Chattanooga took a 3-1 lead in the fifth inning and held on to win over visiting Pensacola 3-2 last night. It was the finale of a five game set which the Blue Wahoos won 3-2. The Lookouts got the victory despite being outhit 11-3. Josh Fellhauer led the way offensively for the visitors. He did not get the start but entered in the bottom of the first replacing P.J. Phillips who left after making a catch on a foul ball lineout. Fellhauer went 4-4 with a run and an RBI to raise his average to .301. Ryan LaMarre and Brian Peacock added two hits each.
On the mound J.C. Sulburan got the start and control issues limited him to five innings. He allowed three runs on only two hits, but walked eight while striking out seven. He picked up his fifth loss while three relievers combined for three scoreless innings. The Lookouts out-walked the Wahoos 9-1. The fish return home today to start a five game series against Jackson.
Fellhauer has been a consistent hitter for Pensacola all season long and was recently rewarded with a spot on the Southern League All-Star team. He came into the Cincinnati organization from a seventh round pick in 2009 out of Cal St. Fullerton after he hit nearly .400 his junior season with the Titans. He skipped the rookie leagues and started his professional career that year by hitting .280 with seven HR at Dayton. That average dropped his next year at Lynchburg but he brought it back up to .280/.362 OB% when he repeated high-A at Bakersfield. He was also represented the Blaze on last year’s California League all-star team.
Defensively Fellhauer has played all three outfield positions. He’s shown a strong arm with 30 assists in 364 games. He’s running down putouts at a decent rate but it is felt his range is stretched a bit in center. His .975 fielding percentage is on the rise because he’s made only four errors in 222 games since the start of the 2011 season, compared to 11 in 185 his first two seasons.
Like many players coming out of Fullerton Fellhauer came into the minors with polished skills. That includes his approach at the plate where he’s striking out only once every 6.6 plate appearances on average and thus far this season his BB/K ratio is 22/31. He’s not afraid to crowd the plate and his on-base percentage has been aided by getting hit by pitches. In his first two minor league seasons he was plunked thirteen times. The past couple of years and it appears like he’s figured out how to do it the “easy way” because his hit batsman rate has come down to normal levels while his walk frequency has increased to almost 11%. He has struggled against southpaws, but that’s not unusual for a young left-handed hitter. Thus far in 2011 he’s hitting only .118 against them, over only 17 at-bats.
Fellhauer is listed at 5’11’/175# and bats/throws left-handed. His small frame prevents much power to be projected to his game. Now at 24 years old he’s putting together a solid season that should gain him attention for another promotion. Coming into the season he was considered a low risk/low ceiling prospect with a solid overall game and no eye-popping strengths. Still, room can always be made for someone who knows how to get on base and he’s doing that at a .385 rate so far this season. That and versatility projects him as a utility outfielder if he’s not able to hold down a regular job someday in the big leagues.
Other News from the Farm:
Louisville kept rolling with a 6-3 win at Pawtucket. The Bats have now completed two consecutive four games series sweeps. Offensively the bottom of the lineup provided the most punch led by Felix Perez who went 3-4 with a home run. He’s now 15-43 (.349) over his past ten games. Miguel Rojas went 3-4 with a couple of RBI and Daryl Jones added two more hits. The Bats tied the game with a two-run fourth inning started by a leadoff homer by Cody Puckett. On the mound Chad Reineke turned in a quality start allowing three runs on five hits over 6+ innings. Jordan Smith threw a scoreless ninth for his tenth save. After getting hit hard to start the season the former Reds reliever has made 9 of 10 appearances this month scoreless ones and dropped his ERA to 4.34
Bakersfield lost a series opener at Visalia 5-4 in ten innings. The Blaze offense was limited to six hits and only one of them went for extra bases. Kurtis Muller did have a double and two RBI. Chad Rogers allowed three runs while navigating around eight hits in five innings. Michael Griffin allowed the game-winner and took his fourth loss.
Billy Hamilton Theft Watch
Hamilton reached first twice last night. He led off the game with a walk and was caught stealing second base. He led off the sixth with a single and stole second. After 71 games he’s been successful on 91 of 109 attempts.
Dayton remained winless in the second half when they lost 8-3 to visiting Lake County. Ryan Wright went 3-4 with two RBI and raised his average back up to .300. Juan Perez and Kyle Waldrop added two hits each. Starter Tanner Robles allowed five runs (two earned) in five innings and took his fifth loss.
Billings is now 6-2 on the season after winning 5-2 yesterday at Great Falls. Spencer Dickinson went 3-4 and scored twice while raising his average to .333. Carlos Sanchez was 2-5 with a run and an RBI and is now hitting .357. Ismael Guillon got the start and allowed one run on four hits in four innings while striking out six. Lucas O’Rear relieved him and threw 2+ innings to pick up the win. Matt Wiley threw a scoreless ninth for his third save.
The AZL Reds scored two runs in the ninth at the AZL Mariners but came up short in a 8-6 loss. Avain Rachal went 3-4 with two runs and is now hitting .438 on the season. Dennis Phipps got two more hits and drove in two. Ronald Bueno also had two hits with a run while driving in one in his first start. Starter Pedro Diaz was roughed up for seven runs in three innings and took the loss.
The DSL Reds dropped an 8-3 decision to the visiting DSL Rockies. Kevin Garcia had two doubles and scored twice. Junior Soto also added two hits to raise his average to .306. Junior Torrealba allowed four runs (three earned) on nine hits in four innings for the loss.