Saturday, June 23, 2012

Game 5: Johnson City Cardinals at Bluefield Blue Jays

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1 Ildemaro Vargas 2B
2 Bruce Caldwell DH
3 Lance Jeffries RF
4 Jeremy Schaffer 1B
5 Tony Bryant CF
6 Carson Kelly 3B
7 Steve Bean C
8 Dutch Deol LF
9 Cesar Valera SS

RHP Steven Gallardo


1 Alex Azor CF
2 Christian Lopes 2B
3 Dickie Joe Thon SS
4 Art Charles 1B
5 Jacob Anderson RF
6 Dwight Smith Jr. DH
7 Matt Dean 3B
8 Carlos Ramirez CF
9 Hector Alvarez C

RHP Tucker Jensen


BROADCAST INFO: Listen live right here and on WHIS 1440 AM and 1470 AM for tonight's game. Pregame is at 6:50.

WEATHER: 81 and sunny, but it feels a lot hotter than that.

UMPIRES: PLATE: Andy Freed FIELD: Jimmy Lott

ABOUT LAST NIGHT...: The Bluefield Blue Jays opened the 2012 home slate on Friday night, but it was certainly reminiscent of 2011. In a rematch of last year’s Appy League Championship Series, the Johnson City Cardinals tied the game in the ninth, then won it in the tenth at Bowen Field 4-2. The two-time defending champs dealt the Jays their third straight defeat. The Baby Birds stood three outs away from the victory, but let a 2-1 lead slip away in the ninth. Ronald Castillo doubled off Denny Valdez to start the frame, then moved up a base on Carson Kelly’s bunt. Trevor Martin laced a single to right that evened the score at two. Johnson City rallied off Colby Broussard (L, 0-1) in the tenth. With the runners at second and third and two out, Tony Bryant, who had pinch-run for Martin after the tying hit the inning before, knocked a single that brought home a pair. Ronald Shaban struck out the side in the bottom of the tenth to record his second save.

VS. THE CARDINALS: This Bowen Field-opening set is a rematch of last year’s Appalachian League Championship Series. The Cards were defending champions and they swept the Baby Birds two games to none. Bluefield led the opener 3-0 the whole way until the Cards rallied with two runs in the seventh and two in the ninth. to walk off with a 4-3 victory. Nicholas Gillung and Logan Billbrough combined to one-hit Bluefield in the clincher in a 4-1 win. The two clubs split six head-to-head meetings during the 2011 regular season, with the home team winning two out of three twice. Bluefield won a home series from July 5-7, the middle game won on Daniel Arcila’s walk-off two-run homer in the 11th inning. Johnson City answered with a series win from August 6-8.


RHP TUCKER JENSEN: Tucker starts for the Jays in his 2012 return to Bluefield. The righty from Ormond Beach, CA allowed 14 earned runs in 11.1 innings in four Appy League starts a year ago. He really excelled in eight Gulf Coast League starts to begin his career, pitching to a 1.77 ERA with an 8.9 K/9 rate to earn a one-game call-up to low-A Lansing. Between three levels he struck out 56 batters in 57 innings of work. A decorated hurler at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, FL, Tucker was named Sun Conference Pitcher of the Year in 2011, also earning NAIA Second-Team All-America honors. The 22-year-old is the grandson of 1958 American League MVP Jackie Jensen.

RHP STEVEN GALLARDO: Right-hander Steven Gallardo makes his professional debut in tonight’s game. The 19-year-old was chosen by St. Louis in the 19th round (600th overall pick) of this month’s draft out of Long Beach City College. As a sophomore for the Vikings, the Los Angelino put up a 2.34 ERA in 77 innings, striking out 98 to rank second in the state while walking only 13. The 2011 South Coast Conference Pitcher of the Year made the All-Southern California Team in 2012. His final game at LBCC was a 10-inning no-hitter with 17 strikeouts against El Camino College-Compton Center. Steven also threw a no-no while attending Alexander Hamilton High School in L.A. in a game in which he whiffed 19.

RISP-Y BUSINESS: As was the story on offense during Bristol’s sweep of the Jays on Thursday, the bats could not get the big hit that could have put it away last night. Jacob Anderson bounced into a 6-4-3 double play with the winning run in scoring position in the ninth against Thomas Lee. Bluefield left 12 men on, at least one in each of the first nine innings. A day after going a combined 1-for-17 with runners in scoring position in the two Bristol losses, Bluefield was 0-for-13 in those chances. Every Bluefield offensive frame from the third through the ninth ended with at least one runner left in scoring position.

GOOD DEBUTS: Three Blue Jays pitched scoreless ball out of the bullpen last night. Highly-touted righty Roberto Osuna made an impressive debut to get through the third, fourth and fifth innings. Only 17 years old and signed out of the Mexican League, Osuna allowed an infield single to start his night, but retired the other nine men he faced, striking out four. Former Notre Dame southpaw Joe Spano worked a hitless sixth and seventh before passing the game over to Justin James, who shook off two infield hits to post a zero in     the eighth.

WALK THIS WAY: Bluefield designated hitter Eric Arce might only be hitting .167 on the young season, but he has been a hitting machine through the Jays’ first four games. In three starts at DH and in the sixth spot of the batting order, Arce has drawn six walks to lead the Appy League. The Tampa native walked twice and was hit by a pitch in his fiirst three trips to the plate last night.

TOP PROSPECTS: There are an astounding nine Bluefield Blue Jays listed on Baseball America’s Top 30 Blue Jays rankings. The complete list of Bluefielders is as follows: LHP Daniel Norris (4th), 3B Matt Dean (11th), OF Dwight Smith Jr. (16th), RHP Kevin Comer (17th), RHP Joe Musgrove (20th), OF Jacob Anderson (21st), SS Dickie Joe Thon (27th), 2B Christian Lopes (29th) and RHP Roberto Osuna (30th).

Bluefield Blue Jays Game Notes 6-23

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