The Threshers began the day alone in first place in the FSL North Division. They beat the Lakeland Flying Tigers 7-3 in a regular nine inning game. The win raised their record to 7-3 and they remained in sole possession of first place in their division.
After all the extra-inning games this week, the Threshers made some moves to bolster their bullpen. Reiner Roibal was activated off the DL and Will Morris was brought up from XST. In order to make room for them, Cody Forsythe was placed on the Lakewood roster and Matt Imhof was placed on the 7-day DL. After 4 innings on Friday, Forsythe wouldn’t be available for a couple days anyway. But the Imhof move means he will miss his start on Sunday and is a little more than a roster move to get another arm in the bullpen. I couldn’t find anyone who knew why or who was willing to talk, so let the rumors commence.
Saturday’s line up.
During a pre-game interview, Pitching Coach Steve Schrenk indicated that in addition to the new arrivals, Lino Martinez, Kevin Walter, and Ulises Joaquin were available in relief tonight. His hope was to get 6 innings from the starter.
Colin Kleven got the start and was a good candidate for pitching those 6 innings the coaching staff was hoping to get. And he came across in a big way. He posted a solid six inning line – 6.0 IP, 4 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 5 K. He did this on 84 pitches and a 58:26 strike to ball ratio. However, he was inexplicably sent out to pitch the 7th inning (a move I questioned immediately). Up to this point, Kleven had thrown his 3 fastballs between 90-95 mph during the first 5 innings. In the 6th inning, he had fallen to 90-91, T92 once.
Kleven gave up a pop single to shallow center to start the seventh inning. The next batter lifted a fly ball down the right field foul line, neither deep nor with much altitude. Chase Harris covered a lot of ground and almost got to the ball. He did manage to trap it and his effort kept the base runner from advancing to third. After these 8 pitches, the Threshers brought Reinier Roibal on to end the threat. His fastball was in the low 90s and touched 94 a few times. His off-speed pitches kept the Tigers off balance. Unfortunately, his first pitch was blooped over third base for a double. It landed fair by only a couple inches.
With a run in and runners on second and third, Roibal was ordered to intentionally walk the next batter with no outs. It was their top prospect, Steven Moya. With the bases loaded and the infield in, Jiwan James hit a ball to second baseman Brodie Greene. He bobbled the attempt and had to settle on a toss to first allowing the tying run to score. However, his toss was too tall for Astudillo and James was safe. The next batter hit a shot to Astudillo who didn’t field it cleanly and settled for one out with a force at the plate. Roibal escaped any further damage with a strike out and fly out.
The Threshers had built a 3-1 lead with single runs in the third, fourth, and fifth innings. After going hitless in the first two innings, the Threshers’ Lohman and Mayorga opened the third with singles. Chase Harris proved to be a difficult out on a sacrifice bunt, but moved the runners on a close play at first. After Greene drew a walk, Andrew Pullin drove in the game’s first run with a sacrifice fly. Cozens and Green opened the fourth inning with singles. A fielding error with one out allowed Cozens to score. The Tigers scrambled to keep additional runs off the board. In the fifth, lead off singles by Greene and Pullin sandwiched around a wild pitch put runners on the corners for Astudillo who picked up an RBI with a sacrifice fly.
After the Tigers tied the game, Chase Harris singled with one out in the seventh. He stole second and took third on a wild pitch. With the infield up, he was gunned out at the plate on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Greene. The relentless Threshers kept the pressure on with a walk to Pullin. After a pitching change, Astudillo greeted the new guy with a single to center. Jiwan James threw poorly to third and Pullin was able to score on the play. Cozens then launched his home run out toward US 19. On hot summer nights, they may have to stop traffic on 19 when he comes to the plate.
Roibal continued to pitch well over the next two innings to earn the victory. He allowed 2 meaningless singles while striking out 3 more batters.
The box score for this game is here.