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Big homers, Nellie Rodriguez help Scrappers sweep Cross-Cutters

Rodriguez continues tear in 5-2 win over Williamsport

Big homers, Nellie Rodriguez help Scrappers sweep Cross-Cutters
July 29, 2013
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NILES, OH- Four straight hits in the fourth inning from the Scrappers would prove to be more than enough to sweep the two-game set with the Williamsport CrossCutters on Monday night by a final score of 5-2.

After hitting a walk-off double on Sunday night, Nellie Rodriguez was back at it on Monday, continuing his recent tear.

In the bottom of the fourth inning, Rodriguez stepped to the plate following a single from Juan Herrera and unloaded on a pitch that landed deep over the wall in left. The towering fly gave the Scrappers a 2-1 lead and Rodriguez his New York Penn League-leading seventh HR of the season.

On the night, Rodriguez finished 3-4 with the home run, two singles, and three RBI, pushing him to .345 BA, 7 HR, and 29 RBI on the season.

Talking post-game with the Scrappers star, Rodriguez was just excited to make his manager happy.

“Everybody is happy. The energy is different. Ted is happier with us,” laughed Rodriguez. “We can tell when he’s down.”

While Coach Kubiak was certainly pleased with his slugger, the big fourth inning wasn’t over yet. In fact, it wasn’t even close.

Paul Hendrix followed the Rod-bomb with a stand-up triple, which presented an RBI opportunity for the embattled Robel Garcia.

Garcia has played very sparingly in the past few weeks, but made the most of his opportunity on Monday, smacking the second two-run shot of the inning for the Scrappers just past the flag pole in right field.

The home run was Garcia’s fourth of the season, fitting as it gave the Scrappers a 4-1 lead in the bottom of the fourth inning.

WIth the two home runs on the board, the Scrappers still had hits left in the tank.

Catcher Ryan Battaglia singled to start the “second”  rally of the inning and was followed by Joel Mejia who hit a single of his own.

The inning seemed to be over when Cody Ferrell bounced to third, but an errant throw kept the inning alive and loaded the bases, bringing up Claudio Bautista to break it open.

Unfortunately, on a 2-2 count, Bautista bookmarked the inning after making the first and last out of the fourth, this time on a weak liner to centerfield, and the rally was done.

Overall, the inning produced six hits, two home runs, and one triple for the Scrappers and two pitchers with one error for the CrossCutters.

Up 4-1 going into the fifth, the three run lead seemed insurmountable for the CrossCutters thanks to the dominance of the Scrappers bullpen. 

After Dace Kime’s scoreless three inning start, relievers Matt Whitehouse and Ben Heller combined for five innings of one hit baseball.

Heller was especially dominant, even after walking the bases loaded in the eighth.

In three innings, Heller allowed no hits and no runs, while escaping a bases loaded jam after walking the bags full in the eighth.

Briely Puerta came on to close it out in the ninth and - after allowing a rocket home run to Zach Green - did just that, giving the Scrappers the 5-2 victory.

The sweep of the CrossCutters continues the winning trend from the Scrappers, having won ten of their last thirteen. The Scrappers are now at 17-24 on the year, after starting 7-21, and only 5.5 games out of the Wild Card race.

Mahoning Valley quickly showered and are already on their way to Aberdeen, Maryland- home of Cal Ripken and his Minor League Baseball team the Aberdeen Ironbirds- for a three game set.

Kenny Matthews (0-1, 1.50) is set to begin the road trip for the Scrappers against a yet to be determined pitcher for Aberdeen.

For one of the few times this season, the Scrappers will be televised on MILB.com for the entire series against Aberdeen.

First pitch from Ripken Stadium is set for 7:05 pm.

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Scrapper fan
July 30, 2013 - 12:56 AM EDT
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