Lineups 4/30/16: Intimidators at Fireflies

Where did April go?

The first month of the Sally League season ends today, and the Intimidators are in Columbia, S.C., to face the Fireflies.  Here are the lineups:

Here’s the lineup that will try for the trifecta today:

Kannapolis Intimidators (8-14)
#5 Tyler Sullivan CF
#2 Landon Lassiter DH
#14 Corey Zangari 1B
#21 Seby Zavala C
#31 Cody Daily 3B
#6 Antonio Rodriguez LF
#51 Micker Adolfo RF
#18 Bradley Strong 2B
#16 Cleuluis Rondon SS
#32 Zach Thompson (0-2, 6.23 ERA, 5th start)

Columbia Fireflies (13-9)
#22 Joe Tuschak DH
#13 JC Rodriguez 2B
#8 David Thompson 3B
#34 Dash Winningham 1B
#24 Jeff Diehl RF
#7 Milton Ramos SS
#21 Tyler Moore C
#18 Ivan Wilson CF
#27 Vicente Lupo LF
#16 Tyler Badamo (1-1, 5.09 ERA, 4th start)

Tune in to the broadcast here: http://bit.ly/1rouCcl
And the link for the Game Day stats here.

-JF
@BigTexJosh

CEENTA Sights & Sounds of the Week

CEENTA logo

This week’s Sights & Sounds are presented by CEENTA.

Hello from Columbia, South Carolina, the newest “old” market in the South Atlantic League. The Fireflies brought baseball back to Columbia starting this spring, however the South Atlantic Last held an outpost in the capital of the Palmetto State in 2004. The Capital City Bombers played in Columbia from 1993-2004 at Capital City Stadium.  And in the latest edition of our CEENTA Sights & Sounds of the Week, I stopped by the old ballpark — as well as some of the other baseball venues — in Columbia.

Capital City Stadium

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As the sign on the exterior wall says, the ballpark was built in 1927.  By comparison, the ballpark in Savannah — History Grayson Stadium — was built in 1926. In fact, when Capital City Stadium was originally constructed, Hagerstown’s Municipal Stadium was still three years away from breaking ground (and its subsequent completion six weeks later).

No glitz or glamour, just baseball.  That’s about the only was I can describe this old-time ballpark.  The ballpark had housed South Atlantic League baseball dating back decades, well before the Bombers came through town.  The Columbia Mets played here from 1983-92 before the franchise was re-branded as the Capital City Bombers.

In fact, you can trace South Atlantic League baseball back to the 1930s when franchises like the Columbia Senators, Columbia Reds, and Columbia Gems called the original Capital City Stadium home (the ballpark was rebuilt in 1991).

Founders Park (Univ. of S.C.)

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Check this place out.

As far as college-only facilities go, this is one of the premier baseball yards in the nation.  The University of South Carolina (note: not “USC” — that’s in California) opened this new facility in 2009.  It has a capacity of 8,242, including 6,600 fixed seats, and regularly draws large crowds for Gamecocks games.  In fact, with the Gamecocks hosting Florida this weekend at this ballpark, that may fact into the some of the uphill battle the Fireflies are facing in terms of attendance this weekend (granted, last night’s 3,777 is nothing to sneeze at).

Spirit Communications Park (opened 2016)

The new home of the Columbia Fireflies has one of the enviable things that all new Minor League Baseball parks crave: it was completed on time and opened without being mired in a construction zone (*cough* Hartford *cough* *cough* Biloxi *cough*). This ballpark is not a Single-A ballpark.  Prior to Friday’s game, Intimidators coaches and White Sox rovers in town admired the facility while speculating how long it would take for this to be moved into the Southern League, nothing that this is more Double-A or Triple-A worthy than to be in A-ball.

And that’s the craziest thing about “A-ball” these days.  With more and more palatial ballparks opening each season, this is becoming the new normal.  Places like Hickory’s L.P. Frans Stadium (opened 1993) or Kannapolis’ Intimidators Stadium supported by Carolinas HealthCare System (opened 1995) or even Delmarva’s Arthur W. Perdue Stadium (opened 1996) are all more than adequate Single-A facilities (for baseball, at least — in Kannapolis, for example, we don’t have the additional facilities to host the weddings, banquets, and galas that more and more ballparks are booking).  But as places like Spirit Communications Park continue to become more common in Single-A, it shows what is really possible in other markets and shows what markets (like Columbia or Greenville with Fluor Field) are willing to do in order to attract and keep Minor League Baseball in town.

Just look at this place…

These are some of the rocking chairs positioned above the outfield berms in left field (in front of the scoreboard) and in right field near the “Bojangles Berm” for fans to grab if one is available. The building in the left of this picture is the first completed building outside of the baseball stadium in what will be a huge multi-year project to re-develop this entire area that, from my understanding, had been all but abandoned by the city in recent years (the ballpark was built on the campus of an old state-run mental health facility).

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The front entrance of Spirit Communications Park rivals that of any other ballpark in the Carolinas.  This grand entrance features a plaza that comes to life on game day, and there is plenty of room for expansion around here.  Unlike the new BB&T Ballpark in Uptown Charlotte, which is already walking distance from many other restaurants and attractions in Charlotte, this park is the centerpiece of attractions and eateries to come.

Note the four arching windows above the main gates.  Those windows are all part of the grand club-level which can hold hundreds of guests for a variety of different functions.

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Speaking of that club, here it is.  You can see on the right the archway windows that look out onto the main entrance of the ballpark.  In the back-right corner, there is a full bar.  The windows on the left side of the picture look out to the field, and there is access to four rows of seating in the suite level for fans that ordered these club tickets either on a per-game or season-long basis.

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Speaking of the suites, they are $750-$900 per night (depending on the promotions of the evening) and come with 20 tickets.  Pricey, yes, but the amenities are there to match.

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So that’s just a quick look around Spirit Communications Park — as well as some of the other baseball facilities in Columbia, S.C.

The Intimidators have three more games left here this season — and then Columbia will come to Kannapolis at the very end of the 2016 campaign (August 26-28).

Speaking of the Intimidators…

First baseman Corey Zangari has continued to produce at the plate for Kannapolis. He leads the team with five home runs, and his most recent shot was an absolute bomb in Augusta just a couple nights ago.  If you weren’t listening live, you need to hear this:

That’ll do it for this week’s edition of CEENTA Sights & Sounds.  Happy baseball!
-JF

Game Notes 4/30/16: Retired by Riga, Hassle-free relief, and streaks snapped

Kannapolis Intimidators (8-14) at Columbia Fireflies (13-9)
Saturday, April 30, 2016 – 7:05 p.m.
Spirit Communications Park (opened 2016) – Columbia, S.C.
Game #23 of 140
RH Zach Thompson (0-2, 6.23) vs. RHP Tyler Badamo (1-1, 5.09)

Today’s Preview: The Intimidators (A, White Sox) continue this 4-game series at the South Atlantic League’s newest venue, Spirit Communications Park, as they face the Fireflies (A, Mets) for the second time. Kannapolis dropped Friday night’s first meeting against Columbia, 9-2, and today the Intimidators look for their first win with a right-handed pitcher on the mound as Zach Thompson toes the rubber against Fireflies right-hander Tyler Badamo. The Fireflies, which relocated to Columbia from Savannah where the team played as the Sand Gnats from 1996-2015, are the first new South Atlantic League team since the Greenville Drive opened at Flour Field in 2006. Kannapolis has dropped five of its last seven games while Columbia has won eight of its last 11.

Intimidating Starter: Zach Thompson, 22, makes his fifth start of the season and his third on the road. He has similar numbers in Kannapolis compared to on the road, going 0-1 with a 6.48 ERA (6 ER/8.1 IP) in two road outings compared to 0-1 with a 6.00 ERA (6 ER/9 IP) in two starts at home. Thompson struck out a career-high eight batters in his season debut April 9 against Hickory, allowing a run on one hit over 5.0 innings. In his lone start against a Mets affiliate, Thompson took a loss to Savannah on August 21, 2015, allowing five runs (three earned) while striking out five and walking three over 5.1 innings. In 2015 with Kannapolis, Thompson finished 3-8 with a 4.44 ERA (37 ER/75.0 IP) and 64 strikeouts in 16 games (16 starts). In his 2016 debut, Thompson set a career-high with eight strikeouts over 5.0 innings against Hickory, besting his previous high of six. The White Sox selected Thompson in the fifth round of the June 2014 First-Year Player Draft out of UT-Arlington. He was selected by the Pirates in the 48th round of the 2011 draft but did not sign.

Firing for Fireflies: Tyler Badamo, 23, makes his fourth start of the season and second at home. He is coming off a no decision in his second quality start of the season, allowing three runs on seven hits over 6.2 innings on April 23 at Greenville. He earned a win in his season debut on April 12, holding Rome to a run on five hits over 6.0 innings. In his lone start in Columbia, Badamo gave up six runs on 11 hits over 5.0 innings on April 17. This is Badamo’s first full-season of professional baseball after playing for the GCL Mets in 2014 and starting for Short-Season Brooklyn in 2015, going 5-6 with a 3.10 ERA (28 ER/81.1 IP) and 66 strikeouts in 14 games (14 starts). The Mets selected him in the 24th round of the June 2014 First-Year Player Draft out of Dowling College.

About Last Night: The Fireflies burnt the Intimidators, 9-2, on Friday night in the Intimidators’ first-ever visit to the new Spirit Communications Park.  Ryan Riga (0-2) took the loss, allowing a career-high six runs while walking two. Kevin Canelon (1-1) earned the win with 6.0 innings of work, limiting Kannapolis to two runs on six hits with two strikeouts.  Columbia (13-9) staked itself to an early lead with a 4-run second inning as the first four batters all reached base safely and scored.  Milton Ramos singled to cash Jeff Diehl, and Vicente Lupo added a two-run base hit to score Joe Tuschak and Ramos for a 3-0 lead.  Ivan Wilson later scored on a J.C. Rodriguez groundout.  In the third, Diehl put the Fireflies up 5-0 with a solo home run (3). The Intimidators (8-14) rallied with two outs in the top of the fourth inning to get on the board.  Seby Zavala tripled with two outs, and Cody Daily drove him in with a base hit.  Dante Flores followed with his own triple to plate Daily to pull Kannapolis with three, 5-2, but Kannapolis would not get closer than that.

Retired By Riga: Starting pitcher Ryan Riga struck out a career-high six batters on Friday, surpassing his previous career-high of five, last reached on July 23, 2015, with the Advanced Rookie Great Falls Voyagers against Billings. Riga’s previous season-high was three, set April 23 vs. Delmarva.

Hassle-Free Relief: Drew Hasler spun 2.0 scoreless, hitless relief innings for Kannapolis in the fifth and sixth innings on Friday, working around a walk to retire six of the seven batters he faced.

Streak Snapped: Centerfielder and leadoff man Tyler Sullivan finished 0-3 on Friday, ending his team-best 13-game on-base streak. Sullivan reached base safely in every game from April 13-28, batting .288 (15-52) with a home run, four RBI, and 13 walks with an on-base percentage of .431. It was the third-longest on-base streak by an Intimidators hitter this season behind the 14-game streaks of Danny Mendick (April 11-present) and Corey Zangari (April 8-21).

Longer Streak Snapped: Columbia Fireflies Vinny Siena saw his Minor League-leading 21-game on-base streak come to an end on Friday against Kannapolis. Siena had reached base safely in every game in Fireflies history before finishing 0-4 with three strikeouts in the series opener. From April 7-28, Siena hit .385 (25-65) with eight doubles, two triples, eight RBI, and 21 runs scored with an on-base percentage of .517. Siena leads the SAL with a .495 on-base percentage and 19 walks, ranks second in runs scored, and fifth with a .362 batting average.

Intimidators Bugged: Kannapolis struggled against the Mets affiliate Savannah Sand Gnats in recent seasons, including an 0-3-1 mark against them in 2015. The Intimidators visited Historic Grayson Stadium in August 2015 and dropped the first three games of a 4-game series before the two teams tied, 1-1, in a rain-shortened contest on getaway day to end the Sand Gnats league-best 18-game winning streak. From 2007-15 when Savannah played as a Mets affiliate, Kanapolis trailed the all-time series, 36-23-1. The Gnats clinched a First Half title in Kannapolis during the 2014 season.

Series Information
All-Time Series (since 2016):
Columbia leads, 1-0
2016: Columbia, 1-0 (of 7)
In Columbia: Columbia, 1-0
In Kannapolis: Series tied, 0-0
One-Run Games: Series tied, 0-0
Extra-Innings: Series tied, 0-0

 2016 Meetings:

Date        Location           Result/Time
4/29    at  Columbia                L        2-9
4/30    at  Columbia                  7:05 PM
5/1     at  Columbia                  2:05 PM
5/2     at  Columbia                  7:05 PM
8/26        KANNAPOLIS           7:05 PM
8/27        KANNAPOLIS           7:05 PM
8/28        KANNAPOLIS           5:05 PM

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

Lineups 4/29/16: Intimidators at Fireflies

The Intimidators are making their first visit to Spirit Communications Park today, the new home of the Columbia Fireflies.  Before we get into the park, let’s look at today’s lineups:

Here’s the lineup that will try for the trifecta today:

Kannapolis Intimidators (8-13)
#5 Tyler Sullivan CF
#2 Landon Lassiter LF
#14 Corey Zangari DH
#21 Seby Zavala C
#31 Cody Daily 3B
#1 Dante Flores 2B
#51 Micker Adolfo RF
#24 Zach Fish 1B
#16 Cleuluis Rondon SS
#29 Luis Martinez RHP (0-3, 4.58 ERA, 5th start)

Columbia Fireflies (12-9)
#13 JC Rodriguez 3B
#9 Vinny Siena 2B
#8 David Thompson DH
#24 Jeff Diehl 1B
#22 Joe Tuschak
#7 Milton Ramos SS
#18 Ivan Wilson
#4 Jose Garcia C
#27 Vicente Lupo LF
#3 Kevin Canelon (0-1, 4.20 ERA, 4th start)

First impression of Spirit Communications Park — to quote Borat — “very nice”:

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Tune in to the broadcast here: http://bit.ly/1rouCcl
And the link for the Game Day stats here.

-JF
@BigTexJosh

Game Notes 4/29/16: Found some fireflies, CZ shines like a diamond, Sullivan going streaking

Kannapolis Intimidators (8-13) at Columbia Fireflies (12-9)
Friday, April 29, 2016 – 7:05 p.m.
Spirit Communications Park (opened 2016) – Columbia, S.C.
Game #22 of 140
LHP Ryan Riga (0-2, 9.98) vs. LHP Kevin Canelon (0-1, 4.20)

**VIEW COMPLETE GAME NOTES**

Today’s Preview: The Intimidators (A, White Sox) make their first visit to the new Spirit Communications Park as they open a 4-game series against the new Columbia Fireflies (A, Mets) on Friday. The Fireflies, which relocated to Columbia from Savannah where the team played as the Sand Gnats from 1996-2015, are the first new South Atlantic League team since the Greenville Drive opened at Flour Field in 2006. Kannapolis is coming off a series win at Augusta, taking two of three games against the GreenJackets while the Fireflies also took two of three against Lexington to open a home stand. Columbia has won seven of its last 10 games to move into second place the SAL Southern Division Standings while the Intimidators have dropped four of six games in the last week.

Intimidating Starter: Lefty Ryan Riga, 23, makes his fifth start of the season and his second career appearance against a Mets affiliate. Riga is coming off a career-high 5.0 innings in a no decision on April 23 against Delmarva, giving up two runs on four hits with three walks and three strikeouts. Riga has struggled to avoid walking batters this season, with at least two walks in all four of his starts so far this season. This is Riga’s second road start of the season, following his April 18 road outing at West Virginia in which he allowed five runs on eight hits in 3.2 innings. In his lone appearance against a Mets affiliate, he tossed a pair of scoreless innings against Sand Gnats on August 20, 2015, while striking out one and walking none, working around three hits. Riga split 2015 between the AZL White Sox, Advanced Rookie Great Falls, and Class A Kannapolis, going 2-2 with a 2.70 ERA (10 ER/33.1 IP) and 32 strikeouts in 19 games. With the Intimidators, he was 0-1 with a 4.76 ERA (6 ER/11.1 IP) and two saves in eight games. Riga is coming off consecutive losses to open his 2016 season. The White Sox selected him in the 13th round of the June 2015 First-Year Player Draft out of Ohio State.

Fireflies from the mound: Kevin Canelon, 22, takes the ball for his fourth start of the season and his second at home at Spirit Communications Park. He took a loss at home to Greenville on April 16, giving up three runs on five hits while striking out a season-high seven batters in 5.0 innings. In his last out, he struck out six over 6.0 innings while working around two runs on four hits in a no decision at Greenville on April 22. Canelon pitched for Short-Season Brooklyn in 2015, going 5-5 with a 4.09 ERA (35 ER/77.0 IP) and 70 strikeouts in 14 games (13 starts) for the Cyclones. He made his domestic debut with the GCL Mets in 2014 following three seasons in the Dominican Summer League (2011-13). He twice struck out double-digit batters in 2015, including a career-high 11 on August 13, 2015, against State College.

About Last Night: GreenJackets pitchers struck out 11 batters to beat Kannapolis, 3-2, on Thursday. Augusta broke a 1-1 tie in the fourth inning, scoring two runs without the benefit of a hit off Jaider Rocha.  Rocha plunked Manuel Geraldo to lead off the inning, and Lucius Fox drew a walk.  Rocha appeared to have Fox picked off first base, but with the base runners stuck between first and second, Kannapolis first baseman Corey Zangari threw the ball away, allowing Geraldo to score on the error.  Seth Harrison cashed Fox with a sac-fly for a 3-1 lead.  Logan Webb (1-0) struck out six over 5 and 1/3 innings for Augusta en route to earning the win.  He allowed two runs on four hits with two walks in his fourth start of the season.  Jake McCasland took over in relief of Webb and spun 2 and 2/3 scoreless innings before Caleb Smith tossed a scoreless ninth for the save (1). Rocha (0-2) took the loss for Kannapolis, giving up two runs (one earned) in the fourth inning.  He finished with 2.0 innings worked, allowing a hit and two walks with two strikeouts.

Corey Zangari

Corey Zangari (14) of the Kannapolis Intimidators hustles towards third base against the Hickory Crawdads at Kannapolis Intimidators Stadium on April 10, 2016 in Kannapolis, North Carolina. The Intimidators defeated the Crawdads 10-3. (Brian Westerholt/Four Seam Images)

CZ Shines Like A Diamond: Corey Zangari, the Intimidators 18-year-old first baseman, launched his team-leading fifth home run of the season on Thursday in Augusta, his second home run of the series. Zangari led off the top of the fourth with a game-tying blast off Augusta’s Logan Webb. The White Sox sixth round pick in the June 2015 First-Year Player Draft, Zangari ranks tied for second in the SAL with five home runs, trailing Augusta’s Dillon Dobson (6). He also leads the SAL with 88 at-bats while appearing in all 21 games for Kannapolis, also tied for the league lead.

Hinch in a Pinch: Kannapolis reliever Ryan Hinchley was nearly perfect in relief on Thursday, facing the minimum in the sixth and seventh innings.  He struck out one batter while inducing a double-play to erase the lone hit he allowed.  It is the third scoreless outing in six relief appearances for Hinchley this season. He has fanned 10 in 9.2 innings in 2016.

So Right From the Left: Following Wednesday’s win behind starting pitcher Johnathan Frebis, Kannapolis is 8-4 this season when left-handers start on the mound for the Intimidators. The Intimidators have three left-handers in the team’s five-man rotation, with Ryan Riga and Tanner Banks joining Frebis on the staff. The Intimidators are still looking for their first win when a right-hander starts a game (0-9).

sand gnats logoIntimidators Bugged: Kannapolis struggled against the Mets affiliate Savannah Sand Gnats in recent seasons, including an 0-3-1 mark against them in 2015. The Intimidators visited Historic Grayson Stadium in August 2015 and dropped the first three games of a 4-game series before the two teams tied, 1-1, in a rain-shortened contest on getaway day to end the Sand Gnats league-best 18-game winning streak. From 2007-15 when Savannah played as a Mets affiliate, Kanapolis trailed the all-time series, 36-23-1. The Gnats clinched a First Half title in Kannapolis during the 2014 season.

Going Streaking: Centerfielder and leadoff man Tyler Sullivan has reached base safely in 13 straight games for the Intimidators, dating back to April 13. During that stretch, the former University of the Pacific standout is batting .288 (15-52) with a home run, four RBI, and 13 walks with an on-base percentage of .431. It’s the third-longest on-base streak by an Intimidators hitter this season behind the 14-game streaks of Danny Mendick (April 11-present) and Corey Zangari (April 8-21). Columbia Fireflies Vinny Siena currently leads the league with a 21-game on-base streak, having reached base safely in every game the Fireflies have played this season.

Checking The Jar: The Fireflies have several league leaders through the season’s first three weeks. David Thompson has a SAL-best 25 RBI while ranking tied for third in doubles (8), and ranking fourth in runs scored (19). Vinny Sienna leads the circuit in stolen bases (19) and on-base percentage (.517), ranks second in runs scored (21), tied for third in doubles (8), and sits fourth in batting average (.385).

Jackets off the mark: Left-hander Johnathan Frebis kept the GreenJackets hitless into the seventh inning Wednesday, working a career-long 6.1 innings and retiring 19 of the first 20 batters he faced. He became the first Intimidators pitcher to take a no-hitter into at least the seventh inning since Yency Almonte on July 4, 2015, which also came against the GreenJcakets. Almonte took a no-hitter 8.2 innings before Jeremy Sy broke up the gem with a base hit up the middle in an Intimidators win, 1-0, last season at Lake Olmstead Stadium.

Put It In The Banks: Tanner Banks leads the SAL with four wins and ranks secod with 25.1 innings pitched. He was the first Sally Leaguer to toss a complete-game shutout this season and remains one of only two to accomplish the feat, joined by Hickory’s Pedro Payano, who tossed a 1-hitter on Wednesday against Greensboro.

Lineups 4/28/16: Intimidators at GreenJackets

Series finale from Lake Olmstead Stadium is coming up. I didn’t get a chance to play Augusta National (apparently it’s a private club — who knew!), but the Intimidators have a chance at a series sweep. Kannapolis has not swept a 3-game series since August 11-13, 2014, when the I’s took three straight against Lexington in Kannapolis.

Here’s the lineup that will try for the trifecta today:

Kannapolis Intimidators (8-12)
#5 Tyler Sullivan CF
#1 Dante Flores 2B
#14 Corey Zangari 1B
#21 Seby Zavala C
#31 Cody Daily 3B
#6 Antonio Rodriguez LF
#51 Micker Adolfo RF
#24 Zach Fish DH
#16 Cleuluis Rondon SS
#29 Luis Martinez RHP (0-3, 4.58 ERA, 5th start)

Augusta GreenJackets  (8-12)
#1 Lucius Fox SS
#2 Seth Harrison RF
#46 Dillon Dobson 1B
#11 Dylan Davis DH
#29 Kelvin Beltre 3B
#12 Jean Angomas LF
#40 Ashford Fulmer CF
#36 Adam Sonabend C
#35 Manuel Geraldo 2B
#34 Logan Webb RHP (0-0, 3.21 ERA, 4th start)

Tune in to the broadcast here: http://bit.ly/1rouCcl
And the link for the Game Day stats here.

-JF
@BigTexJosh

Game Notes 4/28/16: Fantastic Frebis, So Right from the Left, and Sweep Dreams

Kannapolis Intimidators (8-12) at Augusta GreenJackets (8-12)
Thursday, April 28, 2016 – 7:05 p.m.
Lake Olmstead Stadium – Augusta, Ga.
Game #21 of 140
RHP Luis Martinez (0-3, 4.58) vs. RHP Logan Webb (0-0, 3.21)

VIEW COMPLETE GAME NOTES

Today’s Preview: The Intimidators (A, White Sox) have a chance to complete a series sweep today as they face the GreenJackets (A, Giants) in the finale of this 3-game series. Kannapolis has won back-to-back games and will have a chance to win three straight games for the first time this season. The I’s last won three-in-a-row August 28-31, 2015, when they put together a 4-game winning streak. The all-time series between Kannapolis and Augusta, dating back to 2001, is tied, 57-57. Today Luis Martinez takes the mound for the Intimidators in his first career outing against a Giants affiliate while Logan Webb is on the mound for the GreenJackets in his first appearance against a White Sox affiliate.

Sweep Dreams: Kannapolis has not swept a series since winning two games against Greensboro from June 20-21, 2015. The series was originally slated for three games but had one game rained out that was not made up. The Intimidators last completed a 3-game series sweep in 2014 when they beat Lexington in three straight games, August 11-13, 2014. Kannapolis previously swept a 3-game road series April 21-23, 2014, when the team took three games at West Virginia.

Intimidating Starter: Luis Martinez, 21, makes his fifth start of 2016 and his second on the road as he faces Augusta for the first time. Martinez is coming off his roughest outing of the season, giving up five runs on five hits in 2.2 innings in a home loss to Delmarva on April 22. He is looking for his first win in the South Atlantic League since July 27, 2015, when he spearheaded a shutout of Lakewood with 8.0 scoreless innings of 2-hit ball for the Intimidators. The lanky right-hander is in his second season with Kannapolis serving as a member of the six-man rotation in 2015 while going 4-14 with a 5.38 ERA (65 ER/108.2 IP) in 24 games (24 starts). Martinez was part of three shutout wins in 2015 as Kannapolis posted 13 shutout victories, second-most in the league (Savannah, 14). MLB.com currently ranks Martinez as the No. 29 Prospect in the White Sox organization. Martinez was signed as a free agent on Dec. 16, 2011. In 2014, he went 5-3 with a 2.93 ERA and 62 strikeouts in 58.1 innings over 12 games (11 starts) between the AZL White Sox and Great Falls.

AuGJack2 copyGoing for GreenJackets: Logan Webb, 19, makes his fourth start of the season and his second at Lake Olmstead Stadium. He turned in a quality start in his last outing, working 6.0 innings at Charleston on April 21, allowing two runs on four hits with a season-high four strikeouts. In his lone home outing this season, Webb allowed one unearned run despite four hits and a career-high-tying three walks over 4.0 innings. He spent 2015 with Short-Season Salem-Kaizer, going 3-6 with a 4.92 ERA (33 ER/60.1 IP) in 14 games (14 starts) for the Volcanoes. Last year, he set career-highs for strikeouts (6) on August 8 at Eugene and IP (7.0) on Sept. 3 vs. Eugene. The Giants selected Webb in the fourth round of the June 2014 First-Year Player Draft out of Rocklin (Calif.) High School, and he made three appearance for the AZL Giants during his professional debut season in 2014.

About Last Night: Johnathan Frebis took a no-hitter into the seventh, and Kannapolis rallied for four runs in eighth in a 4-3 win over Augusta on Wednesday.  Frebis retired the first seven batters he faced before Augusta’s Zach Bowers reached on an error.  Unfazed by the baserunner, Frebis retired the next 12 batters, taking a no-hitter one out into the seventh before Dillon Dobson singled up the middle. Seth Harrison added a doubled to score Dobson for a 1-0 GreenJackets lead.  Reliever Brannon Easterling plunked Ashford Fulmer with the bases loaded to plate another run.  Kannapolis (8-12) didn’t stay behind for long, jumping in front in the eighth.  Antonio Rodriguez and Daily dropped bases-loaded bloop singles to center field, each driving in a run to tie the game, 2-2.  Dante Flores followed with a bases loaded walk, pushing the go-ahead run across, and Micker Adolfo added an insurance run on a base hit to left field, scoring Rodriguez for a 4-2 lead.  Alex Katz took over on the mound with the tying and winning runs on base with two outs in the ninth and slammed the door on the GreenJackets, earning the save (1) and preserving a win for Easterling (1-1). GreenJackets reliever Ryan Halstead (0-1) took the loss, giving up four runs in one-third of an inning, erasing an impressive start by Augusta’s Phil Bickford.  Bickford, the Giants No. 3 Prospect, struck out nine batters — one shy of his career-high — and walked none while walking around four hits over 7.0 scoreless innings.

Jackets off the mark: Left-hander Johnathan Frebis kept the GreenJackets hitless into the seventh inning Wednesday, working a career-long 6.1 innings and retiring 19 of the first 20 batters he faced. He became the first Intimidators pitcher to take a no-hitter into at least the seventh inning since Yency Almonte on July 4, 2015, which also came against the GreenJcakets. Almonte took a no-hitter 8.2 innings before Jeremy Sy broke up the gem with a base hit up the middle in an Intimidators win, 1-0, last season at Lake Olmstead Stadium.

Comeback Kids: Kannapolis was 0-9 when trailing after seven innings until Wednesday’s come back win. Augusta led 2-0 when the Intimidators scored four runs in the eighth inning, improving to 1-9 when trailing after seven innings and 1-4 on the road when trailing after seven innings. Kannapolis also enjoyed its largest come-from-behind win of the season on Wednesday, overcoming a 2-run deficit to win. The Intimidators previously had come back from one run down three times this season, most recently on Tuesday against Augusta in the series opener.

Put It In The Banks: Tanner Banks leads the SAL with four wins and ranks secod with 25.1 innings pitched. He was the first Sally Leaguer to toss a complete-game shutout this season and remains one of only two to accomplish the feat, joined by Hickory’s Pedro Payano, who tossed a 1-hitter on Wednesday against Greensboro.

So Right From the Left: Following Wednesday’s win behind starting pitcher Johnathan Frebis, Kannapolis is 8-4 this season when left-handers start on the mound for the Intimidators. The Intimidators have three left-handers in the team’s five-man rotation, with Ryan Riga and Tanner Banks joining Frebis on the staff. The Intimidators are still looking for their first win when a right-hander starts a game (0-8).

Cody Daily

Cody Daily (31) of the Kannapolis Intimidators follows through on his swing against the Hickory Crawdads at Kannapolis Intimidators Stadium on April 9, 2016 in Kannapolis, North Carolina. The Crawdads defeated the Intimidators 6-1 in 10 innings. (Brian Westerholt/Four Seam Images)

Daily Doubles put Jackets in Jeopardy: Intimidators third baseman Cody Daily doubled twice Wednesday, finishing the game 3-4 with an RBI while raising his average to .382 (17-63) in 18 games with Kannapolis. The 3-hit game is the sixth of Daily’s young career, matching his career-high with his first 3-hit game since August 13, 2015, at Hickory.

Getting our Phil of Bickford: Kannapolis batters failed to score against GreenJackets starting pitcher Phil Bickford, the No. 3 Prospect in the Giants organization. Bickford struck out nine batters, one shy of his career-high and one shy of the most by an individual pitcher against the Intimidators this season (10, Dillon Tate, April 14 at Hickory). Bickford also set a new long outing by an opposing starting pitcher with 7.0 innings of work, surpassing the two 6.0-inning outings by Kannapolis opposing pitchers (6.0, 2x, last: Jonathan Hernandez, April 16 at Hickory).

Lineups 4/27/16: Intimidators at GreenJackets

Good morning from Augusta’s Lake Olmstead Stadium. Got a great pre-game interview on deck with GreenJackets shortstop and Giants prospect Lucius Fox. Here are today’s lineups:

Kannapolis Intimidators (7-12)
#5 Tyler Sullivan CF
#2 Landon Lassiter DH
#14 Corey Zangari 1B
#6 Antonio Rodriguez LF
#31 Cody Daily 3B
#1 Dante Flores 2B
#51 Micker Adolfo RF
#8 Daniel Gonzalez C
#16 Cleuluis Rondon SS
#26 Johnathan Frebis LHP (2-1, 4.80 ERA, 4th start)

Augusta GreenJackets  (8-11)
#1 Lucius Fox SS
#5 Jalen Miller 2B
#46 Dillon Dobson 1B
#11 Dylan Davis DH
#2 Seth Harrison RF
#12 Jean Angomas LF
#40 Ashford Fulmer CF
#16 Zack Bowers C
#35 Manuel Geraldo 3B
#15 Phil Bickford RHP (1-2, 5.27 ERA, 4th start)

Tune in to the broadcast here: http://bit.ly/1rouCcl
And the link for the Game Day stats here.

-JF
@BigTexJosh

Game Notes 4/27/16: Lefties so right, CZ shines like a diamond, and Flores fights on

Kannapolis Intimidators (7-12) at Augusta GreenJackets (8-11)
Wednesday, April 27, 2016 – 10:35 a.m.
Lake Olmstead Stadium – Augusta, Ga.
Game #20 of 140
LH Johnathan Frebis (2-1, 4.80) vs. RHP Phil Bickford (1-2, 5.27)

Today’s Preview: The Intimidators (A, White Sox) look for a second straight win as they continue this 3-game road series against the GreenJackets (A, Giants) on Wednesday at Lake Olmstead Stadium. The I’s earned a 7-5 win on Tuesday, snapping a 3-game skid and today send left-hander Johnathan Frebis to the mound against Giants prospect Phil Bickford. Kannapolis is 2-1 in day games so far this season. The Intimidators have pulled within one game in the all-time series (since 2001) as the GreenJackets still hold an edge, 57-56, against Kannapolis.

Intimidating Starter: Johnathan Frebis, 23, makes his fourth start of the season and his first against a Giants affiliate. He is coming off a win on April 21 against Delmarva despite not having his best stuff, limiting the Shorebirds to two runs on six hits while working around three walks and striking out three. Frebis ranks second in the SAL with 12 walks compared to seven strikeouts in 15.0 innings, but he is holding opposing hitters to a .226 average. This is the 20th career appearance for Frebis, who finished his 2015 season with Kannapolis and posted a 1.91 ERA over his first 15 professional appearances.   Despite being roughed up in his 2015 season finale, Frebis finished his professional debut season 4-0 with a 3.45 ERA (11 ER/28.2 IP) in 16 appearances between the Arizona League White Sox and Kannapolis. Frebis holds the Middle Tennessee State University record for career starts with 59 while also ranking third in wins (20), fourth in IP (310.0), and sixth in strikeouts (230) with the Blue Raiders. The White Sox selected Frebis in the 33rd round of the June 2015 First-Year Player Draft.

Going for GreenJackets: Phil Bickford, 20, takes the mound for his fourth start of the season and his first against a White Sox affiliate. He is coming off his first career win, tossing 5.0 innings and giving up three runs on five hits on April 20 against Rome. He struck out eight in that outing, two shy of his career-high 10 strikeouts which he set in his Class A debut on April 8 over 4.2 innings against Rome. Bickford ranks tied for fourth in the SAL with 24 strikeouts compared to four walks in 13.2 innings for Augusta. The Giants selected him in the first round (18th overall) in the June 2015 First-Year Player Draft out of the Junior College of Southern Nevada. The Blue Jays previously drafted Bickford in the first round (10th overall) in the 2013 draft, but they failed to sign him. Bickford attended Cal State Fullerton for a year before transferring to Southern Nevada, where he struck out 151 batters in 79 IP.

About Last Night: Corey Zangari launched his team-leading fourth home run as Kannapolis swatted the GreenJackets, 7-5, on Tuesday. Grant Massey finished 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles and three runs scored to pace the Intimidators offense while Dante Flores drove in two runs in his Class A debut. Tanner Banks (4-0) earned his fourth straight win to open the season, tossing 6.1 innings, giving up four runs on three hits with two walks and a career-high-tying six strikeouts.  Banks retired 11 straight GreenJackets at one point, from the third through sixth innings.  Taylore Cherry pitched the final 2 and 2/3 innings to earn the save (1). Augusta starter Michael Santos (1-2) suffered the loss, allowing four runs on eight hits with six strikeouts and a walk over 6.0 innings.  Tyler Cyr gave up three runs in two-thirds of an innings, allowing a pair of hits and the Zangari home run before being lifted from the game for Matt Pope. With the game tied, 3-3, Flores put Kannapolis back in front in the sixth with a two-out double off the wall in right field that scored Massey from first base for a 4-3 lead.  Flores, whom the White Sox selected in the 18th round of the June 2015 First-Year Player Draft out of USC, finished his Class A debut 2-3 with a double and two RBI.  Zangari added his no-doubt bomb to left field, a three-run blast, in the top of the seventh to push the Intimidators further ahead, 7-3.

Put It In The Banks: Tanner Banks now leads the SAL with four wins and 25.1 innings pitched. He is the only Sally League arm to toss a complete-game and a shutout this season.

Pitcher of the Week: The South Atlantic League named Tanner Banks its Pitcher of the Week for April 18-24 following his 9-inning complete-game shutout against the West Virginia Power on April 20.

So Right From the Left: Kannapolis is 7-4 this season when left-handers start on the mound for the Intimidators, including a 4-0 mark behind Tanner Banks. The I’s are winless (0-8) when right-handers start the game.

CZ Shines Like A Diamond: Corey Zangari blasted his team-leading fourth home run Tuesday, which is now tied for fifth-most in the SAL. The White Sox sixth round pick from the June 2015 Draft also leads Kannapolis with 13 RBI. He leads the circuit with 79 at-bats, and the 18-year-old has a league-high 35 strikeouts.

Fight On: Dante Flores enjoyed a strong South Atlantic League debut on Tuesday, going 2-3 with an RBI and a double. The White Sox selected the infielder in the 18th round of the June 2015 First-Year Player Draft out of USC.

Massey the Master: Grant Massey collected two doubles for the second time this season with his 3-4 performance on Tuesday. He crossed the plate a career-high three times to pace the I’s offense.

Lassiter Among League Leaders: Landon Lassiter ranks fifth in the SAL, batting .362 (21-58) in 15 games for Kannapolis. The former UNC Tar Heels outfielder has crossed the plate in six consecutive games for the Intimidators. He has scored 11 runs in 15 games this season.

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

Martinez struggles, Mendick heating up,and a look at the stolen base

Today’s Preview: The Intimidators (A, White Sox) fell in game two of the four game series against a the Delmarva Shorebirds (A, Orioles) Friday night. This is the second trip of the season to Kannapolis for Delmarva this year. In the first meeting, the Intimidators took two of three games in the April 11-13 matchup, all three games of the series were decided by one run. Thursday and Friday night’s have been more one-sided a 9-3 Intimidators win on Thursday and a 10-4 loss on Friday.

 

Intimidating Starter: Ryan Riga 23, makes his fourth start of the season and his third against the Shorebirds. The Ohio State University standout, has struggled as a starter this year for Kannapolis. The lefty failed to make it through the fourth inning each time out and has surrendered five earned runs in each of his outings. While in college at Ohio State, Riga set a new school record for consecutive scoreless innings thrown. He shattered the record by nine more innings then the nearest Buckeye. Riga will look to turn it around against Delmarva who hit him hard back on April 13th. The Shorebirds tallied six runs, five earned, on seven hits and two walks, but Riga was bailed out by the Intimidators offense that rallied back to beat the Shorebirds 8-7 with a four-run seventh.

 

Dealing for Delmarva: Ofelky Peralta, 19, makes his third start of the season and his second against the Intimidators this season. The 6’5”, 195-pound right-hander is coming off his longest start of the season a five inning no decision outing against Hagerstown in Delmarva April 17. Despite throwing nine fewer pitches in his last outing the righty lasted 2.1 innings longer than his season debut against the Intimidators at Kannapolis.  His season debut was brief 2.2 inning outing where he was chased from the game after allowing two runs and having to throw 65 pitches and was hung with the loss.

 

About Last Night: Intimidators pitching spotted the Shorebirds an early 6-0 lead that the Intimidators failed to come back from. Kannapolis starter Luis Martinez was hit hard for the first time this season and was chased from the game after 2 and 2/3 innings of work, the shortest outing by an Intimidators starter this year. Yermin Mercedes had the big night at the plate for the Shorebirds going 3-for-5 with three RBI, 3 runs scored and a two-run home run in the top of the second inning. The relievers that followed Martinez did not fare much better. Yelmison Peralta and Ryan Hinchley combined to work four innings allowing five more runs to come across and stretch the Delmarva lead to 10-1. Jider Rocha finally settled things down for Kannapolis with 2 and 1/3 innings of scoreless relief, allowing the Intimidators to narrow the gap with a rally in the eighth. Nine men came the plate for Kannapolis in the bottom of the eighth inning scoring three runs when they loaded the bases and worked three walks to force in runs. The rally came up short when the Intimidators, who left the bases loaded in the inning and were set down 1-2-3 in the ninth, falling to Delmarva 10-4.

 

Flashing the leather: Danny Mendick has been quietly heating up for the Intimidators. Although seeing most of his plate appearances from the nine spot of the lineup, Mendick is batting an impressive .314 (16/51), second best on the team. Yet it is his glove that has wowed fans at Intimidators Stadium these past two nights. Despite lopsided scores Mendick has turned in three highlight reel worthy plays at second that would make you think the Intimidators were playing in one-run games.

 

Missing from action: It has been no secret that Landon Lassiter has been the hottest hitter for the Intimidators since he broke out with a four hit game against Delmarva on April 13th, but last night Lassiter was given the day off. A bat that was surely missed in the loss Friday night. Lassiter leads the team in hitting against Delmarva in four games this year, the UNC product is batting an even .500 (8/16) with three doubles, 6 RBI, one walk and a stolen base.

 

Itchy, but don’t know where to scratch: The bullpen did not have their best night for the Intimidators in Friday’s game, but their number can be deceiving.  Despite absorbing a 1-4 record, the bullpen has out pitched the starting staff by nearly two full runs, they come into today’s game with an ERA of 3.11 compared to the starting staff’s ERA of 5.09. Even more impressive is that they have done this while logging nearly the same amount of innings72 and 1/3 for the bullpen and 74 and 1/3 for the staring staff.

 

Paid by the hour: Friday’s game was one that was ugly in more ways than one. Even though there were no “errors” committed during the game, high walk totals and numerous passed balls/wild pitches led to a long night of baseball in a lopsided 10-4 loss. When it was all said and done it became the longest, nine inning, game of the season for the Intimidators at 3 hours and 19 minutes.

 

Three Thieves: Kannapolis which started the season with an aggressive streak on the base paths has seen the stolen base disappear from their game over the last seven contests. Despite an impressive 7-for-9 line in the stolen base department it has been just three players who have attempted all stolen bases thus far. Landon Lassiter, Tyler Sullivan, and Antonio Rodriguez have been the only Intimidators to try a steal this year and have not attempted one themselves since game one against West Virginia.

 

One Run Wonders: Kannapolis has played seven games this season decided by one run, including three against Delmarva. The Intimidators are 3-4 during the tight contests.

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