On The Farm: Kannapolis no-hits Hickory

On The Farm: Kannapolis no-hits Hickory

Friday, Aug. 20, 201010:30 PM
By Kevin Czerwinski
CSNChicago.com
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A trio of Kannapolis pitchers combined to toss a no-hitter Friday evening as the Intimidators completed a doubleheader sweep of Hickory, 4-2 and 2-0.

Matt Wickswat 7-5, picked up the victory after striking out five and walking one over five innings. Jake Petricka, Chicagos second-round pick in this years draft, pitched the sixth and escaped after issuing a walk while Taylor Thompson closed things out with a perfect seventh. The Crawdads managed only a pair of walks. It was the franchises first no-hitter since Brian Miller tossed one on June 10, 2003.

It was very exciting, Petricka told CSNChicago.com. I was more nervous for Wickswat because I didnt want to ruin what he had going. The only reason he came out of the game was because we need him to pitch in three days. I didnt want to be the one who gave up a hit because someone else had to come out after he reached his pitch count.

It was a relief to give the ball to someone Thompson else but I also wanted to go back out there because I was a little shaky with my command and I wanted to re-establish myself in the zone. I was more than willing to give the ball to him, though, because I knew he could do the job with his command.

Hickory starter Chad Bell surrendered only four hits and lost his shutout in the fifth. Miguel Gonzalez led off with a single and was sacrificed to second. Jordan Cheatham then moved him to third on a grounder before Tyler Saladino hit a grounder to short that should have ended the inning but Leury Garcia made a bad throw, allowing Gonzalez to score.

Juan Silverios three-run homer in the second inning was more than enough for Cameron Bayne, who pitched a complete game for his fifth consecutive victory in the opener. He scattered five hits and walked one while only one of the runs he allowed was earned.
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Stefan Gartrells bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the eighth inning lifted Charlotte to a 4-3 victory over Gwinnett at Knights Stadium. The walk capped a rally that started with two outs and brought home Alejandro De Aza with what would be the winning run. It marked the second consecutive game that the Knights scored the winning run on a bases-loaded walk.

Jhonny Nunez earned the victory after blowing the save by allowing an eighth-inning run. Ryan Braun picked up his 18th save with a scoreless ninth. Lucas Harrell started and allowed two runs over seven innings before losing out on the decision.

Jordan Danks had a double and an RBI for the Knights while Brent Morel added a double and a run scored.Winston-Salem A
The Dash exploded for eight runs in the eighth inning and edged host Potomac, 9-8, at Pfitzner Stadium.

Andrew Garcia and Jason Bour each had two-run singles in the inning while Greg Paiml and Ken Williams added RBI hits. Williams finished with three hits while Garcia had three RBIs. Ryan Kussmaul allowed a run in 1 23 innings and picked up the victory in his Dash debut. It marked the 14th time that Winston-Salem has rallied for a victory in the seventh inning or later and the fifth against Potomac.

In other action, Bristol split a doubleheader with Bluefield, taking the opener 2-1 before dropping the nightcap, 3-2. Chase Blackwoods two-run, second-inning double was the difference in the opener and made a victor of Robert Young 2-3, who won his second straight after allowing a run in six innings. Bluefield scored a run in the bottom of the seventh off Kevin Rath 0-4. Bristol managed only two hits in the seven-inning affair. ... Andy Wilkins and Jared McDonald each had two hits and two RBIs in Great Falls' 8-3 victory at Ogden. ... Birmingham scored six eighth-inning runs and surprised Huntsville, 11-10. Josh Phegley had two hits and three RBIs.
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The Cubs banged out 13 hits and kept Dunedin scoreless until the bottom of the ninth Friday en route to picking up a 5-1 victory at Dunedin Stadium.

Daytona broke open a close game with four fourth-inning runs. Greg Rohan and Ryan Flaherty had RBI doubles to highlight the inning. Meanwhile, Robert Whitenack allowed five hits over 6 23 innings to earn his second victory in his last three starts. He fanned four and didnt walk a batter.

Clearwater bombed Tampa on Friday, leaving the Cubs and the Yankees in a first-place tie in the FSL North Division.

In other action, Mississippi bested Tennessee, 7-4, at Smokies Park. Blake Lalli accounted for the offense with a homer and four RBIs. Peoria and Burlington were postponed in the Midwest League after three innings because of weather. The game will not be made up. The Chiefs added RHP Robinson Lopez and LHP Jeff Lorick to their roster. Both players were acquired in Wednesdays Derek Lee deal. RHPs Steve Grife and Daniel Keefe were sent to Boise, which dropped an 11-4 decision at Vancouver. ... Iowa closed out its long West Coast trip with a 7-6 victory over Sacramento at Raley Field. Marquez Smith and Micah Hoffpauir each had three hits. Smith had a homer and two RBIs while Hoffpauir drove in a run.

Kevin Czerwinski can be reached at ktczerwinski@gmail.com.

David Robertson, Nate Jones return to White Sox after WBC victory

David Robertson, Nate Jones return to White Sox after WBC victory

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Having experienced a playoff-like atmosphere at the World Baseball Classic, David Robertson and Nate Jones already feel prepared for the regular season. 

The two relievers returned to White Sox camp on Friday morning bearing gold medals from a Team USA WBC title run that concluded on Wednesday night with an 8-0 victory over Puerto Rico at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. Robertson, who recorded the final three outs of the clinching victory, said he's glad to be back and won't need much of a tune-up to be ready for the April 3 season opener.

"Back up to speed?" Robertson said. "More like slow down and get ready for the season. I'll probably play catch (Friday). I didn't throw (Thursday), I spent the day traveling. Probably play catch today, and be ready to throw (Saturday). If I needed to throw today, I could. I feel like I'm season ready right now."

"It feels good to be back. It's been a long trip doing this WBC, so it's good to be back and relax a little bit. Have a couple days before we start the season."

Both Jones and Robertson appeared four times each for Team USA with similar results. Each allowed a solo home run but nothing else. Jones said he brought his gold medal back to camp because he isn't yet ready to put it in his safety deposit box. His favorite moments of the tournament were brought on by raucous crowds.

"Once you get a crowd chanting USA that was a pretty cool moment," Jones said. "You're proud of representing your country, and once they did that, it all kind of set in, like, ‘Wow, this is happening.'

"It's just pure excitement, everybody going crazy."

Jones and Robertson said they're pleased to have returned to the relative tranquility of White Sox camp after they lived out of a suitcase for the previous 18 days. Both were set to meet with pitching coach Don Cooper and manager Rick Renteria to discuss their upcoming schedule. Jones said he expected to throw a side session on Friday in front of Cooper to have his mechanics reviewed. Robertson last pitched on Wednesday and didn't know when he'd throw again.

"They've been busy, obviously, with Robbie finishing up the last game," Renteria said. "We'll see how the schedule lines up in terms of their usage for the remaining 9-10 days."

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Robertson is pretty sure he won't need much work. Whereas the team's closer normally waits until the first week of March to appear in a game, Robertson has pitched in plenty this spring. Each of the last four has had a ton more intensity than any normal Cactus League work.

"It felt like playoff baseball really early in the year," Robertson said. "Just coming from Miami, trying to win a couple days in there was really hard. Fans were really loud. That place was a very intense environment, and it didn't feel like you were the home team at all.

"It felt like (a home game) when we were in San Diego We were the home team there, and when we got to L.A., same thing. Although, I will say that when we were playing the Japanese, it erupted a couple times when they had some big moments in their game. It was just a lot of fun to play in this whole event. It was definitely more than I expected."

Jose Quintana gets the Opening Day start for White Sox

Jose Quintana gets the Opening Day start for White Sox

 

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Jose Quintana has been named the Opening Day starter — for the White Sox.

While many are surprised he still hasn't been traded, few should be shocked by the news manager Rick Renteria delivered on Friday, when he announced Quintana would pitch the April 3 opener.

With Chris Sale gone to Boston, Quintana, a first-time All-Star in 2016, has been the odds-on favorite to take over as the team's ace. The only question seemed to be whether or not he'd still be in a White Sox uniform when the season began. But the club made it clear Friday that Quintana is their guy and he'll face the Detroit Tigers in the first game of 2017. The only one who seemed a little taken aback about the news is Quintana.

"I was surprised," Quintana said. "I knew I may get the ball for that day, but they didn't say nothing, so you didn't know. I just kept going and doing my workouts and all my stuff. I'm really, really happy with this opportunity. It's huge for me. I can't wait for that day to come.

"I'm excited to have this opportunity. It's a huge honor for me to have the ball for Opening Day the first time in my life. And I think it's a once-in-a-life opportunity."

Asked about the announcement earlier in the week, Renteria said he needed more time. Many speculated that it meant the White Sox were continuing to listen to offers for Quintana, who has drawn constant interest since the team began its rebuild in December.

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Quintana, who went 13-12 with a 3.20 ERA and 181 strikeouts in 208 innings last season, has looked fantastic all spring. Pitching in front of more than a dozen scouts on Thursday, Quintana made his first Cactus League appearance in a month and allowed two hits over seven scoreless innings. The left-hander also put on a brilliant performance for Colombia in the World Baseball Classic on March 10 as he retired the first 17 Team USA hitters he faced before allowing a hit.

"He's very happy about it," Renteria said. "He has obviously earned it.

"I don't know if he was surprised as much as he was elated and proud to be given the opportunity to be the Opening Day starter. It's a privilege."

Quintana's resume of consistency made him a clear-cut choice for the nod. He heads into 2017 having pitched at least 200 innings in each of the past four seasons. In that span, he's produced a 3.32 ERA and 18.1 Wins Above Replacement, according to fangraphs.com. That figure represents the seventh-highest WAR total among all big league pitchers in that span.

Even though he's viewed as the staff ace, Quintana — who potentially has four years and $36.85 million left on his current contract — said he was surprised by the news because the club hadn't yet informed him of the honor.

"It means a lot for me, especially after last year when you make the All-Star team and this year the opportunity to play in the WBC and now you have the opportunity to pitch on Opening Day," Quintana said. "That's a lot of things happening for me now and I'm happy. And really blessed. You just try to do all my things every time.

"Maybe they don't know what it means for me, but it's a big thing."