Game Notes 7/14; In Morgan we trust, Medina’s streak, & Elledge dealing
Today’s Preview: The Clinton LumberKings (A, Mariners) meet the Dayton Dragons (A, Reds) for the first and only time during the 2017 season. The LumberKings trail the all-time series 49–52, dating back to 2000, and trail against Dayton, 13–15, since the LumberKings became a Seattle Mariners affiliate in 2009. During the 2016 season, the LumberKings traveled to Dayton and swept the Dragons in a three-game series. The sweep in Dayton, was just the second Clinton sweep in Dayton in franchise history. The LumberKings have never had a three-game series sweep in Clinton but did sweep up the Dragons in a four-game series in Clinton May 10–13 in 2005.
LumberKings Starter: Ljay Newsome, 20, makes his 16 appearance and start of the season for the Clinton LumberKings. The LumberKings opening day starter made an abbreviated three inning start his last time out against the Quad Cities River Bandits. The start came after he was activated from the disabled list, his second stint on the DL this season. He lasted just three innings, giving up three runs on four hits, including a home run, while walking two and striking out none. Of his last four starts, Newsome has failed to make it through the fourth inning three times including his shortest start of the year on June 10 against the Peoria Chiefs a 2.2 inning loss. The Maryland native was taken by the Mariners in the 26th round of the 2015 out of Chopticon high school where he helped his high school win a 3A state championship.
Dragons Starter: Matt Blandino, 21, makes his fifth appearance and third start of the season for the Dayton Dragons. The Bristol Connecticut native, has bounced up and down in the Red organization this season, starting the year with the AZL Reds and then being promoted to the Dragons on May 31, 2017. He ddi not stay long with the Dragons and was demoted to the Millings Mustangs on June 9. Blandino then received a another call up to Dayton on June 3rd but again was sent to Billings before being promoted for the third time this season to Dayton on July 13. His last appearance with the Dragon came on June 17 where he took the loss for a four inning outing against the Fort Wayne Tin Caps. He allowed three runs, two earned, on five hits while walking none and striking out three. The Reds took Blandino in the 19th round of the 2016 draft. His mother, Kristen Blandino, was a great softball player, a member of four different USA Olympic gold medal teams. When he had finished his high school career at Bristol Central he sported a record of 24–2 with a 0.59 ERA. Blandino has long been on the Reds radar as he was drafted by them in the 33rd round in 2013 but instead chose to attend Central Connecticut, after transferring to Tunxis Community College he earned his associate degree and again transferred this time to Felician College in New Jersey
Last Time Out: The Dayton Dragons scored in bunches to drop the Clinton LumberKings 8–4 on Thursday night at Ashford University Field. Gareth Morgan went 3-for-4 at the plate with a home run, two runs scored, and three RBI in the Clinton (7–14, 38–50) loss. The LumberKings took their only lead of the night in the bottom of the second inning on a Morgan two run homer. The long fly was his eighth of the season but the lead was short lived. The Dragons (7–14, 48–43) then broke out for the first of two big innings in the top of the third. Eight men came to the plate for Dayton against LumberKings starter Danny Garcia. Following a strikeout of Malik Collymore, Garcia (6–6) surrendered three straight hits including a two-run home run to Jose Siri, his 15th of the season. The home run from Siri extended his team-high hitting streak to 20 games and was far from the end of the rally. Tyler Stephenson added an RBI double and Bruce Yari singled home the fourth and final run of the inning. Garcia, who took the loss for Clinton, threw the ball well through the first two innings, striking out six of the first eight batters he faced. He allowed one more run to score in his final inning of work, the top of the fourth.
Medina Scoreless Streaking: Despite allowing eight runs to the Dayton Dragons on Thursday night, none were allowed by Jeffeson Medina in his 2.2 innings of relief work. The right hander added to his scoreless inning streak with the shutout performance and currently owns the team’s longest scoreless inning streak, 21.1 innings since he last gave up a run.
In Morgan We Trust: Gareth Morgan was much of the offense for the LumberKings on Thursday night He drove in three of the four LumberKings runs and scored the fourth. The three RBI gave him his ninth multi-RBI game of the year, the most by a LumberKing this season. The three RBI’s were also tied for the most by Morgan in a single game this season.
Making New Friends: A good way to make new friends with a new team is to pitch like Seth Elledge has in his two outings with Clinton. The 2017 Mariners draft pick earned his first professional save in his LumberKings debut in Quad Cities and then made his home debut on Thursday night and did not allow a base runner to reach in his one inning of work.
This date in baseball history: On this date in 2015, Before its 86th All-Star Game, MLB announces the selection of Hank Aaron, Johnny Bench, Sandy Koufax, and Willie Mays as the sport’s greatest living players. MLB also reveals the fan’s choices of the “Franchise Four” for each organization, unveiling the four most impactful players who best represented the history of each franchise that included honoring the hometown Reds with Hall of Famers Johnny Bench, Barry Larkin and Joe Morgan along with Pete Rose, who received a loud ovation from the Cincinnati fans, being introduced before the start of the Great American Ball Park contest.
Broadcast Information: All games will be broadcast live on 100.3 FM WCCI and online at LumberKings.com via the TuneIn Radio App with Erik Oas, in his first season as the “Voice of the LumberKings.”