Both Dodgers minor league playoff teams stayed alive in their postseasons on Friday night. Another playoff-bound team had a milestone win, and Tulsa finally snapped their long losing streak.
Player of the day
Jared Karros came up aces in his first postseason game as a professional. The Great Lakes right-hander struck out six in five scoreless innings in a winner-take-all playoff game on Friday. He allowed only two hits and one walk, and never more than one batter reached base in one inning.
Karros has an active scoreless streak of 14 innings and has allowed only one run in his four games since joining the Loons. Counting his final two starts with Rancho Cucamonga, Karros has allowed only one run in his last 29 innings, with 25 strikeouts against only four walks.
High-A Great Lakes
Great pitching and a couple of timely hits lifted the Loons over the Fort Wayne TinCaps (Padres) to win the Midwest League East Division Series in three games.
Dalton Rushing had an RBI double in the third inning, and Alex Freeland had an RBI double in the fourth inning. For Rushing, it provided a nice contrast from earlier in the game, when he thought he walked on a full-count pitch but instead was called out of strikes. The demonstrative Rushing put his hands on top of his head in disbelief, but luckily for Great Lakes did not add to his team-leading total of five ejections on the season.
Loons starting pitchers in this series allowed only two runs in 15⅓ innings, with 21 strikeouts and four walks. Great Lakes pitchers as a team struck out 39 TinCaps in three games.
Peter Heubeck followed Karros on the mound and allowed a solo home run to his second batter faced in the sixth inning. But a few key moments kept the Loons in the lead the rest of the way:
- 7th inning: With the tying run on first and one out, Heubeck induced a double play grounder to second base to end the threat
- 8th inning: Tying run on first again with one out, Carlos De Los Santos struck out one batter, then gave way to left-hander Jack Dreyer, who struck out another to end the inning.
Dreyer struck out his first two batters of the ninth, then got a groundout to first to end the series.
ONWARD TO THE MIDWEST LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP pic.twitter.com/ZyHdC9dGnJ— Great Lakes Loons (@greatlakesloons) September 16, 2023
Great Lakes will play Cedar Rapids (Twins) for the Midwest League championship in a best-of-3 series starting Sunday.
Low-A Rancho Cucamonga
Joe Vetrano had a worthy case of player of the day as well, as he hit two two-run home runs in the same inning on Friday. That eight-run frame sent the Quakes on their way to beat the Inland Empire 66ers (Angels) 11-6 to win the California League South Division Series in three games.
Vetrano also singled and drove in five in the game.
Fellow 2023 draft pick Jordan Thompson also homered in the second inning and later doubled. Josue De Paula did the same, with a two-run shot in the second and another double, driving in three.
Garrett McDaniels pitched three scoreless innings to finish out the game to earn the win. He struck out three, including. the final out of the game.
Rancho Cucamonga will play Modesto (Mariners) for the Cal League championship in a best-of-3 series starting Sunday.
Triple-A Oklahoma City
Five runs in the eighth inning were insurance at the time, and at least a few of them were needed in a win over the Tacoma Rainiers (Mariners).
Michael Busch and Jonny DeLuca each had RBI doubles as part of a two-hit game. Hunter Feduccia had a two-run single in the eighth. Bryson Brigman tripled, singles, and scored.
This was a bullpen game for Oklahoma City, and Tyson Miller, Jake Reed, and Tanner Dodson each pitched two scoreless frames to start the game. Miller struck out three.
The win was a milestone for Oklahoma City, now 87-53 (.621) on the season.
Another benchmark for the @okc_dodgers during this incredible season: Tonight they notched their 87th win of the season, which is the team's most in the Bricktown era (since 1998).— Alex Freedman (@azfreedman) September 16, 2023
It's also the third-most wins in OKC's Triple-A history and most since 1965!
The Drillers ended a 12-game losing streak with their best offensive performance in September, beating the Corpus Christi Hooks (Astros). Tulsa scored eight runs to earn their first win of the month, which was more than any other two-game stretch during the losing streak.
Kody Hoese had four hits, including two doubles, and drove in a pair. Hamlet Marte homered in the second inning. Imanol Vargas and Luis Yanel Diaz each homered in a four-run fifth.
Ben Casparius struck out eight in 4⅓ innings in his start, allowing two runs. Aldry Acosta struck out three in two perfect innings to close out the game to earn the win.
Double-A: Infielder Austin Gauthier, who has been playing mostly shortstop and second base the last seven weeks, was placed on the injured list after hurting his thumb on Thursday. Umar Male, a 22-year-old Ugandan signed in 2022 as a catcher but has played mostly left field in his brief time as a pro, was called up from Arizona to fill in this weekend on the Drillers’ roster.
- Great Lakes 2, Fort Wayne 1 (Loons win series 2-1)
- Rancho Cucamonga 11, Inland Empire 6 (Quakes win series 2-1)
- 5:05 p.m. PT: Oklahoma City (Mike Montgomery) vs. Tacoma (Tommy Milone)
- 5:05 p.m.: Tulsa (Kendall Williams) vs. Corpus Christi (Valente Bellozo)