CG For Pena; Ryal Perfect at Plate; Mock Dominates

Garrett Mock is blowing people away in LNC

Tony Pena struggles through the first, and then coasts to the complete game, but no offense means no win for the young righty; Garrett Mock has a power fastball, a devastating curve, and a rising stock in Lancaster, where Danny Richar is blasting away with regularity; Chris Kemlo's August has been a tough one in Yakima, but when the offense can't score, it makes no difference how you're pitching; Rusty Ryal is a one man wrecking crew, but lefty Greg Smith was the one to watch in Missoula.

Tucson Was Postponed

Tennessee 2 @ Birmingham 4

The Smokies must have though game time was about 15 minutes later than posted Wednesday night, as right hander Tony Pena gave up four runs on four hits, two errors and a hit batsman in the first inning, and then settled down to allow only two more base runners then entire game, but still suffered his 11th loss of the season.  Pena allowed the first two Barons to reach, and each play was complimented with a fielding error.  After a force out Pena then hit a batter, got a strikeout, and then allowed two more hits before finally getting out of the first. 

From then on Pena would dominate.  He retired 15 of the next 16 hitters, and never allowed a runner to reach second base after the first inning, but the bats wouldn't come alive until too late.  It was Pena's second complete game of the season, and the second time this season he has failed to issue a free pass in a game, as he struck out six.

The Smokies would strike first, and do it in the clutch.  After Noochie Varner (0-4) and Stephen Drew (0-4) were both retired, second baseman Dan Uggla (0-2, BB, HBP, run) walked, followed by a Chris Carter single, and then Jaime D'Antona followed with a two out single to center that would plate Uggla. 

After that the Smokie bats would fall silent, as they would fail to get another hit until the ninth inning, when Chris Carter would lead off with a single.  Marland Williams came on to pinch run for Carter, and promptly stole second base.  He would score easily on a single up the middle by catcher Matt Morgan.  That would be all the Smokies offense could muster however.

Lancaster 5 @ Bakersfield 3

"He's got a great fastball, but people don't talk about his curve, it's fantastic, it's really his out pitch."  JetHawks pitcher A. J. Shappi on Garrett Mock.

Apparently both were working for Mock on Wednesday.  The young righthander was stellar, scattering eight hits and allowing just three runs in seven strong innings, good enough for his 12th win of season.  Mock would open the second inning by allowing a solo home run, followed by back to back doubles, but would catch a break when the fourth hitter in the frame would be nailed trying to take an extra base, and would settle down to get out of a four hit inning only allowing two runs.

From then on it was smooth sailing.  A lead off walk in the fifth would score after two more singles, but outside of the two scoring frames Mock would allow only two other hits, while striking out nine.  It was his second highest strikeout total of the year, he struck out 10 on April 22nd, as well as July 27th.

Meanwhile the JetHawks bats were getting knocks, if not the runs to show for it.  Lancaster pounded out 15 hits on the day, nine of which went for extra bases, including a pair of home runs, but managed only the five runs in part because they failed to draw a single base on balls, and in part because they left nine men on during the course of the game.

The first inning pretty much summed up what the night would be like.  Despite three hits, including a lead off single by center fielder Steve Garrabrants (3-5, two doubles, run, RBI), a force out and a double play would leave Lancaster with a goose egg.  In the second inning the JetHawks would get on the board when second baseman Danny Richar hit his fifth home run in his last eight games, but despite a one out double by catcher Phil Avlas (2-4, two doubles, run) that extended his hitting streak to six games, they JetHawks would get only Richar's run out of the second.  A lead off single in the third by shortstop Kenny Perez, followed by a Jeff Cook double would give the JetHawks two men in scoring position with nobody out.  Perez would score on a ground out by DH Alex Frazier (2-5, double, RBI), but despite the hot start that would be the only run Lancaster would push across.

In the fifth Garrabrants would again start the frame with a double, and determined to put a crooked number on the board, Perez would take matters into his own hands, yanking a ball over the right field fence for his first homer as a member of the JetHawks.  Perez, who came over from the Red Sox organization as part of the Jose Cruz Jr. trade, was 2-5 with two runs scored on the day, and has been a nice addition to the organization.  He is hitting .319 with nine RBI and 24 runs scored in 21 games, and is currently in the midst of a 10 game hit streak.

Three straight one-out hits in the sixth would plate the last of Lancaster's runs on the day, and after the seventh Mock would turn the ball over to his bullpen, who were brilliant.  Micah Owings pitched a flawless eighth, and Matt Wilkinson came on in the ninth to earn his 11th save of the season.  Wilkinson has now saved his last eight appearances, allowing only one earned run in that span.

South Bend was off today

Tri-City 6 @ Yakima 0

Yakima starter Chris Kemlo never had a chance.  While Kemlo would be the first to admit that his 5.1 innings Wednesday were probably not the best of his career, the Yakima offense was absolutely shut down by the Tri-City staff, collecting only four hits on the evening.  Kemlo took the loss for the fifth straight start in August, and has watched his ERA in the month balloon to 11.14, and the struggles may be starting to effect his control.  Kemlo tied his season high for walks Wednesday with four, the second time in three games he's walked as many as four hitters.

Arizona State standout Jason Urquidez came on for Kemlo in the sixth and did solid work, allowing one of his two inherited runners to score, but not allowing an earned run of his own in 1.2 innings pitched.  On the season Urquidez has been fantastic, allowing only one earned run in 8.1 innings, striking out 11.

Despite drawing five walks on the day, the Bears could never capitalize, leaving seven men stranded, and four in scoring position.  It was a particularly tough day for shortstop Derek Bruce, who was 0-4 with three strikeouts, and committed his 14th error of the season as well.  Only shortstop Juan Olivares and right fielder Brandon Burgess would reach base twice, each going 1-3 with a walk.

Missoula 7 @ Idaho Falls 0

The Osprey pitching dominated the evening, as three Missoula hurlers combined for a two hit shutout that included 14 strikeouts.  Coming off what may very well have been the worst start of his entire life, a 3.2 inning, 11 hit, 11 earned run performance last Friday, Greg Smith was brilliant Wednesday.  He worked six innings, allowing only two hits and a walk, while matching his season high in strikeouts with eight.  Derik Nippert would come on in the seventh and continue to own the Idaho Falls lineup working two scoreless innings, walking two, striking out four, and not allowing a hit.  Closer Dan Pohlman would come on in the ninth to finish off the shutout, striking out two of the three batters he would face.

Offensively the Osprey spread the wealth, but as has become custom, Rusty Ryal was the ring master.  After going 50 games without a four hit day, Ryal has exploded, posting four such days in his last seven games.  Wednesday Ryal was 4-4 with a double, two stolen bases (in three chances) and two runs scored. 

It was a five run eighth inning that put the game away for the Osprey, and Ryal got it started with a lead off single.  He then stole second just before right fielder Will Crouch (2-5, three RBI) hit his sixth home run of the year.  First baseman Bryan Byrne (2-4) would follow with a single, and after a Steve Mena strikeout, Ricardo Cruz (1-4, run, RBI) would double Byrne home.  Catcher Jake Elder (2-3, BB, two runs) would then stride to the plate and rope his second homer of the season over the left field wall to put the game away.

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