More news and notes …

Catchin’ you up on all things Osprey:

The Skinny: The Osprey continue their four-game series with the Casper Ghosts tonight, as they seek their fifth win in their last six games overall, and will be seeking their sixth win in their last seven tries at home.  They also will attempt to reduce their magic number to clinch a Pioneer League playoff berth.Last Time Out: Jon Griffin hit a tie-breaking home run to snap a 3-3 tie, and the bullpen gave Robby Rowland enough relief to preserve a 4-3 Missoula Osprey win over the Casper Ghosts in front of 2,343 fans on Friday at Ogren Park Allegiance Field. The win, combined with a loss by Billings, gives Missoula (19-12) a four-game lead in the Pioneer League’s North Division over the other three teams – Billings, Great Falls and Helena, who each have a 15-16 mark. Both the Voyagers and Brewers won their games on Friday to jump into a three-way tie for second place. The Osprey now have a magic number of four over all three teams to clinch the first-half division title, which would be their first in the first half since 1999. Rowland (2-2) won for the second time in his last three starts, allowing three runs and six hits in five innings of work. Keith Hessler tossed two innings of one-hit relief, DJ Johnson pitched a perfect eighth and Matt Sample pitched around a leadoff single in the ninth to pick up his second save of the season. Griffin hit a 2-0 pitch from Casper reliever Jeremiah Sammy (1-1) well over 400 feet to deep left field to snap a 3-3 tie and give the Osprey a 4-3 lead.

The streak continues … : Eric Groff extended his current hitting streak to 10 straight games, thanks to a 2-for-3 night at the plate on Friday, with both hits going for doubles. During the 10-game streak, Groff is 19-for-41 at the plate (.463), with five doubles, a triple, four home runs and 12 RBIs. It was also his sixth multi-hit game in his last 10 games. The streak equals one he had from June 23-July 6 earlier this season.

Tidbits: The Osprey have won 15 of 20 games since being a season-low three games under .500 (4-7) after their loss to Great Falls on June 30 … The Osprey have hit six more home runs on the road (22) than at home (16) this season … The Osprey pitching staff has slowed from its previous pace, but is still averaging close to 10 strikeouts per 9 innings pitched. The ratio is 9.95 overall, and 10.77 Ks per 9 innings pitched at home.

On the Mound Today: Missoula will send out right-hander Enrique Burgos, who is hoping to find some of the magic he has been able to bring to the mound earlier this season out for tonight’s start. Burgos (2-2, 6.83) allowed just three runs in 11 innings of work during his first two starts of the month, but has been touched up for 12 runs (10 earned) in 7 2/3 innings pitched over his last two starts. The native of Panama had his best start at home on July 1, allowing just three hits and a run in six innings of work against Great Falls. The Ghosts will counter tonight with right-hander Raul Fernandez, who has been streaky at best this season for the Ghosts. Fernandez (2-4, 10.66) is coming off of his best start of the season, against Helena on July 17, when he allowed just three hits and an earned run in five innings of work while picking up the win. Fernandez gave up 16 earned runs in his first two starts of the season, and 12 runs in the two starts prior to the outing against the Brewers.

Osprey Alumni Update/Minor League Report:
The AZL D-backs (10-15) nearly let one get away on Friday, but hung on for a 15-14 win over the AZL Giants. The rookie D-backs had an 11-1 lead after two innings. Blake Perry (2010) started, but did not make it through the fifth inning, allowing four runs in four innings.

The DSL D-backs (17-30) lost by a 3-2 margin to the DSL Reds on Friday.

Yakima (12-22) dropped another close game on Friday, falling 3-2 in 10 innings to Boise.  Both Raul Navarro (2010) and Westley Moss (2011) each collected a base hit for the Bears, while Miles Reagan (2008-09) pitched a shutout inning of relief.

South Bend (11-16, 45-51) dropped a 6-1 decision to Clinton on Friday. Ender Inciarte (2009) went 3-for-4, while Chris Jarrett (2010) added a base hit for the Silver Hawks, who only managed five hits behind starter Bradin Hagens (2009). Blake Cooper (2010) pitched two innings of shutout relief.

Visalia (12-16, 43-54) picked up a 7-3 win over Rancho Cucamonga on Friday. Keon Broxton (2009) doubled and scored a run, while Bobby Borchering (2009) drove in a pair of runs for the Rawhide. Three former Osprey also pitched well – Dan Taylor (2010) went four innings in a rare start this season, while Taylor Sinclair (2008) and Adam Worthington (2009) picked up the final four outs.

Mobile (21-7, 59-39) had its four-game win streak end courtesy of Birmingham, 8-7, on Friday. Paul Goldschmidt (2009) hit a two-run homer, tying him for the lead in all of minor league baseball with his 28th roundtripper of the season. He also added a base hit to a 2-for-4 night. Taylor Harbin (2007) added a base hit for the BayBears.

Reno (60-38) lost at Sacramento on Friday, 4-2. Derek Eitel (2010) delivered a strong showing, however, surrendering three earned runs (four total) in six innings of work, while striking out five batters. Esmerling Vasquez (2006) added an inning of scoreless relief.

Schedule:
AAA Reno at Sacramento
AA Mobile vs. Birmingham
A Adv. Visalia at San Jose – Trevor Harden (2008) will get the ball for the Rawhide tonight.
A South Bend vs. Kane County – JR Bradley (2010) gets the start today for the Silver Hawks.
SS-A Yakima at Boise
AZL D-backs at AZL Royals
DSL D-backs at DSL Reds

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