Travs End First-Half with Walk-Off WinnerJune 19, 2012 - Texas League (TL) Arkansas Travelers
Mike Piazza (1-2, 2.81) made his second consecutive start on Tuesday in place of injured hurler Orangel Areanas. Piazza was sharp through the first inning retiring the side on 10 pitches. His good start would continue through the first batter in the second inning as he retired Chris Swauger on a groundout to Segura at shortstop. The good start for Piazza then start to head slightly south on the next batter when Jake Shaffer reached first base on an error by Darwin Perez at second base. The error was followed by a hit-by-pitch to Xavier Scruggs. A lineout to Angel Castillo in centerfield off the bat of Audry Perez kept the runners at first and second base. Now with two outs, Greg Garcia made the Perez error hurt when he hammered a double to right-centerfield to score Shaffer and Scruggs. Garcia was credited with only the double when he was gunned out for the final out of the inning as he was trying to take third base on the play.
Another RBI double, this time off the bat of Oscar Tavares in the top of the third inning extended the Cardinals (35-35) lead to 3-0. The Travs (27-43) would plate a pair of runs in the fourth inning to pull to within a run, 3-2. Roberto Lopez led off the frame with a single to left-centerfield. Ryan Mount, who had been slumping as of late, delivered a RBI triple as he lifted a liner over the head of Tavares in centerfield. Casey Haerther then followed with a RBI groundout to score Mount for the Travs' second run of the game.
Following the fury of RBI extra-base hits over the first four innings, both starting pitchers, Piazza and Richard Castillo, put the clamps down over the fifth and sixth innings as only one Traveler hit would be recorded on either side during the two innings. Unlike Piazza, Castillo would come back out for the seventh inning. Castillo would not last long in the seventh, however, as he hit Ramirez with a pitch to lead off the inning. A missed hit and run during the Jimmy Swift at-bat resulted in Ramirez successfully stealing second. Ramirez would not advance in Swift's at-bat as Jimmy grounded out to Jose Garcia at third base. That putout was the final one for Castillo as Jorge Rondon came on out of the pen. Castillo was still in line for the win until Rondon surrendered a ground-rule double to Angel Castillo to score Ramirez for the game-tying run.
Now tied, Travs manager Mike Micucci turned to Ryan Chaffee in the eighth inning. Facing the 2-3-4 hitters in the Cardinals lineup, Chaffee was more than impressive as he emphatically struck out the side. After the Travs went quietly in the bottom of the inning, Chaffee came back out to mound in the ninth as was even better, despite not recording another strikeout. He would retire the side on six pitches, giving the Travs a chance for the walk-off in the bottom of the ninth.
Eerily similar to the seventh inning when the Travs tied the game, Ramirez led off the ninth inning with a hit-by-pitch. He was then lifted for pinch-runner Rian Kiniry. Kiniry would move to second base on a successful sacrifice bunt by Swift for the first out of the inning. Angel Castillo then became the second out of the inning as he grounded out to third base. A four-pitch walk to Darwin Perez added more pressure to Eric Fornataro, who started the ninth inning for the Cardinals, and brought the Travs back to the top of their lineup in the form of Segura. Frustrated with four groundouts, three to his counterpart at shortstop, Segura became the Travs' walk-off hero as he found the hole up the middle of the infield for the game-winning RBI single.
Chaffee (1-1) picks up his first win after working two perfect innings in the eighth and ninth. Fornataro is straddled with the loss and falls to 1-2 on the season. The time of the game was officially 2:34 and was played in front of a paid crowd of 3,798.
The win concludes what was an overall disappointing first-half for the Travelers as they finished eight games under .500. Despite how the first half ended for the Travelers, hopes are reignited for the second half as they have now won consecutive games in come-from-behind fashion and appear to be playing solid baseball.
The second half of the 2012 Texas League season starts on Wednesday night with the third game of the current four-game series between the Travelers and the Cardinals. First pitch at Dickey-Stephens Park is set for 7:10 pm. Gates open at 6:10 pm.
Texas League Stories from June 19, 2012
- Drillers End First Half on Sour Note - Tulsa Drillers
- Travs End First-Half with Walk-Off Winner - Arkansas Travelers
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- RockHounds Errors Help 'Riders End First Half Strong - Frisco RoughRiders
- Prades Powers Naturals to Win - Northwest Arkansas Naturals
- Cardinals Lose to Arkansas 4-3 - Springfield Cardinals
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- Deadline for World Series Ring Program Tomorrow - Springfield Cardinals
- Royals Farm Report - Northwest Arkansas Naturals
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