Lemurs Savor Sweep of T-Bones

After the second game of the series was rained out after just two and a half innings, the Lemurs were forced to play a quasi-doubleheader against the T-Bones on Thursday night. With Laredo still pursuing a playoff spot, a sweep was crucial and that was just what they got.

The Lemurs jumped out to an early 3-0 lead on Wednesday before the rain poured all over CommunityAmerica Ballpark. Those three runs all ended up being unearned against starter Mike Kickham as the T-Bones made two errors in the first three innings. Gabe Perez was off to a hot start with five strikeouts in two innings for the Lemurs before the postponement.

Upon the restart, both teams pitching staff picked up where they had left off. Zack Dodson was magnificent once more for the Lemurs as he hurled six shutout innings for the Lemurs while striking out eight batters and allowing just one hit. Dodson would get the win while Jeff Inman picked up his 13th save of the season throwing a shutout ninth inning of work.

Johnny Shuttlesworth took the hill in the restarted game for Kansas City. Shuttlesworth would throw 3.2 innings of shutout baseball before giving the reigns to Evan DeLuca, DeLuca would also have a shutout performance in his 2.1 innings. Kickham would take the loss after allowing three runs, all unearned, on four hits two walks, and six strikeouts.

With the series in hand after the first of game of the day, the Lemurs wanted more. They wanted a sweep. Troy Marks made the start for Laredo in the seven inning game while Jordan Cooper toed the rubber for Kansas City.

Marks was as sharp as he has ever been this season, tossing five shutout innings, allowing six hits, walking one batter, and striking out eight. The right-hander worked out of a couple of jams thanks in part to a pair of runners caught stealing.

Cooper was not quite as sharp as Marks. He was great through three innings, retiring the first seven Lemurs he faced. However, the Laredo bats made sure the fourth inning was one he would remember for a while. The Lemurs got four hits, walked twice, and scored four runs while batting through the order in the fourth inning. Zane Chavez broke open the scoring with a two-run single, scoring Ty Morrision and Jesus Posso. A few batters later, Brennan Metzger would get his second hit of the game. Metzger would drive in both Chavez and J.D. Pulfer with a double to make it 4-0.

Cooper would end up allowing four runs on six hits, three walks, and one strikeout over five innings before handing the ball off to the bullpen. The bullpen would do their job as David Holman and Mark Haynes each threw a shutout inning of relief before the T-Bones bats finally came alive.

Laredo handed the ball off to Kamakani Usui for the ninth inning after Danny Reynolds struck out the side in 10 pitches in the eighth. Usui, protecting a 4-0 lead, ran in to trouble almost immediately. He hit the first batter of the inning, Vladimir Frias, before getting Ryan Retz to fly out. Then on a full-count he would walk Starlin Rodriguez which was followed by another full-count walk off Tyler Massey to load the bases with one out. Rookie Dalton Wheat would line a pitch in to right field for a two-run single, putting Kansas City on the board.

With the score now 4-2 with runners on the corners, Brett Wiley would step to the plate. Wiley, one of the top hitters in the league, would hit a ground ball to Posso at first. Posso threw home to get the runner from third, Tyler Massey, out. That would be the last pitch Usui would throw as Pete Incaviglia would call on Luis De La Cruz to get the final out.

The task was not easy for De La Cruz. He had two men on with a two run lead and one of the best power hitters on the T-Bones, Jake Blackwood, at the plate. De La Cruz would get behind Blackwood 2-0 before drawing the count full. On the 3-2 pitch the big right-handed slugger would foul tip a pitch back in to the glove of Chavez and the ballgame was over. Chavez raised his glove in victory while Blackwood snapped his bat over his knee in defeat.

With the 4-2 victory after the 3-0 victory, the Lemurs gained a game on the Wichita Wingnuts in the South division and are now 3.5 games behind them. Laredo gained a half game on the Goldeyes in the Wild Card to pull back to two games out. The Lemurs travel to Joplin for their final road series of the year. They will play the Blasters four times in three days, starting with a doubleheader on Friday. With 12 games left of the season in the next 11 days, there is not much room for error as Laredo continues to remain the hunt for a playoff spot.