Beetles eliminatedDespite three straight victories, Alexandria was knocked out of playoff contention in NWL play.
By: By Andrew Tichy Beetles' Director of Media Relations, Alexandria Echo Press
Thunder Bay eliminated the Alexandria Beetles from playoff contention, but that did not stop Mitch Handley (North Alabama) from throwing another gem as he made his case for being named the league's Pitcher of the Year.
Handley lowered his ERA to 1.47 with a shutout win over Brainerd as the Beetles stopped a three-game losing streak by winning three straight with a victory this past Sunday.
Alexandria 5, St. Cloud 2
Nick Brown (Iowa) struck out eight in seven innings of work and Tim Roberson (FGCU) extended his franchise record doubles total to 22 as the Beetles wrapped up their home schedule with a 5-2 win over St. Cloud.
The Beetles (38-28) led from start to finish on Sunday, getting a first inning run on a Chase Porch (North Alabama) RBI single. Alexandria drew a walk and racked up three hits in the inning, but two outs on the bases kept the game close.
Hunter Carnevale (Pacific) set down the side in order in the second, but ran into trouble in the third and fourth. Jayson Langfels (E. Kentucky) was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning. Porch then hit his second single of the day, and a Tony Renda (Cal-Berkeley) throwing error on a Tim Urban (Nebraska-Omaha) groundball extended the lead to 2-0. Roberson then doubled home another run to push the lead to 3-0.
In the fourth, a Keith Castillo (USC) RBI single extended the lead to 4-0, and knocked Carnevale from the ballgame. Meanwhile, Brown was locked in, suffering one hiccup in the fifth when the first three River Bats posted hits, and two runs scored.
Alexandria would tack on one more in the bottom of the fifth, and Brown and Kevin Vangheluwe (Michigan) were nearly perfect through eight innings.
In the ninth, Matt Miller (Michigan) recorded his 10th save of the summer, getting a double play and ground out in the scoreless frame.
Alexandria 5, Brainerd 0
It was certainly a summer to remember for Handley. The right-hander made one last bid for League Pitcher of the Year with another brilliant performance, this time a complete game shutout in Brainerd. _
Handley went toe to toe with Michael Gedman (UMass) through eight scoreless innings. Gedman held a no-hitter into the seventh, while Handley had surrendered just two hits.
With two out in the seventh, Roberson broke up Gedman's no-hit bid with a double to right field. Gedman would work out of the jam and also get through the eight without another hit given up. Handley meanwhile continued to hit his spots, working around three Beetles' errors to keep the Lunkers off the scoreboard.
After just over an hour and a half, the ballgame entered the ninth inning in a scoreless tie. Leadoff hitter Mike O'Neill (USC) picked up the second Beetles' hit on the night with a leadoff single to right field. After a Castillo strikeout, Mikel Alvarez (FGCU) singled to center field. Roberson then drilled his second double of the night, plating a pair of runs and knocking Gedman from the ballgame.
Brainerd Field Manager Ryan Levondoski and shortstop Stephen Wickens (FGCU) were ejected for arguing balls and strikes in the ninth inning. A throwing error would bring in two more Beetle runs, sending Handley to the mound in the home half of the ninth with a 5-0 lead.
Handley then racked up his fifth strikeout as part of a perfect ninth inning, en route to his third complete game win of the season.
Handley finishes his Beetles career with a franchise record 85.2 innings pitched, which also leads the league. Handley also falls one-hundredth of a run shy of breaking the Beetle's single-season ERA record.
The Beetles used another strong offensive performance backed up by a dominating outing on the mound by Curtis Hudson last Friday night.
Hudson went eight strong innings, allowing just one run on six hits and one walk. He struck out 10 and lowered his ERA to 1.86. Brendan Alvey came on and worked a perfect ninth inning to close out the win.
Hudson had plenty of run support to work with after a three-run second inning got the Beetles going. They added runs in all but two of the remaining frames, capped off by a three-run ninth to put the finishing touches on the win.
Ben Kuhlmann had a huge day at the plate, going 4-for-5 with two doubles, three runs scored and three RBIs. Sean Olenek, Alvarez and Roberson each added two RBIs, as well.
Thunder Bay 11,
Playoffs are but an afterthought. Now, the Beetles are just trying not to be on the wrong end of crooked scores.
Again last Thursday, Thunder Bay ousted Alexandria 11-2, handing the Beetles their third straight loss and eliminating them from playoff contention.
The Border Cats posted single runs in the second and fourth innings before exploding for five unearned runs in the sixth, knocking Erik Johnson (Cal-Berkeley) from the game. The knockout blow was a three-run homer from Matty Johnson (Bellevue) to cap off that explosive inning.
Trailing 7-0 going into the bottom of the sixth, O'Neill answered with a solo homer to centerfield. In the seventh, Alexandria cut the deficit to 7-2, but left two runners stranded in the inning.
Thunder Bay would tack on three more runs in the ninth to pull away 11-2.
Thunder Bay 9,
In front of the third largest crowd in team history, Alexandria's slim playoff hopes were all but dashed, as Thunder Bay peppered Matt Fyffe (Eastern Kentucky) in a 9-1 rout of the Beetles last Wednesday.
Luis Castillo (Bellevue) benefited from four double plays in the first five innings, en route to his fourth win of the season. The Border Cats led from start to finish, getting a two-RBI double from A.J. Schugel (Central Arizona CC) in the third inning. A Marcus Semien (Cal-Berkeley) error led to another 'Cats' run in the fifth against Fyffe, before Thunder Bay broke the game open with a two-run sixth.
The first four reached in the top of the sixth, including a Curtis Wagner (Santa Clara) double. RBIs by Eli Tupuola (Viterbo) and Sean Claugherty (St. Scholastica) knocked the all-star right-hander from the game after six innings of work.
In the eighth, with the deficit at 6-0, Alexandria mounted a rally against Castillo, ousting him from the game after a pair of walks put runners at the corners.
Andy Omilian (Madonna) entered and gave up an RBI single to O'Neill before walking Roberson to load the bases. With two out, Omilian locked into a duel with Keith Castillo and on the eighth pitch of the at-bat, got him to swing through a fastball, ending the inning and the threat.
For good measure, Thunder Bay tacked on three more runs in the ninth without recording a hit. Tom Kordiak (MSU-Mankato) walked the first three batters he faced in his Beetles' debut, then hit another to bring in a run. A pair of wild pitches brought in the other two runs. Alexandria would load the bases in the ninth, but came up empty handed.
ST. CLOUD 000 020 000 - 2 8 3
ALEXANDRIA 102 110 000 - 5 8 2
ALEXANDRIA PITCHING - Nick Brown - (W) 7IP, 6H, 2R, 2ER, 2BB, 8SO; Kevin Vangheluwe - 1IP, 0H, 0R, 0ER, 0BB, 0SO; Matt Miller - (S) 1IP, 2H, 0R, 0ER, 0BB, 0SO
ALEXANDRIA HITTING - Keith Castillo - 2-4, 1 run, RBI; Marcus Semien - 1-4; Jason Langfels - 0-2, 1 run, BB; Chase Porch - 3-4, 1 run, RBI; Tim Urban - 0-3, 1 run, BB; Tim Roberson - 1-4, 2B, RBI; Mikel Alvarez - 1-3, 2B, BB; Brendan Alvey - 0-2, 1 run, 2BB; Mike O'Neill - 0-2, BB
ALEXANDRIA 000 000 005 - 5 6 3
BRAINERD 000 000 000 - 0 3 2
ALEXANDRIA PITCHING - Mitch Handley - (W) 9IP, 3H, 0R, 0ER, 2BB, 5SO
ALEXANDRIA HITTING - O'Neill - 1-5, 1 run; Castillo - 0-4; Alvarez - 1-3, 1 run, BB; Roberson - 2-4, 2B, 1 run, 2 RBI; Tyler Mills - 0-3, BB, 1 run; Semien - 1-4, 1 run; Langfels - 0-3, BB; Porch - 1-4; Ben Kuhlmann - 0-4
ALEXANDRIA 030 112 103 - 11 14 4
BRAINERD 000 000 010 - 1 6 2
ALEXANDRIA PITCHING - Curtis Hudson - (W) 8IP, 6H, 1R, 1ER, 1BB, 10SO
ALEXANDRIA HITTING - Porch - 0-5, BB, 1 run; Langfels - 1-5, 3B, 1 run, RBI; Semien - 0-5; Olenek - 2-5, 1 run, 2 RBI; O'Neill - 2-4, 3 runs, BB; Kuhlmann - 4-5, 2 2B. 3 runs, 3 RBI; Edwards - 2-4, 1 run, RBI; Alvarez - 2-4, 2B, 1 run, 2 RBI; Roberson - 1-5, 2 RBI
THUNDER BAY 010 105 013 - 11 15 0
ALEXANDRIA 000 001 100 - 2 7 2
ALEXANDRIA PITCHING - Erik Johnson - (L) 6IP, 10H, 7R, 1ER, 0BB, 3SO; Matt Miller - 1 2/3IP, 1H, 1R, 1ER, 1BB, 5SO; Tyler McKendree - 1 1/3IP, 4H, 3R, 3ER, 1BB, 0SO
ALEXANDRIA HITTING - O'Neill - 1-4, HR, BB, 1 run, RBI; Alvarez - 0-4; Castillo - 1-3; Edwards - 0-1; Urban - 0-4; Olenek - 0-4; Semien - 1-2, 2BB; Kuhlmann - 2-4; Alvey - 1-4, 2B, 1 run; Mills - 1-4, RBI
THUNDER BAY 002 012 013 - 9 12 0
ALEXANDRIA 000 000 010 - 1 4 1
ALEXANDRIA PITCHING - Matt Fyffe - (L) 6IP, 9H, 5R, 4ER, 2BB, 2SO; Kevin Vangheluwe - 2IP, 3H, 1R, 1ER, 1BB, 5SO; Tom Kordiak - 1IP, 0H, 3R, 3ER, 4BB, 1SO
ALEXANDRIA HITTING - O'Neill - 2-4, BB, RBI; Alvarez - 0-3, BB; Roberson - 0-3, BB; Castillo - 1-4; Langfels - 1-4; Porch - 0-2; Edwards - 0-3, BB, 1 run; Kuhlmann - 0-1, BB; Urban - 0-1, BB; Semien - 0-2, 2 BB