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It was a good week for the Dash, partly by virtue of playing a bunch of games against the Asheville Tourists, who, reader, truly are more like the Assville Tourists. From Thursday to Wednesday, the Dash went 4-1**. They are 14-8 overall**.
Top pitching performances
Chase Solesky (April 28 start; don’t ask about May 4): 6 IP, 5 H, 2 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 5 K
Uhh, Matt Thompson (May 3 start)??: 5 IP, 9 H, 6 R (1 ER), 0 BB, 4 K, HBP
Vince Vanelle (relief): 2.2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K (although a crucial 2-1 inherited runners-scored, although it was because of a catcher error!)
Theo Denlinger (relief): 2 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K
Wilber Perez (relief): 4 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 5 K, 1 WP
Top hitting performances
Luis Mieses (RF): 9-for-25, 6 2B (!!!), 5 R, 6 RBI, 3 BB, 3 K (season: .269/.327/.441, league-leading 10 2B)
Duke Ellis (LF/CF): 8-for-24, 2 2B, 1 HR, 6 R, 3 RBI, 3 BB, 9 K, 4 SB, 1 CS (season: .351/.422/.526)
Bryan Ramos (DH/3B): 7-for-23, 2 2B, 1 HR, 4 R, 5 RBI, 4 BB, 3 K (season: .378/.429/.610)
Harvin Mendoza (1B): 6-for-21, 1 3B, 2 HR, 5 R, 6 RBI, 1 BB, 4 K (season: .270/.345/.486)
Honorable mention: Tyler Osik played in four games, going 5-for-13 with two of those hits leaving the park. He walked four times, struck out three and was hit by a pitch, all as the DH. He’s batting .323/.405/.492. Luis Curbelo has returned from a strikeout-heavy stint with the Barons and went 4-for-11 in his first three games back, hitting a double, walking twice, and striking out once.
The Dash’s 7-3 victory over the Tourists on April 28 was also the last confirmed sighting of Oscar Colás, who went 0-for-5 with a walk and has not played since. Chase Solesky had his second straight strong start, 78 pitches over six innings of five-hit, two-run (one earned) ball. Both Duke Ellis and Harvin Mendoza made rare errors that led to unearned runs scoring, one for Solesky and one for Isaiah Carranza. Cooper Bradford and Zach Cable both pitched one scoreless inning.
They scored early and often in this one, striking first with a bases-loaded Bryan Ramos walk in the second and not letting up until doubles machine Luis Mieses hit a run-scoring two-bagger in the eighth. Shortstop Moises Castillo went 3-for-5 while Luis Curbelo went 2-for-5 with a double; Harvin Mendoza launched a two-run blast in the seventh.
Mieses gets on these streaks where he hits absolutely everything he sees for a double, gathering two of them as part of a three-hit day on April 29. The Dash squeaked by the Tourists 6-5, needing every inch of every run, scoring one in the top of the ninth as critical insurance against the run scored by Asheville in the bottom. Adam Hackenberg put them on the board early with an Ellis-scoring single in the first, but by the sixth, they were in a 4-1 hole.
Osik was the first to chip away at the deficit, a sixth-inning single scoring Mieses (zero points for guessing how Mieses got on base). An inning later, Castillo also hit a double, scoring Jason Matthews, then Ramos went deep with his fourth home run, putting the Dash ahead 5-4. Then Mieses doubled.
With two outs in the ninth, Mieses was up again, this time merely picking up a one-base hit. Two consecutive wild pitches brought him to third, then after a Hackenberg walk, Mendoza singled him in for the eventual game-winning run.
Drew Dalquist has given up exactly four runs in three of his four starts this year, including this one (he gave up three runs in his very first start). This also marked his second straight start with four walks. This all has led to a 7.71 ERA over 16.1 innings; he’s struck out 12 and walked 12.
Wilber Perez, Fraser Ellard, and Ty Madrigal were all very good in relief; Karan Patel walked nobody but did allow a run in his inning of work.
The Dash scored at least one run in each of the first five innings on April 30, the bats of Ellis, Ramos, Mieses, and newcomer Alsander Womack especially hot. Ellis and Ramos both doubled in the first, leading to the game’s first run; Womack, the son of Tony, mashed a second-inning solo blast as part of a three-hit day.
Mieses’ first double of the day scored Curbelo in the third after he and Ramos both singled to lead off the inning. Hackenberg added another run with a sac fly, then Womack’s 3/4-cycle day continued with an RBI single, putting the Dash up 5-2. Mieses’ second double of the day scored Ellis (walk) and Ramos (single) in the fourth inning, making it 7-2, then in the fifth, Matthews singled to score Womack from the team’s fifth double of the game. Ellis put an exclamation point on it with a two-out, two-run dong, his second of the year after hitting just four in 73 games at the level last year.
It was a bit of a bullpen day, with opener Jordan Mikel making his first start of the year and allowing two runs over three innings. Since Mikel was ineligible for the win due to the short start, it was Jesus Valles assigned that letter, despite also giving up two runs in three innings. Edgar Navarro, Theo Denlinger, and Vince Vannelle were each perfect in one inning apiece.
While it is very embarrassing to lose to a team that was 3-17 at the time, statistically, it is bound to happen every once in a while, like it did for the Dash on May 1. It was close, both teams with seven hits, but they just couldn’t cough up the two runs needed to tie and win it.
Sean Burke didn’t have the start he’s capable of, abruptly reaching his pitch count with two outs in the fifth; he walked one and struck out four while allowing three runs. Ty Madrigal, Carranza, Patel, and Ellard supplied 3.1 scoreless innings, but alas. Burke and Patel both picked a runner off at first base (not at the same time).
The Dash did actually score first (and last!) in this one, Ramos drawing a two-out walk in the first inning, taking second on a wild pitch, and scoring on a Mieses single. Their second and final run came in the fifth. Womack doubled to lead it off, Caberea Weaver singled him to third, and catcher Keegan Fish contributed the classic groundout RBI. (Womack would be demoted to the Cannon Ballers after this game, presumably not for hitting .417/.462/.833 in four games in High-A ball.)
Mieses did, indeed, hit a double in this game, although he was out at third one batter later in an event Gameday mysteriously describes only as “Runner Out” instead of “Caught Stealing.”
After the Monday off day, May 3 turned into a slugfest. The Dash again scored at least one run in each of the first five innings and another two in the seventh for good measure. Meanwhile, the hated Hickory Crawdads bunched their runs together, putting up a fat six against Matthew Thompson in the fourth (they’re not earned! they’re not earned!!) and another three against Bradford and Vannelle in the sixth.
A two-out Ramos error at third base led to the continuance of an inning that should have ended with just one run scoring. Instead, post-error, Thompson went home run, single, single, HBP, single, and an extremely timely PO/CS of third base to stop the bleeding there.
In the sixth, Bradford’s first out came four batters deep into his appearance on a caught stealing after one run had already scored. That would be Bradford’s only out, as he was pulled after allowing a double and walk. Vanelle, who is 11 innings into his career and has yet to give up an earned run, entered in relief and got the bad-luck blown save, with catcher Hackenberg’s throwing error leading to an unearned inherited run credited to Bradford. Theo Denlinger struck out the side in the eighth and Zach Cable walked two but still got the save in a scoreless ninth.
The Dash, on the other hand, leaned into the idea of death by a thousand cuts, starting in the first inning. Ellis walked, was grounded to second by Castillo, stole third, and scored on a wild pitch, cruelly depriving Ramos of the RBI he would have otherwise had with his subsequent double. Mendoza led off the second inning with his fourth home run. Three Dash runs scored in the third, Hackenberg, Mendoza, and Caberea Weaver each chipping away with RBI singles, putting the team up 6-0.
By the bottom of the fourth, it was tied 6-6, at least until Ellis scored from third on a Mieses ground ball. In the fifth, still up just 7-6, Mendoza flashed some speed with a leadoff triple, all that extra running for nothing as Tyler Osik lifted a home run to make it 9-6 Dash.
Perhaps that was a lesson learned for Mendoza, who did indeed hit just a single to lead off the seventh, this time with the score tied 9-9. Osik obliged, and his second home run in three innings put the Dash on top 11-9, where they would stay.
Solesky’s second start of the week on May 4 did not go quite as well as the first. In fact, it went quite so not as well that he was pulled with two outs in the first inning after serving up a grand slam to his fifth batter faced. Perez performed admirably in mop-up, going 2⅓ innings and giving up two hits and a walk, but striking out four and allowing no runs. Madrigal struck out four but gave up a two-run home run in the fifth inning. Patel, despite punching out five over 2⅔ innings, allowed a two-run double to top Rangers prospect Evan Carter. Ellard finished it off with a precarious 1.2 innings, successfully keeping the score at 8-2.
It was a tepid performance overall at the plate. Hackenberg went deep in the second, Dash already trailing 4-1, and Ellis scored Matthews (double) with a single in the third. The only player to reach base multiple times was Hackenberg, who walked twice in addition to going 2-for-2.
Ellis also had the chance to show off his arm from center field, nabbing Carter trying to stretch a double into a triple.
The Dash wrap up their series against the Crawdads this weekend and start one against the Rome Braves.