Game notes for July 25

Off the top … OF Breland Brown is in good spirits, but sore after getting hit in the face by a pitch during Sunday’s game against Casper. The good news is that there were no broken bones, but Brown’s cheek and eye remain swollen, and will be for a few days.

OK, now to the rest of the story …

The Skinny:
The Osprey, who have won four in a row, six of seven and seven of their last eight at home, begin a three-game series with the suddenly red-hot Idaho Falls Chukars, who have won three straight and four of their last five games. The Osprey also will attempt to reduce their magic number to clinch a Pioneer League playoff berth, which currently stands at two over Billings and one over Great Falls.

Last Time Out:
Josh Parr had three hits, Eric Groff hit his second home run in as many nights, and Justin Bianco collected two hits and three RBIs as the Missoula Osprey knocked off the Casper Ghosts on Sunday, 7-4, before 2,323 fans at Ogren Park Allegiance Field. Stephen Cardullo also had two hits for Missoula, who collected 12 safeties on the night. The Osprey jumped out to a 6-0 lead behind the pitching of Jesse Darrah (2-0), who allowed just three hits and three walks in six innings of work, striking out eight batters in the process. Osprey pitchers fanned 12 batters on the night, and have struck out 28 batters in the past two games. Casper (9-24) would rally against the Missoula bullpen, getting a run off of Frank Santana in the eighth and then three more in the ninth off of Matt Sample – the first earned runs he had allowed all season – but could not pull off any more dramatics, dropping their sixth straight game overall.

The streak continues … :
Eric Groff extended his current hitting streak to 12 straight games in style, again, hitting a second-inning home run to get the Osprey on the board. During the 12-game streak, Groff is 21-for-49 at the plate (.429), with five doubles, a triple, six home runs and 15 RBIs. Groff has also collected six multi-hit games during what is now his longest career hitting streak. Groff put together a 10-game streak from June 23-July 6 earlier this season. Groff, in fact, as collected at least one base hit in 24 of the 28 games he has played this season, and currently also has a 14-game road hitting streak.

The Osprey remain tied with Ogden for the Pioneer League’s best record with the win. Both teams are 21-12, and both beat Casper seven times in the first half of the season … Missoula also now leads the league in home runs, with 42 roundtrippers on the season … The Osprey pitching staff also leads the Pioneer League in strikeouts (342). Idaho Falls is second (316).

On the Mound Today:
Missoula will send out left-hander Taylor Siemens, to the mound as they look to clinch at least a tie for the Pioneer League North Division First-Half title. Siemens (2-0, 1.99) has been very effective as a starter – posting a 2-0 record with a 1.56 ERA in his four prior starts this season – and okay as a reliever (3.38 ERA in two relief outings, including one against Idaho Falls). In July, Siemens has been better than that – 2-0 with a 1.13 ERA, with all four runs (three earned) charged to him coming as a reliever. The Chukars counter tonight with a left-hander of their own in Brian Peacock, who has been a Jeckyl-and-Hyde pitcher against the Osprey in his two Pioneer League seasons. At home, he had a run of 10 consecutive no-hit innings against Missoula, which lasted until the fifth inning of his win on July 19. At Ogren Park Allegiance Field, Peacock (1-3, 1 save, 4.41) allowed four runs and 12 hits in five innings of work in his lone start in Missoula in 2010.

A Club First:
Sunday’s win enabled the Osprey to sweep not only the four-game series with the Ghosts, but the season series as well. It’s the first time since the franchise moved to Missoula in 1999 that they have swept an opponent in an entire season series. They had previously lost just once to an opponent in a season – to Casper in 2005 (6-1), and to Medicine Hat in 2001 (15-1).

Coming Soon:
Tuesday – Bike to the Ballpark, KRAFT Singles Tuesday Night Tickets
Wednesday – Bang For Your Buck Night, Senior Wednesday, Game Show Night

Osprey Alumni Update/Minor League Report:
The AZL D-backs (10-17) lost in a rain-shortened game to the AZL Dodgers on Sunday, 5-3. Domingo Soriano (2010) went 1 for-3 at the plate, raising his batting average for the season to .242.

The DSL D-backs (17-30) had Sunday off.

Yakima (13-24) lost on Sunday to Tri-City, 10-4. Teo Guiterrez (2010) struggled in the start, allowing eight runs on nine hits and four walks in 4 2/3 innings. David Narodowski (2009) homered, while Henry Zabala (2009) and Raul Navarro (2010) also collected base hits for the Bears.

South Bend (12-17, 46-52) dropped a 7-5 decision to the Kane County Cougars on Sunday. Chris Jarrett (2010) led the Silver Hawks at the plate with two hits and two runs scored, while Patrick Schuster (2009-10) had his best relief stint since being moved into the bullpen – 4 IP, 1 H, 2 BB, 2 K – and lowered his ERA to 3.54 for the season.

Visalia (12-19, 43-57) lost a pair to San Jose on Sunday, 7-3 and 5-0. David Nick (2009) hit a solo home run, while Keon Broxton (2009) had a base hit and a run scored in the opener. In the nightcap, Chris Owings (2009) and Bobby Borchering (2009) each had a single, while Taylor Sinclair (2008) pitched two innings of scoreless relief.

Mobile (22-8, 60-40) lost a 2-1, 10-inning decision to Birmingham on Sunday. Jarrod Parker (2007) pitched a solid game, allowing just a run on four hits while striking out four batters in six innings of work. Clay Zavada (2006) pitched around two hits and a walk to finish off a scoreless seventh inning. Paul Goldschmidt (2009) (single, double, stolen base) and Jake Elmore (2008) (two doubles) each had two hits for the BayBears. By the way, Goldy’s 29th home run of the season, which he hit on Saturday, set a new Mobile franchise record for roundtrippers in a season.

Reno (61-40) dropped an 11-10, 11-inning contest to Sacramento on Sunday.  Esmerling Vasquez (2004) allowed the first two batters to reach in the bottom of the 11th after 2 1/3 solid innings of relief. Jordan Norberto (2006) then came on and, after getting a strikeout, allowing a walk and inducing a force out, surrendered a base hit for the walk-off setback.

AAA Reno at Sacramento – Tom Layne (2007) gets the start for the Aces.
AA Mobile – off-day
A Adv. Visalia at San Jose
A South Bend vs. Kane County
SS-A Yakima vs. Tri-City
AZL D-backs vs. AZL Padres
DSL D-backs vs. DSL Twins

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