An offensive explosion from Salt Lake and a pitcher’s duel followed by some late-game heroics in Tri-City highlighted Thursday’s action down on the Angels farm.
Player of the Day
The Bees caught fire with the bats on Thursday in their 13-10 win over the Reno Aces, and leading the way was Jake Gatewood, who went 3-5 with two home runs and four RBI.
Jake Gatewood with a solo HR for AAA Salt Lake pic.twitter.com/svKxiFMrVx— Angels MiLB (@AngelsMiLB) September 17, 2021
Gatewood got his day started early, singling in the second inning to drive in his first run of the game. In the fourth, he hit his first longball of the game, a deep solo shot to left field to increase the Bees lead to 10-2. Finally, he capped off his day with another dinger in the sixth, this one a two-run blast to right center.
Jake Gatewood with his second HR of the game, a 2-run HR for AAA Salt Lake pic.twitter.com/GpzguWqm6B— Angels MiLB (@AngelsMiLB) September 17, 2021
Gatewood’s two home runs increased his total on the year to a team-leading 27, and they were very important parts of what became a pretty close game by the end of it.
Triple-A Salt Lake
As previously mentioned, the Bees had quite the offensive onslaught last evening, and it started right from the get-go. Salt Lake quickly drew first blood in the opening frame, jumping out to an early 3-0 lead on an RBI double by Matt Thaiss and RBI singles by Preston Palmeiro and Gabe Matthews. The top of the second saw even more scoring, as the Bees tacked on four more runs on consecutive RBI singles by Thaiss, Chad Wallach, Palmeiro and Gatewood to bring their lead up to 7-1.
Jake Gatewood with an RBI single for AAA Salt Lake pic.twitter.com/4Vx4CgegI5— Angels MiLB (@AngelsMiLB) September 17, 2021
Things didn’t slow down from here, though, as Salt Lake put runs on the board in each of the next four innings to increase their already big advantage. The red-hot Michael Stefanic launched a two-run home run in the third, Gatewood homered himself in the fourth and the sixth, and Stefanic again drove in a run with an RBI single in the fifth. A five-run bottom of the fifth from the Aces off of starter Davis Daniel made things closer than they were, but by the time the dust settled after all of this, the Bees still held onto a 13-8 lead.
Michael Stefanic with a 2-run HR for AAA Salt Lake pic.twitter.com/4uTSlPELp9— Angels MiLB (@AngelsMiLB) September 17, 2021
The Aces managed to push two more runs across in the eighth and ninth innings off of relievers Tim Peterson and A.J. Ramos, but the Bees held on to secure the 13-10 victory.
Double-A Rocket City
Thursday was supposed to be the debut of 2021 first rounder Sam Bachman in Rocket City, but the game was unfortunately postponed due to a need for additional COVID testing and contact tracing from the Trash Pandas. Their game tomorrow is still scheduled to go on as planned, but the situation is obviously fluid at this time.
At the same time the Bees found themselves in an absolute slugfest, the Dust Devils were locked in a prototypical pitcher’s duel against the Eugene Emeralds. On the Tri-City side, it was Glenn Albanese Jr. taking the mound, and he pitched very well during his abbreviated outing. The 2021 15th rounder went 2.2 innings in this one, striking out two hitters while not allowing a single runner to reach base.
Following Albanese Jr. was Kyle Molnar, who also looked pretty good during his outing. He did allow the Emeralds to strike first via a two-out RBI single by Sean Roby in the fourth, but he finished 2.1 innings with just the one run allowed while striking out five. After Molnar was Dakota Donovan, who pitched scoreless frames in both the sixth and seventh while striking out four hitters of his own.
The Dust Devils were receiving a stellar effort on the mound at this point, but the problem was that their lineup was getting absolutely shut down by Emeralds starter Kai-Wei Teng. The Taiwan native had the Tri-City lineup stumped for much of Thursday’s game, allowing just a pair of base hits to Kyren Paris and Kevin Maitan through the first six innings while striking out 10. The Dust Devils were finally able to break through off of Teng in the seventh, though, with William Rivera driving in Maitan with a sacrifice fly to tie the game up at 1. Teng still finished the game with 12 strikeouts in seven innings and just the lone run allowed, but Rivera’s breakthrough RBI meant that he walked away with a no decision.
Teng exited the game after the seventh, and the Dust Devils capitalized in a big way against Solomon Bates, the man who came in relief for him. After a Jordyn Adams hit by pitch and a Maitan base hit put runners on second and third with two outs, Kenyon Yovan came through with a clutch base hit that drove both runners home and gave Tri-City a 3-1 lead, its first of the day. The Dust Devils brought in Nathan Burns to close things out in the bottom half of the eighth, and he managed to slam the door and secure the win with two scoreless innings of his own.
Low-A Inland Empire
The 66ers also found themselves in a pitcher’s duel on Thursday against the Lake Elsinore Storm, and for a good portion of the game, they looked to be in very great shape. Starter Coleman Crow cruised through the first five innings of the game, allowing just three hits while striking out six Storm hitters, and the lineup got him some early runs to play with thanks to a sac fly by Edgar Quero in the fourth and an RBI triple by Jeremiah Jackson and a sac fly by Jose Reyes in the fifth to make it 3-0.
Jeremiah Jackson with an RBI triple for Low-A Inland Empire pic.twitter.com/9palyYynnO— Angels MiLB (@AngelsMiLB) September 17, 2021
Things started to turn in the sixth, however, mainly due to some mistakes by the 66ers. The Storm got the leadoff hitter on board thanks to an error by center fielder Alexander Ramirez, and two consecutive singles later, Lake Elsinore had their first run of the game. They tacked on another in the inning off of Crow as well, with Cole Cummings singling home a run with two outs to cut the Inland Empire lead to just one.
The eighth is where things really started to go south, as the Storm jumped all over reliever Kelvin Caceres in his second inning of work. A hit by pitch and two walks loaded the bases with just one out, and another clutch hit by Cummings cleared them and gave the Storm a late lead. The 66ers went down quietly in the final inning, and a game with a lot of promise ended in a 5-3 loss.
Triple-A: The Bees sent Taylor Ward on a rehab assignment to the Arizona Complex League Angels. He had been dealing with a rib fracture that he suffered during a game on July 29.
High-A: The Dust Devils sent Brent Killam on a rehab assignment to the ACL Angels.
Lake Elsinore 5, Inland Empire 3
4:35 PM PST: Rocket City Trash Pandas (Brett Kerry) vs Pensacola Blue Wahoos (Will Stewart)
6:35 PM PST: Salt Lake Bees (TBD) @ Reno Aces (Luis Frias)
7:05 PM PST: Tri-City Dust Devils (Matthew McMillan) @ Eugene Emeralds (Jake Dahlberg)
7:05 PM PST: Inland Empire 66ers (Jack Kochanowicz) @ Lake Elsinore Storm (TBD)