlantic League, including his final three starts of 2013 and first two games with Kannapolis this year, Brennan is now 3-0 with a 0.87 ERA (3 ER/31.0) dating back to last June. This season, he is 1-0 with a 1.54 ERA in two starts for Kannapolis since rejoining the team on July 15 from Advanced Rookie Great Falls.

Homerin’ Hayes: Danny Hayes hit his eighth home run of the season on Wednesday, going 1-4 with his SAL-leading 56th walk against the Suns. He leads the Intimidators and ranks fifth in the league with a .403 on-base percentage to go along with a team-best .301 (101-335 average).

Road Broadcasts: This week’s games in Hagerstown and Lakewood will be broadcast on the Kannapolis Intimidators Baseball Network available at IntimidatorsBaseball.com & on the TuneIn Radio App with Josh Feldman, now in his fourth season as the Voice of the Intimidators.

Game Notes 7/23/14: Back to Hagerstown, Brennan on the bump, and Savvy Salgado

KANNAPOLIS INTIMIDATORS at HAGERSTOWN SUNS
46-52, 17-14 (Chicago White Sox)      65-37, 21-11 (Washington Nationals)
Wednesday, July 23, 2014 – 7:05 p.m.
Municipal Stadium – Hagerstown, Md.
2nd Half Game #32 (99 of 137)
RH Brandon Brennan (0-0, 1.50) vs. RH Nick Pivetta (11-5, 3.87)

Today’s Preview: The Intimidators (A, White Sox) open the second of three second-half series at Hagerstown when the play the first game of a 3-game series against the Suns (A, Nationals) on Wednesday at Municipal Stadium. Kannapolis has won three of its last four games, including a series win over the BlueClaws, while Hagerstown has pulled into a tie for first with Greensboro by winning four of their last five and 13 of their last 19 games.

Sally League Standings: Kannapolis (17-14) has won three of its last four games to move up into third place, 3.5 games back Greensboro and Hagerstown, which are tied atop the division.

Intimidators Starter: Brandon Brennan, who turns 23 later this week, makes his second start for the Intimidators since rejoining the team from Great Falls on July 15. The San Juan Capistrano, Calif., native tossed 6.0 innings of 1-hit ball in his return to the South Atlantic League in a no decision at Augusta on July 16. An elbow injury ended Brennan’s 2013 season after 15 starts with Kannapolis in which he went 4-9 with a 5.53 ERA (50 ER/81.1 IP), however, the progress Brennan made during the season spoke for itself. After opening the season 1-8 with a 7.88 ERA (42 ER/ 48 IP) in 10 starts over April and May, the Orange Coast College standout went 3-1 with a 2.16 ERA (8 ER/33.1 IP) in five starts in June. This year, he went 1-1 with a 3.20 ERA in five starts for Great Falls. The White Sox selected Brennan in the fourth round of the June 2012 First-Year Player Draft out of Orange Coast where he was 11-1 with a 1.25 ERA.

Hagerstown Hurler: Nick Pivetta, 21, makes his 18th start of the season and second against the Intimidators. He is tied for the SAL lead with 11 wins but took a loss to Kannapolis on July 6 by allowing career-highs with eight runs and nine hits over 3.1 innings in Hagerstown. This month, Pivetta is 1-2 with a 4.98 ERA in four starts, his lowest win total and highest ERA of any month this season. He is coming off a no decision against West Virginia and is two starts removed from tossing 6.0 scoreless innings and matching a career-high with seven strikeouts in a road win at Lexington on July 11. He spent split last season with the GCL Nationals & Short-Season Auburn, going a combined 1-1 with a 2.91 ERA in nine games (eight starts). The Nationals drafted Pivetta in the fourth round of the June 2013 First-Year Player Draft out of New Mexico Junior College. Pivetta, a native of Victoria, British Columbia, was born on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 14, 1993.

Last Time Out: Kannapolis and Lakewood were rained out on Monday afternoon in Kannapolis, cutting the series short. The game has been rescheduled for Sunday when the Intimidators visit FirstEnergy Park. The teams will play a doubleheader on Sunday beginning at 3 p.m.

Savvy Salgado: Brad Salgado earned his second relief win of the season by retiring the final 10 batters of Sunday’s game against Lakewood. He took over with two outs in the sixth and tossed 3 and 1/3 perfect relief innings to help Kannapolis hold a 1-run lead in a 7-6 win over the ‘Claws. The position-player-turned-pitcher is in his second season on the mound after converting prior to the 2013 season. Since his promotion to Kannapolis on June 30, Salgado is 2-0 with a 1.54 ERA (2 ER/11.2 IP) in five games, with both runs allowed coming July 12 against Asheville, giving him four scoreless outings in five games on the mound.

Electric Engel: Adam Engel extended his hitting streak to a season-best nine games by going 2-5 Sunday with two runs scored. He is now batting .375 (15-40) in his last nine games since July 11. On Saturday, Engel recorded a season-high 4 hits on Saturday, tying his career-high. He was 4-5 with a double, triple, RBI and three runs scored. Engel has stolen bases in consecutive games and leads Kannapolis with 24.

Turn of the Century: Danny Hayes went 2-4 on Sunday for his 99th and 100th hits of the season to raise his team-leading average to .302 (100-331) and on-base percentage to .403, which ranks fifth in the SAL. Hayes leads the circuit with 55 walks. The White Sox 13th round pick in the June 2013 draft, Hayes is just the 11th Sally Leaguer to reach the 100-hit plateau this season.

Hot-Hitting Suns: Hagerstown’s Wilmer Difo leads the SAL with 127 hits and 416 at-bats, batting .305 in a league-leading 101 games. He ranks second in the league with 32 stolen bases, 68 runs scored, and 185 total bases. Isaac Ballou leads the SAL with 72 runs scored and ranks second with 98 games played. Rafael Bautista leads the SAL with 53 stolen bases, second in the Minors.

Road Broadcasts: This week’s games in Hagerstown and Lakewood will be broadcast on the Kannapolis Intimidators Baseball Network available at IntimidatorsBaseball.com & on the TuneIn Radio App with Josh Feldman, now in his fourth season as the Voice of the Intimidators.

Game Notes 7/21/14: Brennan back on the bump in Kannapolis

KANNAPOLIS INTIMIDATORS vs. LAKEWOOD BLUECLAWS
46-52, 17-14 (Chicago White Sox)      38-62, 11-20 (Philadelphia Phillies)
Monday, July 21, 2014 – 12:05 p.m.
CMC-NorthEast Stadium – Kannapolis, N.C.
2nd Half Game #32 (99 of 137)
RH Brandon Brennan (0-0, 1.50) vs. LH Yoel Mecias (1-0, 0.00)

Today’s Preview:The Intimidators (A, White Sox) play for a third straight win and a series victory over the BlueClaws (A, Phillies) in a 12:05 p.m. game at CMC-NorthEast Stadium. Kannapolis welcomes back Brandon Brennan to CMC-NorthEast Stadium as he makes his first start in Kannapolis since a injury cut short his 2013 campaign. Also fresh into a return to the South Atlantic League, Lakewood’s Yoel Mecias – a BlueClaws starter for the first half of last season – makes his second start since rejoining the club.

Sally League Standings: Kannapolis (17-14) has won three of its last four games to take sole possession in third place, 4.0 games back of first place Greensboro (21-10) in the Northern Division Second Half.

Intimidators Starter: Brandon Brennan, who turns 23 later this week, makes his second start for the Intimidators since rejoining the team from Great Falls on July 15. The San Juan Capistrano, Calif., native tossed 6.0 innings of 1-hit ball in his return to the South Atlantic League in a no decision at Augusta on July 16. An elbow injury ended Brennan’s 2013 season after 15 starts with Kannapolis in which he went 4-9 with a 5.53 ERA (50 ER/81.1 IP), however, the progress Brennan made during the season spoke for itself. After opening the season 1-8 with a 7.88 ERA (42 ER/ 48 IP) in 10 starts over April and May, the Orange Coast College standout went 3-1 with a 2.16 ERA (8 ER/33.1 IP) in five starts in June. This year, he went 1-1 with a 3.20 ERA in five starts for Great Falls. The White Sox selected Brennan in the fourth round of the June 2012 First-Year Player Draft out of Orange Coast where he was 11-1 with a 1.25 ERA.

BlueClaw on the Bump:Yoel Mecias, 20, makes his second start since returning to Lakewood and his sixth of the season after returning to the mound with the GCL Phillies in late June. Mecias, who pitched for the BlueClaws to open the 2013 campaign, made four starts in the GCL this season, going 0-1 with a 4.76 ERA before returning to the Sally League with 5.0 scoreless innings in a road win at Hickory on July 15. Last year with Lakewood, Mecias went 4-3 with a 3.79 ERA with one save in one opportunity over 13 games (11 starts). He struck out 70 batters over 57.0 IP before seeing his season end after at June 22 start at West Virginia. This is Mecias’ first appearance against Kannapolis.

Last Time Out:Brad Salgado retired the final 10 batters of the game as Kannapolis beat Lakewood, 7-6, on Sunday.  Salgado (2-0) took over with two outs in the sixth inning and tossed 3 and 1/3 perfect frames to finish the game, striking out two batters, to earn the win.  Kannapolis, which twice came from behind to tie the game, eventually pulled ahead in the seventh inning on Danny Hayes’ 100th hit of the season, a dribbler in front of home plate that allowed Adam Engel to score the tying run, 6-6.  Jacob Morris followed with an RBI-groundout to cash Christian Stringer for a 7-6 lead. Kannapolis scored two runs in the fifth, sixth, and seventh innings to batter the BlueClaws.  Lakewood led 3-1 entering the bottom of the fifth when Nolan Earley led off the frame with a triple.  Earley scored on a Ryan Leonards grounder, and Leonards later scored on a Stringer grounder to tie the game, 3-3.  After Lakewood took a 6-3 lead with three more runs off Jeff McKenzie in the top of the sixth, who allowed six runs on 12 hits over 5 and 2/3 innings in a no decision. Earley, who finished 3-4 and a home run shy of the cycle, added a 2-run double in the sixth to pull Kannapolis within a run.  Lakewood reliever Joey DeNato (1-1) took the loss, allowing an inherited runner to score in the seventh before giving up his own run.  He tossed 2.0 innings, allowing a run on four hits.

Electric Engel: Adam Engel extended his hitting streak to a season-best nine games by going 2-5 Sunday with two runs scored. He is now batting .375 (15-40) in his last nine games since July 11. On Saturday, Engel recorded a season-high 4 hits on Saturday, tying his career-high. He was 4-5 with a double, triple, RBI and three runs scored. Engel has stolen bases in consecutive games and leads Kannapolis with 24.

Turn of the Century: Danny Hayes went 2-4 on Sunday for his 99th and 100th hits of the season to raise his team-leading average to .302 (100-331) and on-base percentage to .403, which ranks fifth in the SAL. Hayes leads the circuit with 55 walks. The White Sox 13th round pick in the June 2013 draft, Hayes is just the 11th Sally Leaguer to reach the 100-hit plateau this season.

Broadcast: This season, all 70 home games and select road games are broadcast on the Kannapolis Intimidators Baseball Network available at IntimidatorsBaseball.com & on the TuneIn Radio App with Josh Feldman, now in his fourth season with the team.

Game Notes 7/20/14: Electric Engel, Danny draws walks, Williams wallops, and McKenzie to the mound

KANNAPOLIS INTIMIDATORS vs. LAKEWOOD BLUECLAWS
45-52, 16-14 (Chicago White Sox)        38-61, 11-19 (Philadelphia Phillies)
Sunday, July 20, 2014 – 5:05 p.m.
CMC-NorthEast Stadium – Kannapolis, N.C.
2nd Half Game #31 (98 of 137)
LH Jeff McKenzie (1-2, 3.80) vs. RH Tyler Viza (3-13, 5.17)

Today’s Preview:The Intimidators (A, White Sox) look for a leg up in this series when they host the BlueClaws (A, Phillies) in Game 3 of this 4-game series. Kannapolis is coming off an 8-4 win on Saturday to even the series at a game apiece thanks to a 13-hit performance. Jeff McKenzie carries a streak of nine scoreless innings into today’s start, dating back to a July 9 loss at Greensboro. The lefty will duel Lakewood’s Tyler Viza, who worked 4.0 innings against Kannapolis in the fogged out game May 9.

Sally League Standings: Saturday’s win, along with Delmarva and Hickory losses, pulled Kannapolis (16-14) into a tie for third place with the Shorebirds and Crawdads in the SAL Northern Division second half standings, 4.0 games back of first place Greensboro. Lakewood (11-19) is last in the 7-team division, 9.0 games behind the Grasshoppers.

Intimidators Starter: Jeff McKenzie, 23, makes his fifth start for the Intimidators and first against a Phillies affiliate. He is coming off 6.0 scoreless innings in a no decision at Augusta on July 15, an eventual 12-inning loss, 7-6, for Kannapolis. McKenzie made two starts with Advanced Rookie Great Falls to open this season, going 1-0 with a 1.54 ERA before earning a promotion to Kannapolis on June 25. In six starts this season between the Voyagers and the Intimidators, he is 2-2 with a 3.30 (11 ER/33.0 IP). McKenzie worked a career-long 7.0 innings on July 9, allowing two runs on seven hits in a loss to the Grasshoppers. He made his professional debut in 2013, working in the Voyagers bullpen and going 4-0 with a 1.44 ERA (4 ER/25 IP) in 16 games, converting all six save chances. The White Sox drafted McKenzie in the 28th round of the June 2013 First-Year Player Draft out of Cal State Bakersfield, where he was college teammates with Intimidators infielder Tyler Shryock. McKenzie was named Western Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Year and became CSU Bakersfield’s first All-American baseball player by going 13-2 with a 1.88 ERA (24 ER/114.2 IP), six complete games (four shutouts) and 88 strikeouts in 2013.

BlueClaw on the Bump:Tyler Viza, 19, makes his 19th start of the season. He faced the Intimidators on May 9, pitching 4.0 scoreless innings in the fogged-out game. Because the game was cancelled, all stats from that night do not count. Since that outing, Viza has lost 11 of 12 starts and now leads the South Atlantic League with 13 losses. He suffered losses in nine straight starts from May 14 to June 28 and has taken a decision in each of his last 12 starts. He is winless on the road, going 0-7 with a 5.62 ERA in eight starts compared to a 3-6 record and 4.83 ERA in 10 starts at FirstEnergy Park. Viza is making his professional debut this season after the Phillies drafted him in the 32nd round of the June 2013 First-Year Player Draft out of Desert Vista High School in Phoenix, Ariz.

Last Time Out:Danny Hayes drove in three runs, and the Intimidators battled through early rain to beat the BlueClaws, 8-4, on Saturday. Hayes drove in three runs with three hits in each of his first three at-bats.  He finished 3-for-3 with a triple and two walks. Matt Abramson (1-5) earned his first win of the season, tossing 3.0 relief innings and allowing two runs on three hits with three walks and a strikeout.  Dylan Chavez tossed a scoreless eighth and ninth for his second career save (2). Kannapolis built an early 3-0 lead through the first  three innings thanks to a pair of Hayes RBI-hits and a T.J. Williams home run (6).  With rain falling, the BlueClaws overcame a 3-run deficit with two runs in the fourth and two more in the fifth to take a 4-3 lead. Kannapolis rallied in bottom of the fifth as Engel led off with a double and Stringer drove him in to tie the game, 4-4.  Two batters later, Hayes cashed Stringer for a 5-4 lead.  Engel, Stringer and Jacob Morris each drove in a run in a 3-run eighth to add insurance against the BlueClaws. Will Morris (1-2) took the loss, allowing two runs on three hits in 2.0 innings of work.  Starter Matt Imhof, the Phillies second round pick (47th overall) in the June 2014 First-Year Player Draft, worked 3.0 innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on five hits in his Class A debut. Kannapolis starter Robinson Leyer lasted 4.0 innings, pitching mostly in the rain.  He allowed two runs on four hits while striking out three and matching his season-high with four walks in a no decision.

Electric Engel: Adam Engel collected a season-high 4 hits on Saturday, tying his career-high. He was 4-5 with a double, triple, RBI and three runs scored while running his hitting streak to eight games, now a season-long, batting .371 (13-35) since July 11. Engel previously had a 7-game hit streak April 21-29.

Danny Draws Walks: Danny Hayes drew two more walks on Saturday amid his 3-3 performance at the plate, raising his league-leading total of walks to 55. The first baseman reached base safely in all five plate appearances and now ranks fifth in the SAL with a .402 on-base percentage. The White Sox 13th round pick in the June 2013 draft is now batting .300 (98-327) with seven HR and 49 RBI in 92 games.

Williams Wallops: Designated Hitter T.J. Williams ripped his sixth home run of the season on Saturday, a 2-out solo shot that just cleared the 20-foot tall wall in right field. He finished the game 2-4 with two runs scored while blasting his first home run since a walk-off bomb to beat Charleston on June 28.

Strikeout Struggles: As a team, Kannapolis continues to lead the South Atlantic League and rank second in all of Minor League Baseball in strikeouts with 919 on the season, 88 more than the next closest SAL squad (free-swinging Hickory, 831). Three of the top of strikeout victims in the league play for Kannapolis, including league-leader Jacob Morris (131), Trey Michalczewski (118), and T.J. Williams (115).  Asheville is the only other SAL team with multiple players with 100+ strikeouts (two) while Augusta, Delmarva, Greensboro, Greenville and Hagerstown have no players with triple-digit strikeouts in 2014.

Minor League Baseball’s Team Strikeout Leaders:
Lake County (A, Indians) – Midwest Lg – 985
Kannapolis (A, White Sox) – South Atlantic Lg - 919
Rancho Cucamonga (A, Dodgers) – California Lg - 892

Broadcast: This season, all 70 home games and select road games are broadcast on the Kannapolis Intimidators Baseball Network available at IntimidatorsBaseball.com & on the TuneIn Radio App with Josh Feldman, now in his fourth season with the team.

Game Notes 7/19/14: Engel goes streaking & a BlueClaws will make his Class A debut

KANNAPOLIS INTIMIDATORS vs. LAKEWOOD BLUECLAWS
44-52, 15-14 (Chicago White Sox)        38-60, 11-18 (Philadelphia Phillies)
Saturday, July 19, 2014 – 7:05 p.m.
CMC-NorthEast Stadium – Kannapolis, N.C.
2nd Half Game #30 (97 of 137)
RH Robinson Leyer (5-6, 3.28) vs. LH Matt Imhof (0-0, 0.00)

Today’s Preview:Robinson Leyer makes his team-leading 19th start of the season for the Intimidators (A, White Sox) in the second game against the BlueClaws (A, Phillies), who took the first game of this 4-game series on Friday with a 5-4 win against the Kannapolis bullpen.  Leyer, who has been one of the Intimidators most consistent arms in 2014, looks to continue a recent string of working deeper into games when facing Lakewood’s Matt Imhof, a Phillies second round pick in the June 2014 draft who is making his Class A debut.

Sally League Standings: Kannapolis (15-14) has dropped eight of its last nine games since holding sole possession of first place in the SAL Northern Division second half standings and ranks fifth in the division, 4.0 games back of first place Greensboro. Lakewood (11-18) is last in the 7-team division, 8.0 games behind the Grasshoppers.

Intimidating Starter: Robinson Leyer, 21, faces a Philadelphia affiliate for the first time in his team-leading 19th start, which ties for the most in the SAL this season. He is coming off a career-long outing, working 7.2 innings in a July 13 loss to Asheville – the first time that he pitched into the eighth inning in his career. Leyer ranks 11th in the SAL with a 3.28 ERA.  He dominated the month of June, going 1-1 with a 1.16 ERA (4 ER/31 IP) in five starts. In his one start at Asheville, he worked 7.0 strong innings at hitter-friendly McCormick Field, limiting the Tourists to a run on seven hits to earn a win. The younger brother of former Intimidator Euclides Leyer, he spent 2013 with Advanced Rookie Bristol, going 2-7 with a 6.35 ERA in 13 starts.

BlueClaw on the Bump:Matt Imhof, the Phillies second round pick (47th overall) in the June 2014 First-Year Player Draft out of Cal Poly, makes his Class A debut and fifth start of the season. He made his professional debut on June 27 with the GCL Phillies, tossing 3.0 scoreless innings. Imhof’s next three appearances came with Short-Season Williamsport. He earned his first professional win July 13 against Tri-City with 5.0 scoreless innings, and is now 1-0 with a 0.60 ERA (1 ER/15.0 IP) with 13 strikeouts and five walks in four starts. The Hayward, Calif., native enjoyed a stellar career at Cal Poly, going 18-7 with a 2.69 ERA in 48 games (35 starts) over three seasons.

Last Time Out:Lakewood pulled ahead in the eighth and held on to beat the Intimidators 5-4 on Friday.  Kannapolis hit three home runs over the first three innings but mustered just four hits on the night. Lakewood’s Dylan Cozens doubled to open the eighth, moved to third on a groundout and scored on a Tyler Barnette wild pitch with two outs. Barnette (2-7) struck out four batters over 2.0 innings but gave up a run on one hit with a walk while being tagged with a loss. Julio Reyer (2-3) tossed 3.0 scoreless, hitless innings for the win, and Dan Child worked a perfect ninth for the save (1).  Adam Engel, Jacob Morris, and Christian Stringer hit solo home runs in the first, second, and third innings, respectively. Lakewood pulled ahead, 4-2, with three runs on four hits in the top of the third.  Zach Green’s 2-run base hit cashed Andrew Pullin and Andrew Knapp.  Green crossed the plate on a double by Willians Astudillo. The Intimidators knotted the game, 4-4, in the fourth on a Brett Austin RBI-groundout.

Engel Streaking: Adam Engel led off the first inning with a home run to extend his hitting streak to seven games, matching his season-long streak. Engel is batting .300 (9-30) in his last seven games (since July 11). Earlier this season, the former Louisville outfielder strung together hits in seven games from April 21-29, batting .303 (10-33).

Home Bittersweet Home: The Intimidators have now lost a season-high six straight home games dating back to July 3. Kannapolis dropped its series finale to Delmarva on July 3 and suffered a 4-game sweep at the hands of Asheville from July 10-13.

Broadcast: This season, all 70 home games and select road games are broadcast on the Kannapolis Intimidators Baseball Network available at IntimidatorsBaseball.com & on the TuneIn Radio App with Josh Feldman, now in his fourth season with the team.

Game Note 7/18/14: Guerrero going to the mound as Intimidators return home to battle BlueClaws

KANNAPOLIS INTIMIDATORS vs. LAKEWOOD BLUECLAWS
44-51, 15-13(Chicago White Sox)       37-60, 10-18 (Philadelphia Phillies)
Friday, July 18, 2014 – 7:05 p.m.
CMC-NorthEast Stadium – Kannapolis, N.C.
2nd Half Game #29 (96 of 137)
LH Jordan Guerrero (6-0, 2.95) vs. RH Ranfi Casimiro (2-9, 5.72)

Today’s Preview:The Intimidators (A, White Sox) return home for a 4-game home stand against the BlueClaws (A, Phillies). Kannapolis is coming off a win on Thursday to end a 7-game losing streak and is tied for 4th in the SAL Northern Division Second Half standings, 3.0 games back of first place, while Lakewood is 8.0 games back in seventh. The BlueClaws are coming off of a series win at Hickory, taking two of three games against the Crawdads. Jordan Guerrero takes the mound for Kannapolis while the BlueClaws counter with Ranfi Casimiro in the first meeting between the two teams since a fog-out in Lakewood on May 9. The Intimidators took both games that were completed in Lakewood in May.

Intimidating Starter: Jordan Guerrero, 20, makes his third start of the season and 19th appearance. Guerrero, who has been trading piggy-back starts with Andre Wheeler, is 2-0 with a 2.70 ERA (3 ER/10 IP) in two starts this season, including a win in his last start July 6 at Hagerstown. The left-hander from Moorpark, Calif., leads the Intimidators with six wins, including a spotless relief record, going 4-0 with a 3.03 ERA in 16 games out of the pen. He is coming off 2.0 scoreless innings against Asheville in last Saturday’s 15-inning game. The White Sox selected Guerrero in the 15th round of the June 2012 First-Year Player Draft, and he spent the last two seasons with Advanced Rookie Bristol. In 2013, he went 0-3 with a 4.26 ERA in five games (five starts) for the Bristol White Sox.

BlueClaw on the Bump:Ranfi Casimiro, who turned 22 on Wednesday, makes his 19th start of the season and second against Kannapolis. He took a loss against the Intimidators on May 8, allowing four runs (three earned) on seven hits over 4.2 innings. Casimiro has lost his last four starts, allowing at least four earned runs in each outing since June 27. He has struggled in July, going 0-3 with a 9.42 ERA (15 ER/14.1 IP) in three starts. Casimiro is tied for second in the SAL with nine losses and ranks third in walks (48). Casimiro made his domestic debut in 2012 with the GCL Phillies, going 3-2 with a 3.49 ERA in 10 games (seven starts), however his numbers dipped in his second tour in the GCL in 2013, going 2-6 with a 5.21 ERA in 11 starts.

Last Time Out:Three pitchers combined for the Intimidators fifth shutout win, 1-0, in Augusta on Thursday. Kannapolis scored the game’s lone run in the ninth inning to snap a 7-game losing streak. Thad Lowry returned from the Disabled List to toss 5.0 strong innings, keeping the GreenJackets hitless through the first four frames. He finished with six strikeouts and two walks while allowing one hit, a leadoff single in the fifth, in a no decision. Ben Brewster took over in the sixth inning and worked three hitless innings. Brewster (2-0) struck out two and walked one on his way to his second professional win. Brad Salgado gave up a pair of singles but stranded Augusta’s tying and winning runs for the save (1). In the ninth, Jacob Morris led off with a base hit, moved to second on a walk to Brett Austin. After a Carl Thomore sac-bunt advanced the runners, Ryan Leonards’ sac-fly cashed Morris for the game’s only run. Raymundo Montero (0-3) took the loss, allowing a run in his 1 and 1/3 innings on the mound.

Another Shutout: The Intimidators secured their fifth shutout win on Thursday and first since Thad Lowry threw a complete-game no-hitter in a rain-shortened 5.0-inning win at West Virginia on June 3, a 3-0 win for the Intimidators. Kannapolis is now 5-6 in shutouts, tied for the seventh-most shutouts in the league this season.

Ending the Slide: Kannapolis stopped a 7-game losing streak on Thursday with a win in the series finale at Augusta. The Intimidators lost seven straight from July 9-16, matching the team’s longest losing streak of the season from May 19-26. The two 7-game skids were the longest for Kannapolis since losing eight straight from April 25 to May 6, 2013.

Home Sweet Home?: The Intimidators have lost five straight home games dating back to July 3, equaling a season high. Kannapolis dropped its series finale to Delmarva on July 3 and suffered a 4-game sweep at the hands of Asheville from July 10-13.

Broadcast: This season, all 70 home games and select road games are broadcast on the Kannapolis Intimidators Baseball Network available at IntimidatorsBaseball.com & on the TuneIn Radio App with Josh Feldman, now in his fourth season with the team.

Game Notes 7/16/14: Brennan’s back on the bump, Intimidators looking to stop 6-game slide

KANNAPOLIS INTIMIDATORS at AUGUSTA GREENJACKETS
43-50, 14-12 (Chicago White Sox)           46-48, 12-14 (San Francisco Giants)
Wednesday, July 16, 2014 – 7:00 p.m.
Lake Olmstead Stadium – Augusta, Ga.
2nd Half Game #27 (94 of 137)
RH Brandon Brennan (0-0, 0.00) vs. RH Joan Gregorio (1-2, 3.66)

Today’s Preview:The Intimidators (A, White Sox) look to avoid equaling their longest losing streak of the season when they play Game 2 of this 3-game series against the GreenJackets (A, Giants). On the mound for Kannapolis, Brandon Brennan, who pitched for the Intimidators last year until a mid-season injury ended his campaign, returns to Class A ball after completing a rehab assignment with Advanced Rookie Great Falls.   He’ll face Augusta’s Joan Gregorio.  Kannapolis has lost six straight games dating back to July 9 at Greensboro and has fallen 3.0 games out of first, tied for fourth in the division.

Brandon Brennan 480x270Intimidators Starter: Brandon Brennan, who turns 23 later this month, returns to the Intimidators for the first time since last June when an injury cut-short his 2013 season.  During his time with Kannapolis last year, he went 4-9 with a 5.53 ERA in 15 starts and showed improvement over the course of the season. The White Sox fourth round pick in the June 2012 First-Year Player Draft, Brennan went 3-1 with a 2.16 ERA in five starts last June before landing on the Disabled List.  This season, he went 1-1 with a 3.20 ERA in five starts for Great Falls.

Augusta’s Arm: Joan Gregorio, 22, makes his fifth start for Augusta and 10th of the season. The 6’7” right-hander opened the year with Class A-Advanced San Jose and struck out a career-high 11 batters over 5.2 innings on April 16 against Inland Empire (High-A, Dodgers), his third career game with double-digit strikeouts. Between Augusta and San Jose, he is 3-4 with a 5.31 ERA (25 ER/42.1 IP) with 48 strikeouts in 11 games (nine starts). This is Gregorio’s second swim through the South Atlantic League after going 6-3 with a 4.00 ERA (31 ER/69.2 IP) with 84 strikeouts in 14 games (13 starts) with the GreenJackets in 2013. He made two starts last year against the Intimidators, going 1-1 with a 7.36 ERA (9 ER/11 IP). Gregorio spent 2012 with the Short-Season Salem-Keizer Volcanoes, going 7-7 with a 5.54 ERA in 16 starts. He made his professional debut with the DSL Giants in 2010 and his domestic debut in 2011 for the AZL Giants.

Last Time Out:The GreenJackets scored six late runs against the Intimidators to force extra-innings before taking Tuesday’s series-opener, 7-6, in 12 innings. Kannapolis failed to hold a 6-0 lead. In the bottom of the 12th with the game knotted 6-6, Jeremy Sy led off with an infield single to third base, moved to second on a sac-bunt and third on a passed ball. Chris Lofton then grounded to shortstop, allowing Sy to score the game-winning run. Luis Castillo (2-1) tossed a scoreless top of the 12th for the win, while Tyler Barnette (2-6) took the loss by giving up the winning run in the bottom of the 12th after tossing a scoreless 11th. Down 6-0, the GreenJackets chipped away with two runs in the seventh inning. In the eighth, Rafael Rodriguez stepped to the plate with bases loaded and ripped a game-tying grand slam to even the score, 6-6.  Kannapolis starter Jeff McKenzie tossed 6.0 scoreless innings in a no decision, limiting the Jackets to four hits while striking out five. The Intimidators opened the scoring with a 6-run fifth inning, scoring all half-dozen runs with two outs.  With the bases loaded, Adam Engel singled in Brett Austin and Carl Thomore to break a scoreless tie.  Trey Michalczewski added a bases-clearing double for a 5-0 lead and later scored on a passed ball. Augusta’s Steven Messner opened with five scoreless innings before giving up six runs (five earned) in the sixth.

Surrendering A Slam: Augusta’s Rafael Rodriguez hit the second grand slam allowed by an Intimidators pitcher this season. On June 24, Hickory’s Kellin Deglan hit a go-ahead grand slam off Matt Abramson in an eventual Crawdads win, 11-10. Rodriguez’s slam is the 30th hit against the Piedmont/Kannapolis franchise since the team’s inception in 1995 and 23rd in the Intimidators era (2001-present). While the Intimidators also allowed multi slams in a season in 2013, Kannapolis had not surrendered more than one bases-clearing home run since 2008.

Fall From Grace and First Place: The Intimidators held sole possession of first place in the SAL Northern Division Second Half standings entering play on July 9, but the team’s current 6-game losing streak has dropped the team into a 4th place tie in the 7-team division.

Six Runs Undone: Kannapolis matched it largest lead lost in a game this season after blowing a 6-run lead on Tuesday at Augusta. The Intimidators also held a 6-0 lead on June 8 at Asheville before the Tourists scored seven unanswered runs in an eventual 7-6 win.

Struggles at the Plate:Intimidators right fielder Jacob Morris is 0-for-his-last-24 with 12 strikeouts during the team’s 6-game losing streak. He leads the SAL with 128 strikeouts but ranks third on the circuit with 46 walks drawn this season.

Broadcast: This week’s series in Augusta can be heard on the Augusta GreenJackets broadcast network. This season, all 70 home games and select road games are broadcast on the Kannapolis Intimidators Baseball Network available at IntimidatorsBaseball.com & on the TuneIn Radio App with Josh Feldman, now in his fourth season with the team.

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