A Week In Review (May 25-31): Birmingham Barons

Courtesy of Ian Martin

The Barons had another average week, going a combined 3-3 over the seven day stretch. After being named the Southern League pitcher of the week, Royce Ring improved his outstanding season with several strong outings. Ring was even ranked 12th in Baseball America 's Prospect Hot Sheet, which covers the hottest minor league prospects in the game. Lefthander Neal Cotts also improved upon his season, with a dominant start over a team.

The Barons started off the week by extracting some revenge in a 4-2 over the Mobile Bay Bears, who defeated the Barons soundly the past few games. Starter Emenencio Pacheco (5-0) kept his perfect season intact with a strong outing that lasted 6 2/3 innings. Pacheco did give up eights and two walks, but pitched out of every jam he was in, only giving up two earned runs. Jim Bullard and Jake Meyer held the lead for Pacheco, and then handed the ball off to Royce Ring who picked up his 12 th save of the year. The Barons offense could only manage five hits, but scored four runs off of the hits in an impressive display of manufacturing runs. Leadoff man Chad Durham had two hits for the Barons, as well as a run scored and a RBI. First baseman Gabe Alvarez continued his impressive season by launching a solo homerun off of Mobile starter Duncan McAdoo.

On Tuesday the 26 th, the Barons were rained out against Mobile . No makeup date has been announced.

An extra day of rest seemed to have cooled the Barons off, as they lost to division leading Huntsville by a score of 3-2. Barons starter Tetsu Yofu (3-2) ran into some trouble in the top of the 1 st, giving up three earned runs in the frame. After the 1 st, Yofu was on cruise control, giving up no earned runs for the rest of the night. Reliever Matt Smith kept the score close by pitching two scoreless innings in relief. Offensively, the Barons could only scratch and claw two runs home. Danny Sandoval and Carlos Maldonado led the way with two hits each. Sandoval and left fielder Darron Ingram had the only RBIs for the Barons.

On Wednesday, the Barons struck back against Huntsville , winning a hard-fought game by the score of 7-5. After winning his start at AAA Charlotte, Brian West had trouble against the Stars, only going 4 2/3 innings. West only gave up two earned runs, but walked five which lead to a high pitch count. Recently promoted Mitch Wylie (1-0) picked up the win for the Barons, going 2 2/3 innings while giving up two earned runs and striking out four. Royce Ring picked up save number 13 after closing the game out. Collectively, the Barons amassed 11 hits, with Carlos Maldonado getting three. Chad Durham and Juan Piniella had two each, and also had a RBI each. First baseman Ryan Hankins had two RBIs, which lead the team.

Neal Cotts (7-2) had his best outing of the year, and the Barons ‘O' clubbed home nine runs in a 9-1 bludgeoning of Huntsville. Cotts pitched 6 1/3 innings, but struck out a season-high 12 batters. Cotts gave up four hits as well, but he put his control issues behind him and only walked two Huntsville batters. Jim Bullard pitched the remaining 2 2/3 innings, giving up no earned runs. Scott Bikowski and Ryan Hankins provided all the offense Cotts would need, as both clubbed homeruns. Juan Piniella and Josh Shaffer also contributed to the rout by getting two hits each.

Emenencio Pacheco (5-1) and the Barons could not build off their success on Thursday, losing to Huntsville 5-2. Pacheco was not his usual self on Friday, giving up seven hits, five walks, and four earned runs in only 5 1/3 innings of work. Reliever Jeff Bajenaru managed to hold Huntsville at bay for 2 2/3 innings, striking out four. On the offensive side of the ball, no Barons starter had more than one hit, and the only players to get RBIs were Chad Durham and Darron Ingram. Three of the six Barons hits were of the extra-base variety, but unfortunately no one was on base to be driven in.

The Barons closed out the week on a bad note, losing to Cubs affiliate West Tennessee by a score of 4-3. Dennis Ulacia got the start for the Barons, and pitched great considering what he gave up. Ulacia went 3 1/3 innings, gave up three hits and an earned run, and walked six batters. Matt Smith (1-1) picked up the loss in relief, giving up two earned runs in 2+ innings. Jim Bullard and Royce Ring combined to pitch scoreless relief over the last three innings. The Barons O was awful on Saturday, only managing four hits, three off of Jaxx starter John Webb (1-6), who won his first game of the year. Chad Durham, Danny Sandoval, Darron Ingram, and Scott Bikowski all had one hit each for the Barons.

The Barons will try to overthrow Huntsville from the top of their division this week against the following opponents:
6/1 – 6/3 vs. West Tennessee
6/4 – Off Day
6/5 – 6/7 @ West Tennessee

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