North Carolina TarHeels vs. North Carolina State Wolfpack (NCAA)
Louisville Slugger Field-Louisville, KY: The nightcap pitted in-state rivals North Carolina and NC State. As this was our third game of the day, we were a little tired, but ready for another good game of baseball. I felt a little bad for the Wolfpack, however, as a dropped pop-fly in foul territory during the first inning cost them eight runs, and really put them behind the 8-ball so to speak.
To their credit, the TarHeels did come out swing their bats, crossing the plate ten times in the first inning. Carolina was lead by Tyler Lynn, who went 3/4 with two RBI’s and two runs scored. Logan Warmoth, Ashton McGee, and Brandon Riley each added two hits, and Riley plated three RBI’s. First inning aside, NC State played respectable baseball the rest of the game. Josh McLain went 1/3 and had two RBI’s for the Wolfpack.
On the hill, Brian Brown gave up eight runs, but only two of those were earned, while giving up seven hits for NC State. Sean Adler and Joe O’Donnell finally kept the TarHeels scoreless the last four innings. For North Carolina, J.B. Bukauskus had a good lead to work with, and threw seven innings. He allowed three runs on four hits, while striking out five. A long day for us, but worth it to watch some great baseball. On to the semifinals the next couple of posts. FINAL: TarHeels 12, Wolfpack 4.
Louisville Cardinals vs. Florida State Seminoles (NCAA)
Louisville Slugger Field-Louisville, KY: I didn’t like this game. Not at all. In some way of dark magic, Florida State’s season came alive the weekend before when they rode into town and spanked the Cardinals two games in a row on their home field. One would think that this game would be different, that Louisville would be pumped up and out for revenge. Unfortunately for the packed house clothed in red and white here in the stands at Slugger field, the opposite happened. The Cards seemed to play some uninspired baseball, en route to eliminating themselves from the tournament.
From here forward, I’ve decided not to mention any Seminole player by named during the re-caps. Sorry, it’s nothing personal. Well, yeah, actually I guess it is… Kade McClure was on the mound for the Cards, and he gave up two runs in the first inning. He only lasted 3.24 innings, giving up four runs on six hits. Adam Wolf and Lincoln Henzman each gave up a run, also. The Cards had little offense, but Brendan McKay did go 2/4 with a home run. FINAL: Cardinals 2, Seminoles 6.
Wake Forest Demon Deacons vs. Miami Hurricanes (NCAA)
Louisville Slugger Field-Louisville, KY: After a few days of rain delays and re-scheduled games, we finally made it to Slugger Field for some ACC baseball. Since I practically live at this ballpark now, no need to go into details about it, so we’ll get right to the baseball action.
Wake Forest started off hot, and got all of it’s offense from Stuart Fairchild, who hit solo home runs in the first and third innings to give the Demon Deacons a 2-0 lead. Miami really didn’t get things going until the seventh, when they cut the lead to one, and they then scored two runs in each the eighth an ninth innings. The ‘Canes were lead by the bat of Johnny Ruiz, who went 1/3 with two RBI’s an a run scored. Edgar Michelangeli added a solo shot for Miami, and Romy Gonzalez added an RBI double.
On the hill for the Demon Deacons, Parker Dunshee threw seven solid innings, only giving up the one run on a dinger, and striking out four. Griffin Roberts took the loss, giving up four earned runs on three hits. For Miami, Jeb Bargfeldt pitched five innings, giving up the two home runs. Relief pitchers Gregory Veliz, Cooper Hammond, and Andrew Cabezas shut down the Deacons the rest of the way. FINAL: Demon Deacons 2, Hurricanes 5.
It was a fun game to watch, as the ‘Canes came through big in the last few innings. Not a huge crowd for this one, but that would change drastically, as the home town fans were filtering in for the next game featuring Louisville.
Florence Freedom vs. Traverse City Beach Bums (Frontier League)
UC Health Stadium-Florence, KY: Second double-header in as many days due to a rain-out the night before. Again, because I’m so far behind, I’ll be combining both games into one post. We settled in to see the Freedom take on one of my old teams from Michigan, the Beach Bums. My dad was pulling for TC all the way, but I was torn a bit (or more accurately, didn’t really care much as long as I was watching a good game). The stadium in Florence is nice, and usually has a pretty baseball savvy crowd, with Cincy just across the river. It was another game without much of a crowd, however, mainly due to the possibility of rain.
The first game was a close one, and one my dad was happy with the outcome of. Leading Florence offensively was Daniel Fraga, who went 2/4 with two runs scored. Jose Brizuela drove in four of the Freedom’s five runs, and also went 2/4. On the mound, Tony Vocca took the loss, pitching 5.1 innings of the shortened game. He gave up all six runs on ten hits, while striking out five. FINAL (7) game 1: Freedom 5, Beach Bums 6.
In the second game, the home team was able to even the score. On the bump for the Freedom Cody Gray pitched all seven innings, only allowing three hits and striking out seven. He was helped on the offensive side by Andre Mercurio, who went 3/3 with an RBI. Jordan Brower pitched in going 1/2, also. FINAL (7) game 2: Freedom 4, Beach Bums 1.
It was a fun night of baseball, and really the seven inning games move along pretty quickly. We enjoyed the ballpark and I still would like to get the kids up here for a family Sunday game. The next posts will be starting the games at the ACC Tournament, and I’ll also use some space to plug my social media, as you can follow on Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat @minorbaseball. You can see real time photos instead of having to wait for me to finally get all of these posts up!
Photos and video property of Minoring In Baseball
Lexington Legends vs. Hickory Crawdads (South Atlantic League)
Whitaker Bank Ballpark-Lexington, KY: Because I’m so far behind, I’m going to start combining some of these double-headers into one post. That being said, I can say that the rain down here is definitely a double-edged sword. Due to a rain out the night before, the Legends played a double-header, but also back in the OC, Brian’s little league game was rained out, and that was the most important game of the trip for his Papa to see. And I guess we were lucky to get any baseball at all, as it rained the entire trip from Nashville to Lexington, and cleared up just before the first pitch. I’d also like to point out that Whitaker Bank Ballpark is a great place to watch a game. It doesn’t have all of the bells and whistles of some of the other parks, but for a pure baseball experience I highly recommend it.
On the bump for Lexington the night before was Andre Davis, who pitched two scoreless innings before the rain hit. Taking over and earning the win was Geoff Bramblett. He only gave up three hits and struck out four in the victory. Earning the save was Grant Gavin who struck out three. Final game 1: Legends 1, Crawdads 0.
The second game had a little more excitement, despite the fact that it was only a seven inning game. The Legends were led offensively by Manny Olloque, who went 2/3 with an RBI and two runs scored. John Brontsema also went 2/3 with an RBI and scored a run, while Kort Peterson had two RBI’s. The starting pitcher for Lexington was Jace Vines, who threw six solid innings for the win. He gave up four runs on six hits, whole striking out one. Final (7) game 2: Legends 9, Crawdads 4.
We did start to get a little rain toward the end of the second game, but that gave us a chance to move to the upper levels and still get a great view of the game anyway. Again, this is such a great ballpark and I hope to see many more games here over the years.
Nashville Sounds vs. Omaha Storm Chasers (Pacific Coast League)
First Tennessee Park-Nashville, TN: Our first time here in Nashville, and I can honestly say this ballpark is amazing. That being said, it is also very expensive. This is probably the most money we’ve ever laid down for minor league tickets, and you could probably get yourself major league tickets similar to these prices. That being said, we didn’t let that ruin our experience. In fact, Sounds mascot Booster was waiting for us as we entered the gate.
My dad loves the seats in the upper level, so that’s where we went and had a great view. The sight lines are great in Nashville, and that scoreboard is amazing!
He had time to explore the park more before the game, and the outfield concourse definitely has some unique features. There is a full bar out there with couches, chairs, and even a pool table. There is also a full miniature golf course out there, too. I’m sure we can debate whether all of this is necessary for a ballpark, but one thing is for certain, they put a lot of money into this ballpark.
We settled into the game, and the Sounds were running on all cylinders this night. Nashville was led offensively by Joey Wendle, who went 4-5 with two RBI’s and three runs scored. Also helping out was Chris Parmelee who went a perfect 3-3 while driving in and scoring a run. Ryan LaMarre also knocked home three runs going 1-4.
This was an interesting trip to Nashville, and I wish we would have had time to check out more of the town, as there is so much to see and do. First Tennessee Park comes pretty close to a Major League experience, and that can be both good and bad. I’m sure we’ll be making another trip down here for a game, though. I’ll leave off with a little video I shot toward the end of the game:
Photos and video property of Minoring In Baseball
Louisville Bats vs. Columbus Clippers (International League)
Louisville Slugger Field-Louisville, KY: Brian and I settled in for the second game, and were pleased with this one, also, as we were looking for another Bats victory. To start the game off right, though, we had to get ourselves some ballpark treats. Brian went with some Flavor Ice and I settled for some simple ice cream in a helmet.
Pitching for the Bats in game two was lefty Ismael Guillon. He pitched three and two thirds of an inning, giving up four hits and one run, but never allowing a base on balls. Louisville did most of their damage in the fourth inning. Beau Amaral hit a bases loaded triple, scoring Sebastian Elizalde, Brandon Dixon, and Rob Brantley. The Bats lead 4-1 after the fourth and hung on for the victory. Final(7): Bats 4, Clippers 3.
We can’t forget that the Zooperstars were still on hand to put on a show. We were able to see Peyton Manatee, Nomar GarciaParrott, and Whale Gretzky. Harry Canary sang ‘Take Me Out To The Ballgame’ during the seventh inning stretch, but I wasn’t able to snap a photo of that.
Louisville Bats vs. Columbus Clippers (International League)
Louisville Slugger Field-Louisville, KY: Well, we finally made it back to Slugger Field for some Bats baseball. Usually with us the rain is a pain, but last weekend it actually helped, as Saturday nights game was rained out, so we were able to enjoy a double-header on Sunday. The first game moved by quickly, but we enjoyed it and cheered on our team.
As is with most minor league double-headers, they are a seven inning games, and this one was a pitchers duel. For the Bats, starter Jackson Stephens pitched all seven innings for a complete game shut out. He gave up seven hits, but gave up no walks in his outing. And while we were watching all of the non-offense, Brian was enjoying his free kids meal of a hot dog, nachos, and root beer.
We finally saw some excitement in the final inning. The Bats had back-to-back singles from Sebastian Elizalde and Tony Renda to open the inning. Then Brandon Dixon came to the plate and hit a walk-off single for a 1-0 Louisville victory! Final (7): Bats 1, Clippers 0.
Between games Brian and I went out to the West Wing to get out of the sun for a while. As Sunday is Kids Club day, they had plenty of activities for them. Brian was lucky enough to interact with some of our veterans, and made a poppy flower that will go on a Memorial Day parade float honoring our fallen heroes!
Walsh Park-LaGrange, KY: Well, we’re almost a month into the season, and the North Oldham Little League season for the Diamondbacks isn’t going as planned. After starting out 2-0, the D-backs rattled off seven straight losses before breaking the slump on Saturday afternoon. Then they lost on a walk off in extra innings the next night. Brian went through a little slump of his own, although not very long. Being buried at the bottom of the lineup, he had a couple of game where he was 0-1 (yes, three out of four games during the stretch he only had one at bat). But we tweaked some things, and he’s back to being one of the best hitters on the team. From my calculation, he’s now hitting .647 this season. With all honesty, though, I think I missed a game in there somewhere, with all of the cancellations and re-scheduled games. Speaking of which…
If you’re wondering why we haven’t been to any more college or minor league games, the simple answer is that little league has become all-consuming. It’s not really the game schedule, but the re-scheduling that’s been hindering our plans to see other games. Even when we get a nice day on the weekend, more than likely the boys will be playing a make-up game due to all the rain we’ve had the last four weeks. Don’t get me wrong, though, there’s no place I’d rather be than watching Brian play, but it wouldn’t be a bad thing to chill and watch a Bats game, or something. We do have tickets for this Sunday, but…. 90% chance of rain…
Back to Brian’s season. He’s been stuck in the outfield most of the time, which he doesn’t like, but has made the best of it when he gets his chances in the infield. He’s played some pitcher, second base, and his favorite: first base. He did well, and caught everything that was thrown to him, but only got to play there one inning so far this season. He’s keeping his chin up, though, and I’m teaching him to only worry about the things he can control, and do his best wherever the coach puts him. He had the chance to catch a couple of innings, though, but didn’t end up liking it. The mask didn’t fit well, and he took a couple of pitches in the foot. Maybe I can talk him into being catcher again later on in fall ball. He still has half a season left, and as long as he keeps doing his best and having fun, we’ll call it a win!
Louisville Cardinals vs. Northern Kentucky Norse (NCAA)
Louisville Slugger Field-Louisville, KY: The 26th marked our one year anniversary of living down here in Kentucky, so we decided to celebrate with a baseball game featuring two Kentucky teams. The Cards were hosting the Northern Kentucky Norse at Louisville Slugger Field (where the Bats play) for a special game. This was our first chance to check out NKU, also. I was fortunate enough to get these tickets for free, after buying tickets for the ACC Baseball championship here next month. Free tickets are the best kind, and Trevor and I had great seats to watch a great game.The Norse actually came out swinging, and took a 4-0 lead! NKU opened the scoring in the first inning on a solo homer run by T.J. Alas. In the second, Chad Roberts scored on a passed ball to put the Norse up 2-0. The Norse poured it on in the third, but Roberts hitting an RBI doubled, and then scoring himself on an RBI single by Mike Moffatt. Louisville’s starting pitcher Bryan Hoeing didn’t last past the second inning, but his offense came around to bail him out. Adam Wolf picked up the win for the Cards, throwing 2.1 scoring innings while striking out three. Relief pitcher Sam Bordner also pitched two scoreless innings, while Lincoln Henzman earned the save by pitching a perfect ninth.
Offensively, Louisville was lead by Drew Ellis and Zeke Pinkham. Ellis started the comeback with a solo home run of his own in the fourth inning. He then followed that up with a two-run moon shot in the fifth to put the Cards up 5-4. Both players were 2-4 on the day with three RBI, with Pinkham getting his first career home run. Charlie Jerger ended up taking the loss for Northern Kentucky. It was a funny game with some controversial calls, with both head coaches making appearances out on the field. Norse head coach Todd Asalon was even ejected with the classic chest bump and dirt kicking. Final: Cardinals 6, Norse 4.
A fun game for Trevor and I. Some of the photos don’t show it, but there was a decent crowd and they were entertaining and good natured themselves. We actually don’t have any ballgames planned out between now and the end of May, but that doesn’t mean we won’t find one to take in. Most likely it will be the Cards or Bats, but the Brian playing on the weekends sometimes it’s hard to find one that fits our schedule.