Monday was a relatively quiet day in METropolis. Port St. Lucie’s series finale against the Clearwater Threshers was rained out, and the Binghamton Mets, Brooklyn Cyclones and Flushing Mets all had the day off. The only game action took place in Savannah where the Sand Gnats opened a series at home against the Charleston RiverDogs, and in Memphis where the Las Vegas 51′s were playing Game Three of a four game set against the Redbirds.
Down in Georgia, Savannah Sand Gnats starting pitcher Luis Cessa, 21, turned up the heat on the visiting Charleston RiverDogs and fired a gem. He starting the evening off by striking out the first two batters of the game, then continued lighting-up Charleston would-be hitters over the course of an eight inning effort. With just a 1-0 lead to work with after three innings, Luis shut out the RiverDogs, surrendering just four hits, walking no batters, and striking out twelve before departing. Cessa lowered his ERA from 3.36 before the game, to a 3.12 mark. Reliever Paul Sewald pitched the ninth inning, allowed a hit, but otherwise struck out the side giving Savannah pitchers fifteen for the game.
The Sand Gnats broke out for five more runs in the eighth inning, highlighted by center fielder Brandon Nimmo‘s two run home run – his second of the season.
The Gnats won this first contest by a 6-0 score. They improved their second half-record to 22-18, and remain in third place, two full games behind the first place Lexington Legends. Overall, Savannah owns a 65-44 record which tops the league. They were the first half Southern Division champs and already have a playoff spot clinched.
In Game Two scheduled for Tuesday, Gabriel Ynoa will climb the hill. He has made eighteen starts, all for the Sand Gnats this season, and sports a stellar 12-4 record. In 110 innings pitched, he struck out ninety-three batters, owns a 1.091 WHiP and a 2.95 earned run average. He will be opposed by Charleston’s Brett Gerritse, who brings an 8-5 record and 3.88 ERA into the game.
In Memphis, the Las Vegas 51′s trailed 1-0 through three innings. The Redbirds scored off Vegas veteran starter Chris Schwinden, who compromised his own cause in the first inning with an errant throw to first base, which eventually allowed Memphis to pick up an unearned run.
The Redbirds picked up one more run off Schwinden in the fifth inning, but no more. Chris pitched six full innings, allowed just one earned run on five hits, walked one and struck out one. This was Chris’ first victory since July 2nd, which improved his record to 5-9 on the season. His ERA dropped from 5.94, to a 5.72 mark.
Over the final three innings, Coach Wally emptied out the bullpen, using four relievers to close out the 6-2 victory. Tim Byrdak, John Church, Sean Henn and Greg Burke all took their turns limiting Memphis to two hits and no runs. Burke earned his fourth save.
- Wilmer Flores was 1 for 5, with his thirty-sixth double of the season and a run scored.
- Ruben Tejada was 1 for 5, with a strikeout.
With Monday’s victory, the 51′s improved to 63-53, ten games over .500, and gained a temporary half-game advantage for the division lead over the Sacramento River Cats, who’s game was still in progress at post time. Las Vegas now leads this series two games to one. The fourth and final game is scheduled for Tuesday. Thirty-five year old Giancarlo Alvarado will make his eighth start for the 51′s, who previously made eight appearances in the Mexican League. He’ll bring a 4-1 record pitching in AAA and 1.98 ERA into the game. Giancarlo will be opposed by Nicholas Additon for the Memphis Redbirds.