Pensacola was down 2-0 before riding a five run sixth inning to a 5-2 win at Birmingham last night. Andrew Means had two of the Wahoos six hits. In baseball sometimes timing is everything because the Wahoos only had four baserunners outside of their one productive inning. On the mound Tim Crabbe allowed two runs on two hits in five innings. He battled control issues while walking six and striking out six, but still picked up third win and brought his ERA below four on the season. Their bullpen combined for four scoreless innings ended by Donnie Joseph retiring all four batters faced for his thirteenth save.
The rally was started with an infield hit by leadoff batter Ryan LaMarre. He stole second and went to third on a single by Brodie Greene. Josh Fellhauer then walked to load the bases. LaMarre scored the first run when Joel Guzman reached on an error. The game was tied when David Vidal drove in a run by getting hit by a pitch. The big hit of inning was a Yordanys Perez double that cleared the bases.
Means has been swinging a hot bat all season long. He’s hit .358 in 22 games since a promotion from Bakersfield and .322 overall this season. He’s hit a couple of home runs for Pensacola and is slugging .491. The outfielder is a free swinger, walking only once in 55 plate appearances at the AA level. In spite of that he’s made good contact and struck out only seven times. Though he only has two stolen bases this season he has shown that there is speed in his game when he swiped 37 at Bakersfield last year.
Defensively he’s played all three outfield positions with most of that action in center and right. He’s shown a strong arm in center by gunning down twelve runners in 134 games. While playing up the middle he’s run down more than 2.5 putouts per game indicating good range, which is not surprising for someone with his speed. He has committed eleven errors in 278 total games over five years and has a fielding percentage of .981.
Means came into the Cincinnati organization in 2008 when they selected him in the eleventh round out of Indiana University. While in college he was also a wide receiver for the Hoosier’s football team where he caught over 100 passes and 1,000 yards in three seasons. Prior to college he starred at Avon Lake (OH) High School, posting a .431 average his senior season and going 35-35 on stolen bases. He also helped Avon’s football team to an undefeated season and a state championship.
Means is listed at 6’1”/215# and bats/throws right-handed. After toiling in the Reds development system for five years he may now be on the edge of a breakout season. He started after the draft in 2008 where he led off for Billings for 22 games. He played for Dayton in 2009 and hit .262. He was back with the Dragons in 2010 and had a good start to the season before a pitch broke his finger and he finished that season at .253. Last year at Bakersfield he was around .250 again.
He was back at Bakersfield again to start this season and he hit well enough to get a promotion to Pensacola as a reserve outfielder when Theo Bowe was sent to the Blaze. It was a good move for both squads because both players are now hitting over .350 for their new teams. Meanwhile Means has taken advantage of a Cody Puckett’s promotion to Louisville to become a key contributor to the Blue Wahoo outfield. Now at 25 years old, he could see some AAA action by the end of the season.
Other News from the Farm:
It was a good day for the farm teams last night as they went 4-0.
Louisville jumped out to a 2-0 first inning lead before cruising to an 8-2 win at Syracuse. Joey Gathright, Willie Harris, Neftali Soto, and Mike Costanzo all had two hits for the Bats. They capped off their scoring with two in the ninth including Bill Rhinehart’s fifth home run. On the mound Sean Gallagher turned in a strong outing by limiting the Chiefs to one run on four hits in six innings. Gallagher has made four quality starts in his last five outings and is now 5-3.
Bakersfield broke a tie with a two-run seventh to win against visiting Visalia by a score of 3-1. The Blaze offense was held to only four hits on the night. Josh Smith had another strong outing when he allowed one run on five hits in six innings. The right-hander was named the California League pitcher of the week and has brought his ERA down close to four. Four pitchers combined for three scoreless innings of relief. Chris Joyce was the pitcher of record and got his first win. Brian Pearl closed out the game for his eleventh save. He now has a 1.17 ERA over 25 appearances.
Billy Hamilton Theft Watch:
Hamilton went 1-4 last night. He led off the first with a single and promptly swiped second. He arrived at first in the seventh on a fielder’s choice. That turned out to be a bad choice because he stole second again. He now has 69 steals in 57 games.
Kurtis Muller singled home Kyle Waldrop in the bottom of the eleventh inning for a 4-3 win over visiting Lake County. He went 2-5 and his average is now at .350 for the Dragons. Sean Buckley went 3-5 with a couple of doubles and an RBI. Waldrop, Steve Selsky, and Nick O’Shea also contributed two hits each to the Dayton attack. Stalin Gerson got the start and allowed all three of the Captain runs in five innings. Cole Green had a nice outing with three scoreless innings of relief. He, Carlos Contreras, and James Allen combined for six scoreless ending in Allen’s second win.