Game Notes from July 21 – Part 1

Hi … we’re back.

The Skinny: The Osprey continue their push for the Pioneer League North Division First-Half crown with the lidlifter to a seven-game homestand tonight, as the Casper Ghosts fly in to begin a four-game series. The Osprey outscored the Ghosts, 28-7, and hit .342 during a three-game series sweep last week.

Last Time Out: The Missoula Osprey suffered a 10-1 loss to the Idaho Falls Chukars in the finale of a seven-game road trip on Tuesday. Despite the setback, the Osprey maintained their two-game lead over the Billings Mustangs for first place in the Pioneer League’s North Division, with nine games to play, and completed a 5-2 road trip. The Osprey have won nine of their last 12 games on the road. The Osprey were held to just five hits by Chukars starter Brian Peacock and two relievers. Peacock (1-3), one of three pitchers to toss a no-hitter at Missoula a season ago, did not allow a hit until the fifth inning. Peacock pitched into the seventh to pick up his first career win. Josh Parr had two of the five Osprey hits, and scored the lone Missoula run, following a leadoff double in the top of the seventh. Parr eventually scored on a Jon Griffin sacrifice fly. Eric Groff, Stephen Cardullo and Bryan Henry each added a base hit for the Osprey. Conrad Flynn (2-1) suffered the loss for Missoula, allowing eight runs in four 1/3 innings pitched. The Osprey defense also struggled, committing four errors in the loss.

Groff’s a Road Warrior: Eric Groff is showing signs of being fully healed from a broken bone in his hand he suffered during Extended Spring Training. The former 44th-round draft choice of the Arizona Diamondbacks, in the 2010 MLB Draft, has put together an eight-game hit streak, including getting at least one base hit in all seven road games on the recent trip. Groff – who is hitting .400 on the road this season – hit .448 (13-for-29) on the road trip, with four home runs and nine RBIs.

Tidbits: The Osprey will see four right-handed pitchers against the Ghosts this series, and that’s a good piece of news. The Osprey hit .304 against right-handers, while they only bat .234 against lefties … The Osprey are 13-5 in July, the best record in the Pioneer League, and have hit 25 home runs in the month – second to Casper (26) … The Osprey are 11-6 in games decided by three or more runs … Missoula is 14-6 in games in which they score first, and scoring first in 20 games leads the league.

On the Mound Today: Missoula will send out right-hander Raymond Hernandez, who is seeking his fourth win of the season. Hernandez (3-0, 2.14) has been electric as a starter, allowing just one earned run in 10 innings of work, while picking up a win in each of his two starts this season. The 48th-round draft choice in the 2011 MLB Draft earned Pioneer League Pitcher of the Week honors for the Week ending July 10. Hernandez allowed a solo home run and a walk in three innings of work at Casper last Friday. The Ghosts will counter tonight with right-hander Alex Gillingham, who allowed three runs on seven hits in five innings of work in a loss on Friday to the Osprey. Gillingham (1-2, 6.16) has 21 strikeouts in 19 innings pitched, but opponents have hit .310 against the right-hander this season. Gillingham was picked in the 11th round of the 2011 MLB Draft out of Loyola Marymount.

Stat of the Day: Former Osprey infielder Emilio Bonifacio (2003) is currently enjoying a 19-game hit streak for the Florida Marlins. Bonifacio is hitting .389 (28-for-72) during the hitting streak, and is hitting .400 for the month of July.

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