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2007 Erie Seawolves Diary/Blog

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'Wolves wait out rain before ending slide at Akron

Melian's 3-run double helps SeaWolves stop 4-game losing streak

Published: May 26. 2007 6:00AM

AKRON, Ohio -- Jackson Melian's double helped the Erie SeaWolves end their longest losing streak of the season at four games Friday night.

Melian cleared the bases with a three-run double in the top of the seventh inning. The 'Wolves designated hitter finished with three hits and also walked in Erie's 5-1 victory over Akron before 7,127 at Canal Park.

The 'Wolves had to wait to snap their four-game skid. First pitch was delayed 1 hour, 18 minutes because of rain and took 3:27 to complete, Erie's longest game this season. Melian made it worth the wait with Erie up 2-1. His two-out hit to right-center field barely eluded the glove of Akron center fielder Jon Van Every.

Andres Torres, Clete Thomas and Jeff Larish all scored on the play.

Torres and Erick Almonte each had two hits for the 'Wolves, while Thomas scored twice. Erie starter Jair Jurrjens (2-2) went the first seven innings for the victory.

The 'Wolves scored their first two runs in the top of the fifth. Mike Hollimon was hit by a pitch and scored after consecutive singles by Torres and Thomas.

Larish later drove in Thomas with a single.

Erie scored all its runs off Akron relievers, including two off Nick Pesco (0-1), who took over for J.D. Martin. The Aeros starting pitcher left after 22/3 innings because of stiffness in his elbow.

Jordan Brown had three of Akron's eight hits.

http://goerie.com/baseball

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Aeros top struggling 'Wolves

Published: May 27. 2007 6:00AM

AKRON, Ohio -- The Erie SeaWolves turned three double plays. Jackson Melian got three more hits.

Neither were enough to prevent a loss Saturday night.

Akron's Trevor Crowe drove in an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth inning when Erie could not turn its fourth double play. Crowe totaled two runs batted in and Brian Barton three hits in the Aeros' 3-1 victory before 7,548 at Canal Park.

The 'Wolves (24-22) lost despite another big game from Melian. Erie's designated hitter went 3-for-4 for the second straight night and drove in his fourth run of the series.

Melian's solo home run in the top of the fourth tied the score at 1-all.

Akron answered in the bottom of the inning with the go-ahead run off Erie starter Eulogio De La Cruz (4-4). Jon Van Every tripled with one out and scored on Crowe's single to left.

The Aeros went up by two in the sixth.

Akron (28-19) loaded the bases with one out. Crowe bounced to shortstop Erick Almonte, who flipped to second baseman Mike Hollimon for the second out.

Crowe, though, beat the relay throw to first, which allowed Jordan Brown to score the third run.

Akron's Reid Santos (2-0) picked up the win in relief of starter Scott Lewis. Randy Newsom pitched a perfect ninth for his second save.

Santos and Newsom held Erie hitless over the final four innings. Erie catcher Steve Torrealba was the only player who reached in that span when he walked in the top of the eighth.

Torrealba was hurt in the bottom of that inning when he was struck in the face by the barrel of a broken bat. He was replaced by Joel Roa.

The teams will play today and Monday at 2:05 p.m.

http://goerie.com/baseball

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SeaWolves lose 2nd straight to Aeros

Published: May 28. 2007 6:00AM

AKRON -- The Erie SeaWolves fell 5-3 to Akron in front of 3,455 fans at Canal Park on Sunday and failed to gain any ground on the Southern Division-leading Aeros for the second day in a row.

Akron's Trevor Crowe wiped out an early 2-1 Erie advantage with a two-run double in the bottom of the fourth inning. Kody Kirkland threw out Crowe at home plate on a fielder's choice with one out and caught a pop fly off the bat of Argenis Reyes in foul territory to prevent further damage in the inning.

The Aeros scored a run in both the fifth and sixth innings to increase their lead to 5-2.

Jordan Brown hit a one-out double in the fifth and later scored on a two-out single by Ryan Goleski. Reyes singled, stole second and later scored on a two-out single by Brandon Pinckney in the sixth inning.

Erie cut the deficit to 5-3 in the seventh inning when Kirkland scored on Jackson Melian's two-out double. Melian was thrown out at third base trying to stretch the hit to a triple.

Rich Rundles retired Erie in order in the eighth and ninth innings for his second save of the season.

Crowe had two doubles, and Brown and Ryan Goleski each had two hits for Akron (29-19).

Kirkland had no hits but had two RBIs and a run scored for Erie (24-23).

Erie can split the series with a win today at 2:05 p.m. at Akron.

A victory also would tie the season series at nine games apiece between the teams.

http://goerie.com/baseball

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'Wolves rally to beat Aeros

Published: May 29. 2007 6:00AM

AKRON, Ohio -- The Erie SeaWolves used a four-run fifth inning to beat the Eastern League Southern Division leading Akron Aeros 5-4 in front of more than 9,000 people Monday at Canal Park.

Kody Kirkland led the way for Erie (25-23) with two hits, including a three-run home run in the fifth inning. Erick Almonte had two hits for the 'Wolves.

Jeff Larish drove in the first run for the 'Wolves in the first inning on a single, the third consecutive base hit of the inning.

Shaun Larkin led Akron (29-20) with two hits and three runs batted in, including a two-run homer in the seventh inning to bring the Aeros within one run, 5-4.

Brian Barton also had two hits for Akron.

Jonathan Connolly came in the seventh inning after the home run and pitched a perfect 22/3 innings to earn the save for the SeaWolves.

Dallas Trahern had another strong outing for Erie, throwing 61/3 innings, allowing seven hits and striking out three. Trahern improved to 7-1 with a 2.64 earned run average in nine starts this season.

Erie stopped its two-game slide, but it still has lost six of the past eight games, and had a 3-6 record on the road trip.

The SeaWolves return home to start a three-game series against the Harrisburg Senators today at 6:35 p.m.

http://goerie.com/baseball

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Dandy debut

Miller sharp in first Uht appearance

BY RON LEONARDI

ron.leonardi@timesnews.com [more details]

Published: May 30. 2007 6:00AM

Andrew Miller had just served up a fifth-inning solo homer to Harrisburg second baseman Dan Dement, putting the SeaWolves in a 1-0 hole.

Heading back to the mound, the heralded left-hander, making his home debut with the Erie SeaWolves on Tuesday, could think of only one thing.

"I was looking up at the scoreboard and with the way the other guy (Senators right-hander Jim Magrane) was pitching, I was thinking, 'I can't afford to give up anything more at this point.' "

Miller, the Detroit Tigers' No. 1 draft pick last season, didn't.

He allowed that lone run over seven innings and earned his first Erie win in an 8-1 victory before 2,875 fans at Jerry Uht Park.

"It was pretty good," Miller said of his five-hit performance. "I got behind in some counts, but the guys bailed me out by playing excellent defense."

The SeaWolves (26-23) also broke through for eight runs in their last three innings, including a six-run eighth inning that secured a second straight win.

"It was nice to get out there and pitch in front of the home crowd and get used to the mound and the field here," Miller said. "I certainly can't complain. I enjoyed it. It's hard not to see that left-field porch, but you have to pitch in whatever park you're in, no matter what level. You have to pitch in the conditions you're given."

Miller, a 6-foot 6-inch, 210-pound left-hander, showed good command of his repertoire but was particularly effective throwing his curve consistently for strikes in any count.

He struck out five and walked one, and threw 62 of his 105 pitches for strikes.

"A couple breaking balls got away from me, but the more you throw them, the easier it gets," Miller said. "There were a couple guys there at the end I felt that the curve was the best pitch to throw and I kept going to it."

By the end of the season, Miller, 22, is hoping he can say the same thing about his changeup, which he is working extensively to improve.

"I've been throwing a lot more changeups the last couple outings -- that's basically the focus," Miller said. "There's obviously other things to work on, but I'm throwing more changes and I felt like they got better and that's the goal."

Miller's first two Erie starts came on the road - at Akron on May 12 and at Harrisburg on Thursday. Despite giving up one earned run in those two starts, he came away with no-decisions in each.

In three starts with the SeaWolves, Miller has struck out 17, walked four and allowed just two earned runs and 15 hits in 23 innings.

"He had command of all of his pitches and was getting ahead in the count and pitched well with good rhythm," SeaWolves manager Matt Walbeck said. "I thought (catcher) Joel Roa called a good game back there. I like the way Joel has been catching Miller."

Tuesday's start was Miller's second with Erie since rejoining the club last week. The Gainesville, Fla., native made his first major league start for the Tigers on May 18 and pitched six scoreless innings in a 14-4 win over the St. Louis Cardinals.

Miller made the spot start in place of Detroit right-hander Jeremy Bonderman, who was sidelined with a blister on a finger on his throwing hand.

"That was a lot of fun; that's the dream to get up there and make a major league start," Miller said. "To have the outcome we did and get a win was phenomenal and something I'll never forget. It's something you can't ever take away from me."

RON LEONARDI can be reached at 870-1680 or by e-mail.

http://goerie.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070530/BASEBALL01/705300441/-1/SPORTS

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Joyce's key homer gives 'Wolves win

BY RON LEONARDI

ron.leonardi@timesnews.com [more details]

Published: May 31. 2007 7:00AM

Making the jump to Double-A from low Single-A can be a tough learning curve, and Erie SeaWolves right fielder Matt Joyce has encountered his share of obstacles.

"There's always been slumps and you always go through that as a hitter, but you kind of bounce back from them," Joyce said. "This is one of those things that's lasted a little longer, so I'm still scuffling. I have to grind it out and stay confident and positive."

He didn't have any problem maintaining either Wednesday. His two-run homer in the sixth broke a 4-4 tie and highlighted a four-run inning in Erie's 9-4 win over the Harrisburg Senators before 2,306 fans at Jerry Uht Park.

The SeaWolves (27-23), who trailed 4-0 after 31/2 innings, stretched their winning streak to three games with Joyce's help.

After entering the game with a .187 average, Joyce went 1-for-3 with three RBIs.

His RBI grounder in the fourth pulled the SeaWolves within 4-3. His two-run homer to right-center, which caromed off the scoreboard, put Erie ahead to stay at 6-4 in the sixth.

Last season at low Single-A West Michigan, Joyce hit .258 with 11 homers and a team-leading 86 RBIs in 122 games.

This has been the first season that Joyce admits he has had to learn how to deal with failure more than any other time in his three-year career.

"A lot of times it's been tough and pretty frustrating, and at this level, the talent levels out and it becomes more of a mental game," Joyce said.

"You have to really believe in yourself and have the confidence and the ability to relax and go out there and do what you know you can do."

That hasn't always been easy to do.

"I really have lacked that confidence at times, but I'm starting to get it back," Joyce said. "I feel like I'm learning every day and taking baby steps to get better every day."

Joyce took some extra batting practice early Wednesday afternoon with Erie hitting instructor Glenn Adams and Tigers roving minor league hitting instructor Toby Harrah.

"Matt has failed more than he ever has in the past, and he's had a hard time adapting to that, which is normal," SeaWolves manager Matt Walbeck said. "But I also feel he is going to come around and start swinging the bat."

Erie's offensive production bailed out starter Jair Jurrjens, who struggled with his command. The right-hander gave up nine hits and four runs in 5 2/3innings and limped back to the dugout in the sixth inning after suffering what Walbeck said was a strained groin.

"I threw a pitch and felt a pinch and something strange," Jurrjens said. "I tried to walk it off. I tried to throw the next pitches to see if I could stay in, but I knew I was done."

"We feel he's going to be OK and might be ready to make his next start," Walbeck said. "We'll see how he is (today)."

Jurrjens left with the game tied at 4. Reliever Andrew Kown inherited a 2-2 count on John Suomi and retired the Harrisburg catcher on a flyout to left with a runner on second to end the inning.

Kown (1-3) worked 2 1/3innings of scoreless relief to earn his first Double-A win. His biggest jam came in the eighth. After loading the bases with no outs on an infield single and two walks, Kown struck out three straight to end the threat.

Notes: Erie outfielder Jackson Melian went 0-for-4, ending a six-game hitting streak. ... The SeaWolves improved to 18-7 at home, 7-6 against Harrisburg this season, 5-0 against the Senators at home and 23-21 against Southern Division opponents. ... Erie has yet to lose a home series this season, winning seven series and splitting one at Uht Park. ... Erie right-hander Eulogio De La Cruz (4-4, 3.36) and left-hander John Lannan (1-1, 4.50) are today's probable starters in the final game of the three-game series at 6:35 p.m.

RON LEONARDI can be reached at 870-1680 or by e-mail.

http://goerie.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070531/BASEBALL01/705310477/-1/SPORTS

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Rookie pitcher gets best of 'Wolves

BY RON LEONARDI

ron.leonardi@timesnews.com [more details]

Published: June 01. 2007 7:00AM

A Double-A rookie making his third start helped the last-place Harrisburg Senators finally salvage a win against the Erie SeaWolves at Jerry Uht Park this season.

Lefty John Lannan shut down the SeaWolves on one run and five hits over eight innings in a 6-3 win before 3,334 fans Thursday.

The win was Harrisburg's first against Erie (27-24) in six games at Uht Park this season and evened the season series at 7-7. Erie's win streak ended at three.

Lannan joined the Senators on May 20 and lost his Double-A debut the next day to Erie in a 5-4 decision at Harrisburg's Commerce Bank Park.

Lannan was promoted to Harrisburg (19-34) after a 6-0 start at Single-A Potomac. He is 2-1 with the Senators.

"The one start I had against New Britain on Saturday, I got the win, but I went away from what kind of pitcher I am,"Lannan said. "And the two times I've thrown against Erie, that's what I've basically tried to do - pitch to contact and throw to my strengths and have a good mix,"

In Thursday's win, Lannan allowed just one hit through five innings and retired 13 straight during one stretch.

He lost his shutout in the seventh on Erie catcher Steve Torrealba's two-out, RBI double.

"I had my two-seam fastball working and it was really getting to the lefties," Lannan said. "The ball starts out in the middle and looks like a good pitch, then rides in on their hands. I broke two of (Erie right fielder) Matt Joyce's bats, so I'm pretty sure he thought those balls were right down the middle, and then the ball just creeped up on him."

In his loss to Erie on May 21, Lannan threw well during a seven-inning outing, giving up three runs and five hits.

"He's pitched well against us for two outings and we have yet to figure him out," Erie manager Matt Walbeck said. "He pitches to contact and does all the things you want a starting pitcher to do."

"He's a pretty polished pitcher," Erie second baseman Michael Hollimon said. "He keeps the ball down and mixes it up well. He threw the changeup and curve ball for strikes in hitters' counts. That kept us off-balance."

An atypical shoddy defensive performance by the SeaWolves (they committed four errors) and another subpar start from Eulogio De La Cruz put Erie in a 6-0 deficit in the first four innings.

De La Cruz got roughed up for six runs and six hits in four innings. The right-hander dropped to 4-5 and has gone 0-3 with a no-decision in his last four starts.

"I don't think he had his natural feel," Walbeck said. "He was fighting himself and it showed. It seems like hitters are taking real good swings off him and he might be telegraphing his fastball, which hitters can jump all over. He's just not locating like he was previously. He hasn't quite got his feel back and we're hoping that he can find it."

Despite Thursday's loss, the second-place SeaWolves remained 2 ½ games behind first-place Akron, which lost 5-4 at Altoona Thursday afternoon.

Notes: Erie's 18-8 home record remains the best in the Southern Division. ... Erie is 5-1 against Harrisburg at home, but only 2-6 at Harrisburg. ... The SeaWolves are 23-22 against Southern Division opponents. ... Erie has yet to lose a home series this season, winning seven series and splitting one at Uht Park. ... Joyce was ejected by home plate umpire Chris Bakke in the eighth inning after taking a called third strike. ... Erie first baseman Jeff Larish had a ninth-inning RBI grounder, increasing his league-leading RBI total to 42. ... Center fielder Clete Thomas is the only SeaWolves player to play in all 51 games this season.

RON LEONARDI can be reached at 870-1680 or by e-mail

http://goerie.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070601/BASEBALL01/706010469/-1/SPORTS

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Eastern League preview

Published: June 01. 2007 7:00AM

Erie SeaWolves (27-24) at Binghamton Mets (24-26)

Today-Saturday, 7:05 p.m.

Sunday, 1:05 p.m.

NYSEG Stadium, Binghamton, N.Y.

Radio:WJET-AM/1400

Pitching matchups:

Today: Erie RH Eddie Bonine (4-2, 3.14) vs. Binghamton RH Jose Sanchez (1-3, 4.17)

Saturday: Erie RH Dallas Trahern (7-1, 2.64) vs. Binghamton RH Marcos Carvajal (1-3, 5.05)

Sunday: Erie LH Andrew Miller (1-0, 0.78) vs. Binghamton RH Salvador Aguilar (2-1, 6.57)

Erie notes: The SeaWolves are 9-16 on the road entering their first and only series at Binghamton this season. ... Erie opened its season by winning two of three games against the B-Mets April 9-11 at Jerry Uht Park. ... The SeaWolves have a 4-2 record against Northern Division opponents - 2-1 against the B-Mets and 2-1 against Trenton. Erie has yet to play Connecticut, New Britain, New Hampshire and Portland. ... The SeaWolves on Thursday were second in the league in team pitching with a 3.36 ERA behind Trenton (2.21). ... Right-hander Trahern leads the league in wins with seven and has been ranked among the top 10 in ERA all season. ... Lefty Miller has been superb for Erie in his three starts, limiting opponents to two runs and 15 hits in 23 innings. Miller earned his first SeaWolves win on Tuesday, throwing seven innings and allowing one run in an 8-1 home win over Harrisburg.

Binghamton notes: The B-Mets have been the league's hottest team over the past two weeks, winning 11 of their past 15. ... Binghamton is 10-4 in its past 14 road games after losing 12 of its first 15 road games. ... First baseman Brett Harper had a 21-game hitting streak end Thursday. ...Eight Binghamton players are ranked among the New York Mets' top 30 prospects by Baseball America: outfielder Fernando Martinez (2), right-hander Kevin Mulvey (6), first baseman Mike Carp (8), Harper (14), shortstop Jose Coronado (16), right-hander Mike Devaney (25), catcher Mike Nickeas (27) and outfielder Corey Coles (30). ... In the seventh inning of a 5-2 win over Connecticut on May 23, the B-Mets turned a triple play and hit a grand slam. ... The B-Mets are 11-10 at home.

http://goerie.com/baseball

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Mets outslug 'Wolves

Binghamton home runin 8th sinks Erie

Published: June 02. 2007 6:00AM

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. -- Erie relief pitcher Jon Connolly allowed only one hit in four innings of relief against Binghamton on Friday.

It was one hit too many.

Mets third baseman Mark Kiger hit a solo home run off Connolly with one out in the bottom of the eighth inning. Kiger's second homer of the season was the difference in Binghamton's 8-7 victory before 6,327 at NYSEG Stadium.

Erie played its first game without Matt Walbeck in the dugout. The 'Wolves manager flew home to California to be with his wife, who was due to deliver their third child today.

Kiger crushed the first pitch he saw from Connolly in the eighth for the decisive run. It was the only hit Connolly (2-3) allowed after he took over for Erie starter Eddie Bonine.

Kiger's homer was the last of three that were hit in the game.

Erie rallied from an early 5-0 deficit in the top of the third. The 'Wolves batted around for six runs, highlighted by Mike Hollimon's three-run homer and Jeff Larish's two-run homer off Binghamton starter Jose Sanchez.

Larish's homer was his 10th of the season.

Mets reliever Tim McNab (5-0) allowed Erie to tie the score at 7-all in the top of the seventh on Hollimon's RBI single, but picked up the victory thanks to Kiger's homer. Carlos Muniz retired the side in the ninth for his eighth save.

While the 'Wolves and Mets combined for 15 runs and 22 hits, Bowie Baysox right-hander Radhames Liz no-hit the visiting Harrisburg Senators. Liz walked three and struck out eight in Bowie's 5-0 victory.

http://goerie.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070602/BASEBALL01/706020414/-1/SPORTS

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Late HR gives 'Wolves victory

Published: June 03. 2007 6:00AM

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. -- Stephenie Walbeck, the wife of Erie SeaWolves manager Matt Walbeck, gave birth to the couple's third child Saturday. That announcement was made during the seventh inning of Erie's game at Binghamton.

An inning later, it was Mike Hollimon's turn to deliver.

Hollimon hit a two-run home run with two outs in the top of the eighth inning. His second homer of the series was the difference in Erie's 3-1 victory over the Mets before 3,332 at NYSEG Stadium.

The game ended when Erie catcher Steve Torrealba picked off the Mets' Fernando Martinez at second base. Martinez and Caleb Stewart reached to open the bottom of the ninth, but Torrealba caught Martinez straying with two outs and the winning run at the plate.

Eighth-inning homers have determined the first two games of the three-game series. Mark Kiger won it for the Mets with a solo homer in Friday's game.

It was Erie's turn Saturday.

With the game tied at 1-1, the 'Wolves' Pedro Cotto singled with two outs off Binghamton reliever Joseph Serfass (3-1). Hollimon followed with a drive that just cleared the right-field fence.

Hollimon finished with two hits and scored twice.

Erie's Matt Rusch pitched the ninth for his third save. Rush came on for Dallas Trahern (8-1), who went the first eight innings for the 'Wolves.

Trahern became the Eastern League's first eight-game winner.

The right-hander walked one, struck out six and allowed six hits, including the Mets' lone run.

Binghamton tied the score in the sixth on Wilson Batista's RBI single.

Erie took a 1-0 lead in its first at-bat when Hollimon led off with a single and scored on Jeff Larish's double. Larish doubled twice and finished with three hits.

http://goerie.com/baseball

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I do love the Big 3 of Miller, Trahern, & Jurrjens

Really nice. Enjoy 'em Erie, while you have them all.

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'Wolves' Miller muzzles Mets

Prized prospect leads Erie to shutout victory

Published: June 04. 2007 6:00AM

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. -- As his run support grew, Andrew Miller's earned-run average continued to shrink.

Miller, the Detroit Tigers' top draft pick last year, pitched 72/3 innings of shutout ball for the Erie SeaWolves on Sunday. He combined with Anthony Tomey to blank the Mets 6-0 before 3,011 at NYSEG Stadium.

The 'Wolves won two of three in the weekend series thanks to Miller (2-0). In his fourth start for Erie, the left-hander lowered his ERA to 0.59.

Miller gave up all seven Binghamton hits, but never allowed a runner past second base. He walked one, struck out seven and also picked off Corey Coles after Coles got the Mets' first hit.

It was the 'Wolves' third shutout victory this season and their first since they beat Harrisburg 2-0 May 4.

Erie scored its runs between the fifth and seventh innings.

Andres Torres put the 'Wolves up for good in the fifth with a two-run single off the Mets' Salvador Aguilar (2-2). Joel Roa capped Erie's three-run sixth with his second home run of the season, a solo shot off reliever Robert Paulk.

The 'Wolves made it 6-0 in the seventh when Erick Almonte's second double of the game scored Michael Hollimon. Almonte, Torres and Roa each had two hits and two RBIs.

Mark Kiger, Robinson Cancel and Coles each had two hits for the Mets.

Erie begins a six-game homestand Tuesday against the Portland Sea Dogs. 'Wolves manager Matt Walbeck, who flew to California over the weekend for the birth of his third child, is expected to return to the team in the middle of the week.

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New baby for Wally & Stephanie Walbeck...sincere congratulations on the birth of their daughter Tatum Aileen Walbeck. Ironically, her father wears number 8 and she was born a healthy 8 lbs, 8 oz..... Brother Luke & big sister Olivia....

Congratulations....

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SeaWolves' relievers take charge as Erie wins opener vs. Sea Dogs

BY RON LEONARDI

ron.leonardi@timesnews.com [more details]

Published: June 06. 2007 6:00AM

Undermanned and underachieving the last couple weeks, the SeaWolves' bullpen has endured its share of tough outings.

In Tuesday's 8-5 victory over the Portland Sea Dogs at Jerry Uht Park, Erie's relief corps threw perhaps the best it has this season.

Four Erie relievers - right-handers Matt Righter, Matt Rusch and Alan Mills, and lefty Ian Ostlund - combined to hold the Sea Dogs (27-25) scoreless on no hits over 51/3 innings.

The SeaWolves (30-25), playing before a crowd of 2,192, extended their winning streak to three games and improved to 7-3 against Eastern League Northern Division teams this season.

Mills, 40, joined the SeaWolves earlier Tuesday after recently signing a minor league contract with the Detroit Tigers.

Mills, who last pitched in 2001 with the Baltimore Orioles, pitched a scoreless ninth to earn the save. Mills hit a batter and walked one but retired the final two hitters to preserve the win.

"It was good to see him out there because it's been a long time for him," SeaWolves pitching coach A.J. Sager said. "He's worked hard to get to this point and got a chance to close a game and did the job. That's a long layoff. I talked to him after the game. He's been to the big leagues and has done a lot, but he still had some nerves because he hasn't been out there in a long time."

Righter (2-1) earned the win with 21/3 innings of scoreless, hitless relief. Ostlund threw a scoreless seventh inning and Rusch a scoreless eighth inning.

"It started with Righter stabilizing the game," Sager said. "The guys who came in behind him kept putting up zeros. We haven't had to call on our relievers very early a lot this year and I was glad to see that the time we did, they stepped up and did the job."

Erie left-hander Jon Connolly returned to the starting rotation Tuesday after spending nearly two weeks in the bullpen and had one of his poorer starts this season. He worked 3 2/3 innings and gave up five runs and nine hits.

First baseman Jeff Larish and shortstop Erick Almonte combined for six RBIs.

Larish's three-run homer highlighted a five-run third inning. Almonte went 2-for-4 and drove in three runs on a pair of singles. Erie scored its final three runs with two out.

Trailing 2-0, the SeaWolves roughed up Portland lefty Tommy Hottovy (1-7) in the third. Almonte's RBI single ignited the five-run inning. Larish drilled a three-run homer to right-center and third baseman Kody Kirkland added a solo homer to left.

Larish's homer, his 11th, tied him for the league lead in that category and increased his league-high RBI total to 48. Larish and Kirkland homered back-to-back, the first time this season the SeaWolves have done that.

Notes: Erie right-hander Eddie Bonine (4-2, 3.96) and Portland right-hander Charlie Zink (4-2, 2.63) are today's scheduled starters in the second game of the three-game series at 7:05 p.m. ... Portland began a six-game road trip with Tuesday's game. ... The Sea Dogs have not lost a series since losing three of four at Trenton on May 21-24.

http://goerie.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070606/BASEBALL01/706060449/-1/SPORTS

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'Wolves get former big leaguer

BY RON LEONARDI

ron.leonardi@timesnews.com [more details]

Published: June 06. 2007 6:00AM

The Detroit Tigers have signed former major league pitcher Alan Mills to a minor league contract and assigned him to the SeaWolves.

Mills, 40, who last pitched with the Baltimore Orioles in 2001, joined the club Tuesday.

"I was retired and I've always enjoyed the game," said Mills, a 6-foot 1-inch, 195-pound right-hander. "I don't want to say the things I retired for kind of changed, but the window of opportunity to play again was closing, so I thought I'd give it a shot."

Mills, who lives near Lakeland, Fla., had a spring training tryout with Tigers' minor league pitching coordinator Jon Matlack and recently threw again for Matlack.

"Whatever role I have, that's what I have to do," Mills said. "I'm not here to do anything else but try to help the ballclub in whatever way that is."

SeaWolves pitching coach A.J. Sager said Mills will handle a closing role.

"We'll try and get him out there and make sure he didn't waste his time coming up to Double-A baseball," Sager said. "He'll get a chance to pitch and we'll see how his arm recovers."

The SeaWolves have lacked a legitimate closer all season.

"I think he can be a big influence on the guys in the bullpen, on the staff and on the team," Sager said. "His arm works and he knows what he's doing. The Tigers are excited about his character, and I don't think he's here just to influence the other guys, but to pitch and get guys out like everybody else. It's good to know you have a guy like that in the bullpen."

Mills was selected by the California Angels in the first round of the 1986 amateur draft and spent 12 years in the major leagues from 1990-2001.

He pitched with the New York Yankees in 1990-91, with the Orioles from 1992-98 and 2000-01, and with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1999-2000. He appeared in 474 major league games, all but five in relief, and posted a 39-32 record and a 4.12 ERA.

Mills split his 2001 season between Baltimore and Bowie.

RON LEONARDI can be reached at 870-1680 or by -email.

http://goerie.com/baseball

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'Wolves' win streak ends at 3

BY RON LEONARDI

ron.leonardi@timesnews.com [more details]

Published: June 07. 2007 7:00AM

Knuckleballer Charlie Zink won his third straight start and helped the Portland Sea Dogs even their three-game series against the SeaWolves at one game apiece in Wednesday's 8-4 win at Jerry Uht Park.

Zink allowed one run over five innings as the Sea Dogs (28-25) ended Erie's three-game winning streak in front of 2,064 fans.

Portland built a 5-1 lead in the first four innings and put the game out of reach with a three-run eighth after the SeaWolves (30-26) had cut the deficit to 5-4 in the seventh.

Sloppy play early helped put the SeaWolves in a hole. Portland shortstop Jed Lowrie doubled with one out in the first, went to third on a passed ball and scored on a wild pitch.

Lowrie went 2-for-5 and extended his on-base streak to 35 consecutive games.

In the bottom of the first, the SeaWolves committed two baserunning blunders. Center fielder Clete Thomas, who had doubled leading off, was thrown out at third on a comebacker to the mound, and outfielder Andres Torres was picked off at first by Zink.

"It was not really good baseball early," SeaWolves manager Matt Walbeck said. "We gave away two outs in the first inning. After that, we were able to put together one good inning, but it was one of those games where we were playing catch up from the beginning and never really got anything going."

Zink (5-1) struck out four, walked three and allowed four hits over five innings.

"That was our first knuckleballer we faced this season and they generally give hitters fits," Walbeck said. "They always have. There aren't that many out there. It's just an adjustment that needs to be made."

Erie pulled within 5-4 in the seventh inning on Torres' two-run triple off of right-handed reliever Barry Hertzler.

With two out, the Sea Dogs went to right-hander Beau Vaughan, who came in and struck out SeaWolves first baseman Jeff Larish to end the threat. Larish and Vaughan were college teammates at Arizona State.

RON LEONARDI can be reached at 870-1680 or by e-mail.

http://goerie.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070607/BASEBALL01/706070450/-1/SPORTS

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Miller heading back to major leagues

BY RON LEONARDI

ron.leonardi@timesnews.com [more details]

Published: June 07. 2007 7:00AM

Andrew Miller grew up in Gainesville, Fla., following the Atlanta Braves and admiring left-hander Tom Glavine.

The SeaWolves' left-hander will get an opportunity Sunday to pitch against the future Hall of Famer.

The Detroit Tigers recalled Miller, their 2006 No. 1 draft pick, Wednesday and will give him a start Sunday against the New York Mets and Glavine in a 1:05 p.m. home game at Comerica Park.

"What is Glavine - six or seven (actually, five) wins away from 300 career wins?" Miller asked after Erie's 8-4 home loss to the Portland Sea Dogs on Wednesday at Jerry Uht Park.

"Growing up, I watched the Braves all the time on television and Glavine when he was with the Braves," Miller said. "He's one of the greatest ever, especially left-handers. He's got to be in that discussion, but I can't worry about who I'm facing or who's pitching on the other side of the field. I just have to worry about getting hitters out."

Sunday's start will be his second for the Tigers this season. Miller, 22, will take the roster spot of Tigers' left-hander Nate Robertson, who was placed on the disabled list Wednesday because of a tired arm.

Miller made a spot start for the Tigers on May 18 and threw six scoreless innings in a 14-4 win over the St. Louis Cardinals. He made that start in place of Detroit right-hander Jeremy Bonderman, who was sidelined with a blister on a finger on his throwing hand. Miller also made several relief outings with the Tigers during a September call-up last season.

"Every pitch you throw in the major leagues you learn so much from," Miller said. "The outings with Detroit last year and the start with the Tigers I got a few weeks ago makes it easier every time out - at least you like to think it does. You're starting to get past the nerves a little bit, but they're always going to be there to an extent. At the same time, you start to get a little more comfortable and you realize you can pitch up there and are capable."

Miller is 2-0 with a 0.59 ERA in four starts with the SeaWolves and has allowed just two earned runs in 302/3 innings with 24 strikeouts and five walks. Opponents were hitting .208 off of him. He has won his past two Erie starts.

Miller was scheduled to start for Erie on Saturday against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats at Jerry Uht Park. His only start at Jerry Uht Park came last week in an 8-1win over Harrisburg.

"Dominant is a good word to use to describe him since he's been with our club," SeaWolves manager Matt Walbeck said.

"He's been able to command three pitches - his fastball, curve and changeup. He has very good mound presence and composure, and on top of everything else, he's athletic and a good fielder. He definitely has all the tools and he knows how to use them."

In his last Erie start, Miller threw 72/3 scoreless innings in a 6-0 win at Binghamton on Sunday.

His promotion further hurts a once formidable Erie rotation that has been depleted in the last week by the loss of right-handers Eulogio De La Cruz (promotion) and Jair Jurrjens (injury).

RON LEONARDI can be reached at 870-1680 or by e-mail.

De La Cruz was promoted to Triple-A Toledo and Jurrjens was assigned to Lakeland, Fla., to rehab a strained groin.

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'Wolves rally for win

BY RON LEONARDI

ron.leonardi@timesnews.com

Published: June 08. 2007 7:00AM

The Erie SeaWolves have yet to lose a home series this season.

It took seven two-out RBIs to help keep that streak alive Thursday.

Down 8-5 after seven innings, the SeaWolves rallied with two runs in the eighth and two in the ninth to defeat the Portland Sea Dogs 9-8 before a season-high 4,972 fans at Jerry Uht Park.

Erie left fielder Jackson Melian, who went 3-for-5 with two RBIs, doubled in the tying run in the ninth before Portland right-hander Michael James walked SeaWolves center fielder Clete Thomas with the bases loaded to force in the winning run.

The second-place SeaWolves (31-26) moved within 2½ games of first-place Akron in the Southern Division. Akron lost an 11-3 home decision to New Hampshire Thursday.

"This one feels good,"Melian said.

"We didn't have a hit from the second to the eighth inning, but that's why you play nine innings. You have to go hard for 27 outs. In the ninth, I was trying to keep our rally going. I had a two-strike count and I got a fastball inside."

Melian's three-hit game raised his average to .305 (46-for-151) in 43 games.

Erie's ninth inning began with outfielder Andres Torres and designated hitter Erick Almonte drawing back-to-back walks. Both would score.

"We never gave up and I'm just glad that we won," SeaWolves manager Matt Walbeck said. "Torres got the walk and Almonte battled to grind and get another. Melian clutched up and put one straight down the left field line."

By rallying for the win, the SeaWolves won the three-game series, 2-1. Erie has won eight of nine home series and split one this season. Erie's 20-9 home record is the best in the Southern Division.

Erie built a 5-0 lead in the first two innings. Melian's RBI single in the first started the scoring. Almonte put the SeaWolves up 5-0 with a two-out grand slam to left in the second inning. He went 2-for-3 with four RBIs and three runs scored.

The Tigers signed Almonte to a minor league contract and added him to Erie's roster on May 16. Since then, he's hit .325 (25-for-77) in 21 games.

After Almonte's third homer, Erie was held without a hit until Melian singled to center with one out in the eighth off of Sea Dogs lefty Andrew Dobies. In between hits, Portland scored eight straight runs, capped by designated hitter Jeff Natale's three-run homer in the eighth, which broke a 5-5 tie.

Erie pulled within 8-7 in the eighth on shortstop Nick McIntyre's two-run single to right-center.

Notes: Almonte's grand slam was the club's first this season. The SeaWolves had one grand slam in 2006, from third baseman Kody Kirkland. ... Erie's previous highest single-game home attendance this season was 4,326 against Trenton on May 17. ... Erie center fielder Clete Thomas threw out Portland second baseman Iggy Suarez at the plate to end the third inning. Suarez tried to score from second on Jed Lowrie's single. ... Lowrie's single extended his streak of reaching base safely to 36 straight games.

RON LEONARDI can be reached at 870-1680 or by e-ma

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SeaWolves preview

New Hampshire Fisher Cats (29-27) at Erie SeaWolves (31-26)

Today-Saturday, 7:05 p.m.; Sunday, 1:05 p.m.

Pitching matchups:

Today: Right-hander Dallas Trahern (8-1, 2.45) vs. New Hampshire RH Jesse Litsch (5-2, 1.24)

Saturday: Erie RH Jeff Gerbe (0-0, 0.00) vs. New Hampshire LH Kurt Isenberg (1-2, 4.75).

Sunday: Erie LH Jon Connolly (2-3, 3.93) vs. New Hampshire RH Yusaku Iriki (0-3, 8.31).

New Hampshire notes: The Fisher Cats currently are 2-5 on a season-long 10-day road trip. They began the trip by losing three of four games last weekend at New Britain, then lost the first two games of a three-game series at Akron that concluded Thursday. ... New Hampshire broke a four-game losing streak with Thursday's 11-3 win. ... Shortstop Sergio Santos hit his Eastern League-leading 12th homer in Wednesday's 10-4 loss at Akron. ... Right-hander Litsch, 22, rejoined the Fisher Cats' starting rotation last week after four starts with the Toronto Blue Jays. Litsch made his major league debut on May 15 and beat the Baltimore Orioles 2-1 at the Rogers Centre in Toronto. He held the Orioles to four hits over 82/3 innings. At the time of his major league promotion, Litsch was leading the Eastern League in wins (five) and EA (0.96). ... Toronto Blue Jays right-hander Brandon League made a second rehab appearance with New Hampshire on Wednesday and was scheduled to complete his rehab assignment with one inning of relief against Akron on Thursday. ... Seven players on New Hampshire's roster are ranked among the Toronto Blue Jays' top 30 minor league prospects by Baseball America: Outfielder Ryan Patterson (4), Litsch (8), left-hander David Purcey (9), right-hander Kyle Yates (15), third baseman Rob Cosby (16), first baseman Chip Cannon and catcher Robinzon Diaz (28).

Erie notes: The SeaWolves have yet to lose a home series this season after rallying for a 9-8 victory over Portland on Thursday to win the three-game series, 2-1. The SeaWolves have played nine home series this season, winning eight and tying one. ... Erie is 8-4 against Northern Division opponents. ... Erie and New Hampshire meet for the first time this season and will conclude their six-game season series with a three-game series at New Hampshire next week. ... Trahern leads the Eastern League with eight wins. In his last outing, on Saturday, Trahern pitched eight innings, tying his season high, in a 3-1 win at Binghamton. He allowed one run on six hits and tied his season high with six strikeouts. Trahern is 3-0 with a no-decision in four starts since rejoining Erie after making a spot start for Triple-A Toledo on May 12. ... Right-hander Gerbe was promoted to Erie from low Single-A West Michigan on Thursday and will make his Double-A debut Saturday in a starting assignment. He will start in place of Erie lefty Andrew Miller, who was recalled by the Detroit Tigers on Wednesday to make a start against the New York Mets on Sunday. Miller allowed just two earned runs and 22 hits in his four Erie starts totaling 302/3 innings. He had 24 strikeouts and five walks.

-- Ron Leonardi

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Pitchers shuffle through Tigers' system

By Ron Leonardi

ron.leonardi@timesnews.com

Less than a week after solidifying their bullpen with the addition of their two most effective relievers, the SeaWolves find themselves in a similar situation with their relief corps.

Left-hander Ian Ostlund and right-hander Anthony Tomey were promoted once again to Triple-A Toledo on Thursday, marking Ostlund's third callup to the Mud Hens this season and Tomey's second.

In other player moves Thursday, the Detroit Tigers assigned West Michigan right-handers Jeff Gerbe and Randor Bierd, and Lakeland right-hander Brendan Wise to the SeaWolves.

Ostlund (0-0, 0.97, seven games) and Tomey (1-0, 2.45, 10 games) were reassigned to Erie from Toledo last weekend.

Their Triple-A promotions were precipitated by the Tigers' decision on Thursday to recall Toledo right-handers Aquilino Lopez and Yorman Bazardo. Detroit placed left-hander Nate Robertson and right-hander Zach Miner on the 15-day disabled list Thursday.

Gerbe, 22, in his second season of professional ball, will make his Double-A debut Saturday at Jerry Uht Park. He is scheduled to start against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats in place of left-hander Andrew Miller, who has been promoted to the Tigers to start Sunday against the New York Mets at Comerica Park. Gerbe was drafted by the Tigers last year in the 16th round out of Michigan State. He pitched for short-season Oneonta in 2006. Gerbe was 1-0 with a 1.26 ERA in 12 games at West Michigan this season. He made two starts for the Whitecaps.

"He throws 94 mph and has been doing the job at West Michigan," SeaWolves manager Matt Walbeck said.

In 35 2/3 innings with West Michigan this season, Gerbe struck out 18, walked six and allowed five earned runs and 24 hits.

Walbeck said Bierd and Wise will handle bullpen roles.

Bierd, 23, will be making his second appearance with the SeaWolves. He went 1-3 with a 5.40 ERA in four starts with the SeaWolves in 2005, his lone win coming in his Double-A debut at Jerry Uht Park.

At West Michigan this season, Bierd, a fifth-year pro, was 1-1 with a 2.05 ERA in 15 relief outings. He allowed five earned runs and 17 hits in 22 innings with 29 strikeouts and six walks.

Wise, 21, pitched for the Gulf Coast Rookie League Tigers in 2005 and short-season Oneonta last season. A native of Perth, Australia, Wise was 0-0 with a 0.93 ERA in seven games with Lakeland this season, all in relief. He pitched 92/3 innings, allowing one earned run and seven hits.

RON LEONARDI can be reached at 870-1680 or by e-mail.

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Until JJ gets back from rehab in regards to Gerbe

and until Bazardo/Lopez goes back to Toledo (when Miller is called up on Sunday), which will bump Tomey or Ostlund back to Erie and probably Wise back to Lakeland.

Still, a nice opp for them. It helps that WM is a lot closer to Erie (@ home) than Lakeland.

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Early deficit dooms 'Wolves at Uht

Fisher Cats rough up Trahern for 6 in first; Erie's rally bid stalls

BY RON LEONARDI

ron.leonardi@timesnews.com [more details]

Published: June 09. 2007 6:00AM

Dallas Trahern didn't have any excuses.

The Eastern League wins leader simply didn't have it for the SeaWolves in Friday's 8-4 loss to the New Hampshire Fisher Cats in the opener of a three-game series before 2,208 fans at Jerry Uht Park.

Trahern entered Friday's start with an 8-1 record and 2.45 ERA, but the right-handed sinkerballer suffered through a nightmarish first inning.

New Hampshire (30-27) roughed up Trahern for six runs on six hits and put the SeaWolves (31-27) in an early hole they could not recover from.

"I left the ball up and did not execute my pitches," said Trahern, who gave up 12 hits and eight runs over 52/3 innings. "These guys got on a roll and, when you don't stop the bleeding, they can put up some runs. I didn't make the pitches I needed to when I needed to and when you leave the ball up, they're going to hit it."

Trahern also walked one and hit a batter to go along with the six hits allowed in the first inning.

"It was one of those nights," Trahern said. "I'm going to think about it tonight and take the positive things out of it and the bad things and think about what I can do better next time out."

Trahern allowed an infield single and walk in the first inning before Fisher Cats third baseman Rob Cosby drilled a three-run homer to left-center. New Hampshire left fielder Ryan Klosterman added an RBI single and second baseman Juan Peralta a two-run single.

Entering Friday's game, Trahern had gone 3-0 with a no-decision in his previous four starts.

"He didn't have it tonight, but I liked how he went about things," SeaWolves manager Matt Walbeck said. "He settled down and saved our bullpen. What makes him valuable is when he doesn't have it, he can still compete."

Scoring single runs in each of the first four innings, Erie got as close as 7-4. SeaWolves second baseman Michael Hollimon went 4-for-5 with a pair of RBI doubles and a run scored.

Right-hander Brendan Wise joined the SeaWolves on Friday from Single-A Lakeland and pitched a scorless eighth inning in his Double-A debut. The native of Perth, Australia, struck out one and walked one.

First-place Akron lost a 7-1 home decision to Portland on Friday, leaving the second-place SeaWolves 2 ½ games behind the Aeros in the Southern Division.

If the SeaWolves hope to keep their streak of not losing a home series this season intact, they'll need wins over the Fisher Cats today and Sunday.

Notes: SeaWolves batboy Quinn Hammerman, working the visitor's side in Friday's game, was struck in the mouth in the top of the second inning as New Hampshire center fielder Dustin Majewski swung his bat in the on-deck circle.

"He was behind me and came out of the dugout steps at the same time I was swinging," said Majewski, a left-handed hitter. "I caught him on the back swing. The on-deck circle is so close to the dugout. I felt him coming behind me and I slowed up but I couldn't stop it."

Hammerman left the game after receiving medical attention from paramedics in the New Hampshire dugout. His condition after the game was unknown.

"The kid was tough," Majewski said. "He stood there and took it. The first thing he said to me was, 'I'm sorry.' I said, 'Dude, I'm sorry.' He took it like a champ the way he stood up. I know he lost one tooth for sure, so hopefully everything else is OK."

RON LEONARDI can be reached at 870-1680 or by e-mail.

http://goerie.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070609/BASEBALL01/706090444/-1/SPORTS

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SeaWolves notes

Published: June 09. 2007 6:00AM

Left-hander Andrew Miller will remain on Erie's roster until Sunday, when he is scheduled to make his second spot start this season for the Detroit Tigers. Miller (2-0, 0.59), who has dominated Eastern League hitters in four starts for the SeaWolvves, will face the New York Mets on Sunday at 1:05 p.m. at Comerica Park.

"I like the way I'm throwing the ball right now, but at the same time, the big leagues are a different level," Miller said. "My feeling is if I keep throwing the way I am, good things will happen, hopefully. It doesn't get any better than pitching against major league hitters."

Miller will report to the Tigers today.

Right-handed reliever Brendan Wise was added to Erie's roster on Friday from Single-A Lakeland.

West Michigan right-hander Jeff Gerbe was assigned to the SeaWolves on Thursday and is scheduled to start tonight against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats in his Double-A debut. Gerbe will be added to Erie's roster today.

Gerbe, 22, pitched at Michigan State and was selected by the Tigers in the 16th round of the June 2006 draft. He spent last season at short-season Oneonta, finishing 1-4 with a 5.08 ERA in eight starts.

Gerbe was 1-0 with a 1.26 ERA in 12 games, including two starts, at West Michigan this season.

The SeaWolves will add West Michigan right-hander Randor Bierd to their roster on Sunday. Wise and Bierd will handled bullpen roles.

Former SeaWolves pitcher Eulogio De La Cruz pitched two scoreless innings and earned the win for the Toledo Mud Hens in a 5-2 home victory on Thursday at Fifth Third Field. He gave up one hit. De La Cruz, a starter with Erie, was promoted to the Mud Hens last week.

Left-hander Ian Ostlund, who was recalled to Toledo from the SeaWolves earlier Thursday, threw two scoreless innings against Syracuse, allowing one hit.

When SeaWolves reliever Anthony Tomey (1-0, 2.45) gave up a three-run homer in the eighth inning of Thursday's home game against Portland, it marked the first runs Tomey had allowed with Erie this season in 11 innings and 10 appearances.

Tomey's tough outing was short-lived. He got a no-decision after Erie rallied for a 9-8 win. Then, after the game, he was notified of a Triple-A promotion to Toledo, his second call-up to the Mud Hens this season.

Toledo right-hander Virgil Vasquez entered his scheduled Friday start against the Syracuse Chiefs second in the International League with 71 strikeouts, four behind Durham's Jason Hammel.

Vasquez, who pitched with Erie in 2005-06, took a 7-2 record and 4.02 ERA into his Friday start.

-- Ron Leonardi

http://goerie.com/baseball

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SeaWolves falter in 11th

BY RON LEONARDI

ron.leonardi@timesnews.com [more details]

Published: June 10. 2007 6:00AM

A key mental mistake early in the game and a lack of clutch hitting contributed to the SeaWolves' first two-game home losing streak this season.

The New Hampshire Fisher Cats erupted for five two-out runs in the 10th inning Saturday to defeat Erie 7-2 before a season-high 5,862 fans at Jerry Uht Park.

New Hampshire shortstop Sergio Santos broke the 2-2 tie with a two-out, two-run double down the left-field line on an 0-2 pitch from Erie reliever Matt Rusch in the 10th.

New Hampshire third baseman Ron Cosby followed with an RBI bloop single to center before first baseman Chip Cannon capped the big inning with a two-run homer to right-center.

The loss dropped the SeaWolves to 31-28. It also marked the club's first home series loss this season after winning eight and splitting one in their first nine series at Uht Park. New Hampshire won Friday's opening game of the three-game series 8-4.

The SeaWolves produced 10 hits in Saturday's loss, but lacked a clutch hit in the fifth and sixth innings, when they left the bases loaded in each inning.

"We're sitting here worrying about 0-2 pitches and mental mistakes, when the bottom line is we only scored two runs, and if you score two runs, you're going to lose the game most of the time," Walbeck said. "Quite frankly, we need to swing the bats a little bit better and on more of a consistent basis. When you score two runs, you start to point fingers at things you shouldn't."

The SeaWolves stranded 14 runners.

"We had a couple chances to get the go-ahead run," Erie right fielder Matt Joyce said. "I came up (in the sixth inning) with a couple runners on and nobody out. We took a gamble and had me hit away (he struck out). You don't always get the big hit you need and tonight we didn't."

Erie's mental mistake came in the top of the second and cost the SeaWolves a run.

With Erie leading 1-0, the Fisher Cats had runners on first and third with one out.

Fisher Cats left fielder David Smith hit a hard double-play grounder to Erie shortstop Nick McIntyre. He flipped to second baseman Michael Hollimon for the forceout at second. Hollimon then began jogging toward the dugout, thinking the inning was over, as Cosby scored the tying run from third.

"You could look at that, but you could also look at the fact that we didn't get any hits with the bases loaded," Walbeck said. "I'm not going to point any fingers at Michael Hollimon. The guy has done everything he possibly can for this team, and to have one mistake like that, you can't throw a loss on anybody's shoulders like that. It wouldn't be fair for me to accuse anyone of costing anybody a game."

Hollimon went 2-for-6 and scored Erie's first run, in the first inning. He was 4-for-5 with two RBI doubles in Friday's loss.

"I think he just had a brain cramp," Walbeck said. "Baseball is a funny game."

The Fisher Cats grabbed a 2-1 lead in the fifth on second baseman Ryan Klosterman's RBI single, but the SeaWolves tied it in the bottom of the inning on Joyce's leadoff homer to right-center.

Saturday's game marked the Double-A debut of Erie right-hander Jeff Gerbe, who was assigned to the SeaWolves from low Single-A West Michigan earlier in the week. Gerbe worked six solid innings, scattering six hits and allowing two runs. He struck out four and walked one.

Gerbe started in place of lefty Andrew Miller, who will start today for the Detroit Tigers against the New York Mets at Comerica Park.

Notes: The Fisher Cats summoned right-hander Brandon League to start the eighth inning of Saturday's game. League, on a rehabilitation assignment from the Toronto Blue Jays, pitched two scoreless, hitless innings to earn the win. ... Erie and New Hampshire conclude their three-game series today at 1:05 p.m. at Uht Park. Today's scheduled starters are Erie left-hander Jon Connolly (2-3, 3.93) and New Hampshire right-hander Yusaku Iriki (0-3, 8.31). ... The SeaWolves are off Monday, then begin a six-game road trip Tuesday with the opener of a three-game series at Portland.

RON LEONARDI can be reached at 870-1680 or by e-mail.

http://goerie.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070610/BASEBALL01/706100570/-1/SPORTS

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