Beetles rally for three wins
By Andrew Tichy
of Media Relations
The Alexandria Beetles won three of five games after a 1-0 loss on Sunday. A recent stretch of six wins in their last 10 games got them within 2.5 games of North Division leading Mankato.
Green Bay 1,
If you blinked, you may have missed a ball game in Green Bay Sunday evening.
The Bullfrogs, behind eight one-hit innings from Craig Gullickson (Clemson), snuck by the Beetles 1-0, winning in just 1:48, the sixth shortest game in Northwoods League history.
Chase Porch (North Alabama) took the tough loss despite allowing just three hits in seven innings. Porch walked two and struck out four.
Green Bay picked up the only run of the game in the sixth inning, stringing together two of their three hits with two out. After Tony Jandron walked and Paul Hoenecke singled, it was Jacob House coming through with an RBI base hit to centerfield.
The lone run was plenty of support for Gullickson, who set down eight on strikes, while walking two. The left-hander surrendered just one hit, a ground ball base knock to right field in the third inning.
Alex Schmarzo (St. Mary's) set down the Beetles in the ninth, earning his third save of the year by mowing through the top third of the batting order.
It was a hole the Beetles almost dug themselves out of. Again. But, unlike their heroics of a night before, Alexandria could not overcome an early 6-0 deficit, falling 7-4 at Warner Park on Saturday night.
Matt Fyffe (Eastern Kentucky) gave up all six runs in the starting role, lasting just six innings. Matt Jansen (Purdue) picked up the win, taking a shutout into the eighth before running into trouble.
After the Mallards put up two first inning runs on three base hits, Fyffe settled into a groove, facing three batters in each of the second through fourth innings. But in the fifth, Madison's monster offense came to life with a leadoff single and follow up double. _
However, Fyffe was then able to get a strikeout and groundball to a drawn-in Jayson Langfels who threw out a runner at the plate. The next batter walked on four pitches to load the bases for Harold Riggins (NC State) who made Mallards' history with his eighth homer of the season, a grand slam that set their franchise mark for a single season.
Trailing 6-0 going into the eighth inning, the comeback once again began. This time it fell just a bit short as Tim Roberson (FGCU) supplied a two-RBI single, but Sean Olenek (Mercer) struck out to end the frame.
Alexandria posted five two-out runs to complete a come from behind victory over the Madison Mallards on Friday night, taking the contest 6-3. Dan Burawa (St. John's) gave up the crooked number, falling to 1-1 on the season. Bryce Uhrig (Pepperdine) tossed two perfect innings in relief of Mitch Handley (North Alabama) to pick up the win. Matt Miller (Michigan) got the last three outs of the game, earning his fifth save.
In the ninth, with the Beetles down 3-1, Burawa racked up two quick outs. Trevor Edwards (UNC-Greensboro) popped up to third base, and pinch hitter Tyler Mills (Michigan) struck out. With the home crowd of more than 5,300 heading for the exits, Olenek kept the game alive with a double to right field. Two straight walks followed before Harry Austin (Elon) was hit by a fastball, forcing in a run.
The stage was then set for Keith Castillo (USC) who had gone 0-3 on his 22nd birthday. But, with two strikes against him, the third-year Beetle came through again, driving a two-RBI base hit into center field.
Roberson followed with a two-RBI double in the next at-bat, and Alexandria's comeback was complete, taking a three-run lead into the bottom of the ninth, where Miller finished things in a hurry, striking out two en route to his fifth save of the year.
Alexandria 5, Brainerd 4
With the tying run at third and the winning run at second base, pinch hitter Edwards drove a base hit into right field, completing the Alexandria comeback over Brainerd last Thursday night. Drew Smith (Barton CC) blew the save and took the loss, falling to 1-1 on the year.
The game began much as it did on Wednesday, with the Lunkers posting an early 3-0 lead. The Beetles were able to tie the game in the middle innings on a Tyler Mills (Michigan) three-run home run.
Having a tie score to work with, Beetles starter Erik Johnson (Cal-Berkeley) settled into a groove, setting down nine straight before stumbling in the seventh. Brainerd once again mounted a two-out rally, beginning with a Stephen Wickens (FGCU) walk. Then, after stealing his 17th base of the season, Wickens took third base on a passed ball and scored on a T.J. Berge (Northern Colorado) RBI single.
Lunkers' starter Brian Garman then finished the seventh inning and worked into the eighth, before being relieved by Mike Frongello (Davidson), who mowed through the heart of the Alexandria lineup, leaving the tying run in scoring position.
In the ninth, after two solid innings of relief by Porch, the rally began. Olenek wrapped up a 2-for-4 night at the plate with a leadoff single against closer Drew Smith. The next batter, Nick Brown, hit a double play ball at third baseman David Valesente (St. Joeseph's), but the roller kicked off his glove and into left field, prolonging the inning.
Edwards then came to the plate, pinch hitting for Marcus Semien (Cal-Berkeley), who had gone 0-2 in the game. After taking a first pitch that wound up at the backstop, Edwards fell down in the count at a ball and two strikes. The next pitch ended up in right field, scoring the tying run. Rounding third was Brown, who scored easily as right fielder Mike Kvasnicka (Minnesota) misplayed the line drive.
It's the second walk off hit for the Beetles this season; oddly enough, both times have been by pinch hitters and in both instances, the Beetles were wearing their throwback uniforms.
Alexandria 8, Brainerd 5
Curtis Hudson (Elgin CC) made his home debut on Wednesday, and although he did not factor in the final decision, his outing was good enough to hold off the Lunkers for an 8-5 win._
Tyler McKendree (Flagler) picked up the victory, going two innings in relief. But after giving up a home run and single in the ninth, it was Miller coming on for his fourth save of the season. Joey Van Cleave (Santa Rosa J.C.) took the loss and is now 0-5.
After going seven up and seven down to start the game, Brainerd struck first with a two-out rally in the third. A single and walk put two runners on for T.J. Berge (Northern Colorado), who launched his first home run of the season.
The Beetles had an answer, plating three of their own in the home half of the inning. On the first pitch of the frame, Porch hit his first homer of the year, a solo blast to center field. Semien followed with a double, and after a Mikel Alvarez (FGCU) bunt single, Roberson hit his first of two RBI doubles on the night.
In the fourth, Alexandria took their first lead of the night on a Semien sacrifice fly.
However, Brainerd responded with the tying run in the sixth and nearly recaptured the lead, but Kvasnicka was caught stealing home, ending the inning.
After the Lunkers dipped into their bullpen for the third time, it was the Beetles delivering the final blow. An Olenek RBI fielder's choice brought in the go-ahead run in the seventh, and a three-run outburst in the eighth secured the win.
Brainerd would mount one final push in the ninth, but Miller got pinch-hitter Michael Gedman (UMass) to pop up to Semien to end the game.
ALEXANDRIA 000 000 000 - 0 1 3
GREEN BAY 000 001 000 - 1 3 1
ALEXANDRIA PITCHING - Chase Porch - (L) 7IP, 3H, 1R, 1ER, 2BB, 4SO; Tyler McKendree - 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0ER, 0BB, 0SO
ALEXANDRIA HITTING - Mikel Alvarez - 1-4; Harry Austin - 0-4; Keith Castillo - 0-4; Tim Roberson - 0-3; Jason Langfels - 0-3; Sean Olenek - 0-3; Trevor Edwards - 0-1, BB; Brendan Alvey - 0-2; Tyler Mills - 0-1; Marcus Semien - 0-2, BB
ALEXANDRIA 000 000 040 - 4 4 0
MADISON 200 040 010 - 7 9 1
ALEXANDRIA PITCHING - Matt Fyffe - (L) 6IP, 6H, 6R, 5ER, 2BB, 2SO; Alvey - 2IP, 3H, 1R, 1ER, 0BB, 2SO
ALEXANDRIA HITTING - Alvarez - 0-4; Austin - 1-4, 1 run, RBI; Castillo - 0-2, 1 run, 2 BB; Roberson - 2-4, 2 RBI; Langfels - 0-2; Marcus Semien - BB; Olenek - 1-4; Nick Brown - 0-2, 1 run, BB; Trevor Edwards - 0-1; Tyler Mills - 0-3, BB, 1 run; Tyler Erickson - 0-3, BB
ALEXANDRIA 000 010 005 - 6 12 3
MADISON 000 300 000 - 3 4 0
ALEXANDRIA PITCHING - Mitch Handley - 6IP, 4H, 3R, 2ER, 5BB, 3SO; Bryce Uhrig - (W) 2IP, 0H, 0R, 0ER, 0BB, 4SO; Matt Miller - 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0ER, 1BB, 2SO
ALEXANDRIA HITTING - Alvarez - 2-4, 1 run, BB; Austin - 3-4, 1 run, 2 RBI; Castillo - 1-4, 1 run, 2 RBI, BB; Roberson - 1-4, 2B, 2 RBI, BB; Langfels - 1-5; Trevor Edwards - 0-4; Porch - 0-4; Olenek - 2-4, 2B, 2 runs; Erickson - 2-3, 1 run, BB
BRAINERD 120 000 100 - 4 7 3
ALEXANDRIA 000 300 002 - 5 9 1
ALEXANDRIA PITCHING - Erik Johnson - 7IP, 6H, 4R, 2ER, 3BB, 5SO; Porch - (W) 2IP, 1H, 0R, 0ER, 2BB, 1SO
ALEXANDRIA HITTING - Alvarez - 0-4; Austin - 1-4; Castillo - 1-4; Roberson - 0-4; Langfels - 1-4; Olenek - 2-4, 2 runs; Brown - 1-4, 2 runs; Mills - 2-4, 1 run, 3 RBI, HR; Semien - 0-2, BB; Edwards - 1-1, 2 RBI
BRAINERD 003 001 001 - 5 8 2
ALEXANDRIA 003 100 130 - 8 11 2
ALEXANDRIA PITCHING - Curtis Hudson - 6 2/3IP, 5H, 4R, 3ER, 2BB, 6SO; McKendree - (W) 2IP, 3H, 1R, 1ER, 0BB, 0SO; Miller - 1/3IP, 0H, 0R, 0ER, 1BB, 0SO
ALEXANDRIA HITTING - Alvarez - 1-3, 1 run, RBI, BB; Austin - 1-5, 1 run, 2 RBI; Roberson - 2-5, 2 2B, 2 RBI; Langfels - 1-5, 1 run; Edwards - 2-3, 2B, BB; Olenek - 1-3, 1 run, RBI, BB; Diallo Fon - 1-4, 2B; Mills - 0-0, 1 run; Porch - 1-2, HR, 1 run, RBI, BB; Semien - 1-2, 2B, 2 runs, RBI, BB