The second game of the series was another high scoring game for the Bulls, and the highlights of the game were the bats of their corner infielders, Shaffer and Robertson. Both carried the team offensively in support of Andriese. With 23 hits between these two teams, there was lots of action to cover.
Here's a more thorough rundown of what took place.
Bulls: RHP Matt Andriese (26)
Andriese kicked things off with a pair of strike outs but left one hanging for Matt Davidson to take over the fence. He allowed a single after that but was bailed out by Mikie Mahtook who made a nice catch to close off the first inning.
From there, Andriese was very effective, going through 4 innings with 7 Ks, 1 ER, and needing only 51 pitches to get through it. Only needed 9 pitches to get through the 5th, but he got into a jam in the 6th when he faced 2 on and no outs and allowed a run which ended his night. He wound up being charged with 4 ER, but pitched much better than that would indicate.
Knights: RHP Erik Johnson (26)
Aside from a big knock that almost went out from Roller, Johnson was able to keep most of the Bulls from hitting the ball especially hard through 3 innings. The two runs put up against him in the first 3 innings were the product of lightly hit balls - one of which hit the ump - and a sac fly. He was alright from there and in control for the most part.
Andriese gets an edge here as he struck out more batters and did better than the stats indicate. His pitches were showing movement, location, and loading up on the Ks when in trouble.
Lineups: The Bulls used the same lineup as in the opener aside from Kyle Roller (28) taking over at DH. The former Yankee prospect was signed as a Free Agent in December and made his first start in the Rays organization tonight. He came up for the first time with the bases loaded and almost took the first pitch over the fence for a grand slam, but came up 5 feet short. Still a great knock that drove in the first run of the game for the Bulls.
Patrick Leonard had another great game. In particular, he stole second on a real heads up play that had him get a great jump on an anticipated off-speed pitch. Great to see.
Positional Notes: The same fielding team two games in a row for the Bulls and they played well as a whole. As mentioned, Mahtook made some nice plays, and Taylor Motter showed both a quick release and great arm to get a few close plays in.
Hitter of the game for Bulls: Tie, Richie Shaffer and Daniel Robertson
Shaffer stood out for great AB, but mostly for breaking the game open in the 5th inning with a 2 out 2 run double which gave the Bulls a 4 - 1 lead, and another 2 out double to drive in another run in the 7th inning.
Robertson, meanwhile, hit his first HR in AAA (which tied the game at 6) and was outstanding at the plate all game long. He worked counts, showed patience, and finished 3 for 3 with a walk.
Tyler Sturdevant came on with two on and one out for his first outing of the year and allowed a double off the LF wall and 2 runs which tied the game at 4. He kept Luke Maile busy, forcing him to block over a dozen pitches he threw in the dirt. Sturdevant just struggled overall and left the game 5-4 in the Knights favour.
RHP Ryan Garton (26) bailed Sturdevant out, but allowed a HR to Carlos Sanchez in the following inning.
RHP Jhan Marinez (27) worked a clean 2/3 inning in the 8th and was the most effective of the bunch overall. His pitches were dancing, and his location was spot on. Really like what I saw from him tonight.
Reliever of the game:
There really wasn't a reliever of the game, but Jhan Marinez had the most impressive stuff when he located it.
The Bulls lineup continues to add up the runs against the Knights wile facing MLB tested pitching, but came up a little short tonight. Still, every player in the lineup is having an impact, and it seems they are all comfortable in their roles, both on the field and in the lineup.
The starting pitching was strong once again with Andriese, but the pen showed some volatility tonight, letting the win slip away from the team on numerous occasions. The pen will be a work-in-progress for a while, and none of those involved tonight did themselves any favours.
The Bulls will try to turn it around in the next game.