Batavia Muckdogs 98-64 vs.
Jackson Holy Cows 106-56

Game Location Results Win Loss Save
1 at Jackson Holy Cows 8, Muckdogs 7 W.Crowe(1-0) K.Jansen(0-1) None
HR – M.Trout(1), A.Garcia(1), R.Arozarena(1), M.Carpenter(1), C.Carroll(1)
2 at Jackson Holy Cows 4, Muckdogs 2 M.Mikolas(1-0) J.Montgomery(0-1) S.Barlow(1)
HR – A.Garcia(2), K.Higashioka(1)
3 at Batavia Muckdogs 6, Holy Cows 5 R.Stripling(1-0) M.Scherzer(0-1) K.Jansen(1)
HR – M.Trout(2), R.Urias(1), J.McNeil(1), F.Cordero(1)
4 at Batavia Muckdogs 7, Holy Cows 6 C.McHugh(1-0) W.Crowe(1-1) K.Jansen(2)
HR – M.Trout(3), J.McNeil(2), D.Vogelbach(1), J.Ramirez(1), D.Solano(1), N.Velazquez(1), C.Leblanc(1)
5 at Batavia Holy Cows 7, Muckdogs 1 J.Verlander(1-0) Z.Gallen(0-1) None
HR – A.Garcia(3), M.Carpenter(2), R.Urias(2), N.Gorman(1), T.Trammell(1)
6 at Jackson Muckdogs 9, Holy Cows 5 C.McHugh(2-0) Z.Thompson(0-1) None
HR – M.Trout(4), J.Ramirez(2), D.Solano(2), K.Higashioka(2), T.Estrada(1), K.Kiermaier(1), D.Carlson(1)
7 at Jackson Holy Cows 3, Muckdogs 2 M.Scherzer(1-1) R.Stripling(1-1) G.Gallegos(1)
HR – J.Ramirez(3)


(click game # for boxscore)

Jackson wins series 4-3

Game 1 – Matt Carpenter and Corbin Carroll stunned the visiting Muckdogs with back-to-back HR’s in the bottom of the 9th to gain a walkoff 8-7 win for the Cows. The game promised to be a pitchers duel with team aces Justin Verlander and Zac Gallen starting the 1st game of the series.  While Verlander has compiled impressive stats in the regular season for Jackson, he has been very mediocre in the playoffs in the past. That trend continued with Verlander giving up 6 runs on 11 hits in 5.0 IP, even though he was helped by 2 double plays. Gallen pitched well for Batavia, giving up 3 runs on 3 hits and 3 BB in 6.0 innings of work, Wil Crowe got the win, pitching 1/3 of an inning in the 9th.  Kenley Jansen was saddled with the blown save and loss. Mike Trout started the scoring with a solo HR in the 1st. Verlander was lucky to give up only 2 runs up in the 2nd inning as, after Donvan Solano’s single plated a run, Christian Vasquez hit into a DP with runners on 1st and 3rd bringing in a run, then escaped further damage by striking out Trout with the bases loaded. Adolis Garcia hit a solo HR in the bottom of the 2nd to make the score 4-1. Batavia continued their hot hitting by piecing together 3 singles and a double by Vasquez to score 2 more runs, increasing the visitors’ lead to 6-1. Gallen lost his control in the 3rd, mixing in 3 walks and 2 HBP between 3 K’s to allow Jackson 2 runs without getting a hit.  With the score 6-3, AJ Minter wiggled out of a bases loaded situation by striking out Trout and Andres Gimenez after walking 3 batters in a row.  Batavia threatened again in the 7th after 2 outs, Giovanny Gallegos issued a free pass, Vasquez singled to left center then advanced 2nd on the throw to 3rd. The Cows chose not to have Gallegos pitch to Kevin Kiermaier giving him a IW. The Cows brought in Zack Thompson to pitch to MVP candidate Jose Ramirez who crushed a ball to deep LF for a loud out. Randy Arazorena led off the 7th with a HR vs Hirokazu Sawamura, but failed to score more. With runners on 2nd and 3rd, Jarlin Garcia struck out Carpenter, then gave an intentional pass to lefty killer, pinch hitter Albert Pujols. Santiago Espinal, who PH for Dan Vogelbach, was retired on a very deep ball down the left field line.  In the 8th Batavia put together singles by Trout, Gimenez and Franchy Cordero vs Connor Overton to make the score 7-4, but were unable tack on any more runs when Scott Barlow induced a 5-4-3 DP from PH’er Estrada. The Muckdogs threatened again in the 9th, but Crowe retired Kyle Schwarber for the 3rd out on a deep fly to right center with runners on 1st and 3rd. Though they failed to capitalize on several scoring chances, Batavia felt confident when they sent out Fireman of the Year Candidate Kenley Jansen to the bump the bottom of the 9th with a 3-run lead vs. the top of the Holy Cows’ order.  Jensen got Ji Man Choi to pop up to the catcher for the 1st out. Jeff McNeil doubled and Xander Bogaerts singled to bring up Carpenter representing the tying run with runners on corners and 1 out.  On a 0-2 count, Carpenter smacked a 378 foot shot down the right field line to tie the score.  The crowd at PNC park was delirious when Carroll, on a 3-2 count, hit the ball over the boards in RCF for the improbable walk off 8-7 win.

Game 2 – The Batavia Muckdogs loaded the bases with one out in the top of the first but Miles Mikolas got a K and a pop out to first base to end the threat. It was a scoreless game until the bottom of the 4th inning. After Albert Pujols, who was a big wheel in the Chatham Bluefish’s 4 consecutive World Series Championships from 2007-2010, lined out; the Holy Cows got back-to-back doubles by Xander Bogaerts and Randy Arozarena to up 1-0. Two batters later, Kyle Higashioka drilled one into the cheap seats down the LF line to make it a 3-run game. In the top of the 6th, the ‘Dogs got their first run on a Nelson Velazquez single, but once again, left the bases full. In the top of the 7th, Mike Trout came to the plate with the bases loaded and managed to plate only one runner with a single between short and third. Connor Overton fanned the last two batters to squash the rally. Giovanny Gallegos and Scott Barlow were perfect in the 8th and 9th as Jackson held serve, winning both games at PNC Park as they head to Batavia. Kyle Schwarber was the lone Muckdog with a pair of hits. Ji-Man Choi was the only JHC player to do so. Jordan Montgomery took the loss, Mikolas(5.0 IP, 5 K, 2 H) got the win and Barlow the save.

Game 3 – After an 0-2 start for the Muckdogs, they desperately needed to get a win at home vs a very tough Holy Cows club.  And It did not get any easier facing Max Scherzer on the hump, while the Muckdogs countered with Ross Stripling.  The Cows draw first blood with a RBI slow roller ground out after Matt Carpenter singled and Adolis Garcia doubled.  The Muckdogs countered in the bottom half on a solo blast by Franchy Cordova.  In the bottom of the fourth Cordero got his second RBI of the game on a bases loaded walk by Scherzer.  After a shallow fly out by Kevin Kiermaier for the first out, Donovan Solano singled in a run.  But Scherzer recovered to strike out Christian Vazquez and Jose Ramirez to end the threat. Jackson answered with two runs of their own in the top of the 5th on a RBI single by Xander Bogaerts and a SF by Carpenter.  Kiermaier prevented further damage by making a catch against the wall in deep CF. Taylor Trammell doubled in Kyle Schwarber to put the Muckdogs back on top 4-3 in the bottom of the 5th.  The Cows threatened in the 7th by loading the bases but Jarlin Garcia got Carpenter to strikeout and Garcia on another deep fly ball to center.  The Muckdog’s Mike Trout tagged Connor Overton with one on in the bottom of the 7th to extend the lead to 6-3. The Cows got one back on a solo HR by Ramon Urias in the eighth.  The Muckdogs brought in their usually reliable closer who had a meltdown in game 1.  Could he close this one out for the Muckdogs’ first win of the series or would he meltdown again? Kenley Jansen got Albert Pujols to fly out to Trout to start the inning.  Then another LH homer was allowed by Jansen, his third HRA of the series. The Cows are now trailing only by 1 with the middle of the lineup coming up.  Bogaerts grounded out.  Which brought up Carpenter, could he tie the game again vs Jansen?  He swings and chips a bloop single into right.  Manager Lou Landhuis calls on Nolan Gorman to tie or get a go ahead homer vs the lefty vulnerable pitcher.  The 1-2 pitch is grounded to Andres Gimenez to seal the first win to send the home crowd home happy.  Jackson still leads the series by 2-1, with another Batavia home game coming tomorrow. Jeff McNeil and Bogaerts are both hitting over 500, Bogaerts has 4 doubles and McNeil has 2 doubles and 1 HR.  Game MVP Mike Trout hit his second HR of the series.

Game 4 – With one win under their belt, the Muckdogs hope to continue the momentum to tie the series in game 4.  The #4 starters (Adam Wainwright for Batavia, Garrett Hill for Jackson) both had their struggles during the regular season and they both hope to give their respective clubs a good outing,  Wainwright prevented a crooked number in the second by wiggling out of a bases loaded, 1 out situation.  He almost got out unscathed as the league leading DP inducer got a RBI groundout that Randy Arozarena beat out the relay.  Jackson got a second tally in the 3rd on a HR by ex-Muckdog Vogelbach.  Hill had tamed the Muckdog lineup until the bottom of the third where Jose Ramirez had a solo shot of his own.  Both starters continued to quiet the bats until the top of the 5th.  Jackson’s Adolis Garcia smacks a bases loaded single, chasing home Arozarena and Jeff McNeil, for a 4-1 lead. Giovanny Gallegos entered for Jackson in the bottom of the 6th, and promptly got 2 Ks from Mike Trout and Andres Gimenez, but then gave up 2 BB and a big fly.  Gallegos was very good vs RHB but made a mistake to light hitting Donovan Solano.  Now with game tied 4 a piece, the wheels start spinning for the managers.  Batavia’s manager, Mark Landhuis, was trying to stretch Wainwright one more inning by bringing him out to start the top of the 7th.  McNeil jacks his 2nd HR of the series and Xander Bogaerts reaches for the second time in the game on an error by Ramirez. Hirokazu Sawamura enters the game to get Game 1 hero Matt Carpenter pinch hitting for Vogelbach to flyout deep to RF, then allowed a RBI double to Garcia and walked Urias to finish his minimum batters.  The Muckdogs knowing that they would most likely face lefty killer Albert Pujols, still brought in lefty Jarlin Garcia.  Pujols squared up the ball but it was right at the well position CF Trout for the out.  AJ Minter was brought in to face LHBs Nolan Jones and Kyle Schwarber and Ramirez who is a lesser hitter vs LHP sandwiched between them.  Manager Mark Landhuis countered by lifting Jones for Nelson Velazquez.  He responded by hitting 2-2 fastball over the LF fence.  Minter gets Ramirez and Schwarber as expected, but Trout took him deep to tie the ballgame 6 a piece.  Minter had allowed only 2 runs all year prior to this inning. Wil Crowe who finished the 7th then gave up a PH solo blast from Charles Leblanc to put the Muckdogs ahead by one with Jackson down to their final 3 outs.  Muckdog manager decides to leave his 8th inning reliever Collin McHugh to face LH McNeil, red hot Bogaerts and maybe game 1 hero Carpenter, not fully trusting Kenley Jansen vs LHBs in close games.  McHugh gets McNeil to fly to deep CF, but walks Bogaerts who steals second on a close play.  Carpenter grounds to 1st for a unassisted PO, but advances the runner to 3rd.  McHugh is now tired, so Jansen enters the game with the tying run 90 feet away and hot hitting Garcia and the plate.  Jansen narrowly escapes as Garcia smoked liner to LF but due to the defense being perfectly placed, the side is retired.  The series is now tied at 2 games each. McNeil, Bogaerts and Garcia are all hitting above .400.  There have been 18 HRs in the series (10 by Jackson) and 17 doubles (12 by Jackson) in 4 games.

Game 5 – The Muckdogs evened the series at 2-2 and hoped to see the home field advantage continue with their ace Zac Gallen on the mound.  However, they were facing the Holy Cows ace Jason Verlander.  The Cows struck first with a single by white hot Xander Bogaerts and a Matt Carpenter big fly making it a quick 2-0 before the Muckdogs picked up a bat.  Bogaerts started another rally by singling and advancing Jeff McNeil to second.  A costly PB set up another Carpenter RBI on a sac fly.  Now down 3-0, Gallen gave up a solo HR to Ramon Urias.  Manager Mark Landhuis elected to keep with his ace even with the team down 4-0 after 5.  Gallen was greeted in the 6th with a deep fly by Albert Pujols that was caught on the warning track, followed by an Adolis Garcia bomb, Urias walk and finally a light hitting Kyle Higashioka’s third hit of the game. Hirokazu Sawamura relieved Gallen and promptly uncorked a WP to extend the Cows lead to 6-0.  Meanwhile, Cows ace Verlander was cruising with the only near blemish was erased by a laser throw by Randy Arozarena to nab Kyle Schwarber at the plate to close the 1st inning.  Verlander then proceeded to eliminate 15 of the next 17 batters.  The Muckdogs were able to break through finally in the bottom of the eighth on a solo PH HR by Taylor Trammell.  The Cow’s Verlander humbly stated “I just wanted to put my team into a position to win” after his 100 pitch 3H, 5K over 6IP shut down the high powered Muckdog offense.  The Cows are now in the driver’s seat with a 3-2 series lead and on the brink of advancing to the NLCS.  The Muckdogs will need to win 2 in a row on the road to advance. 

Game 6 – Game 2 matchup of Jordan Montgomery and Miles Mikolas is repeated here for game #6.  The Muckdogs look to even the series and force a game 7 after being shut completely down by Justin Verlander and the Holy Cows bullpen.  The visitors get on the board first with a Mike Trout solo missile.  But the Cows counter with 3 runs of their own in the bottom of the 2nd. With bases loaded and 1 out Randy Arozarena singles in both Dylan Carlson and Adolis Garcia.  White-hot Xander Bogaerts follows with an RBI single to score Jeff McNeil, 3-1.  Jose Ramirez narrows the lead to one with a solo shot to RF in the 3rd.  And the rally continued, but ended on a 6-4-3 double play (Jackson’s 9th in the series vs Batavia’s 0) before the Muckdogs could score another run.  Both starters were inefficient and were nearing being tired going into the 5th.  Mikolas Ks Kyle Schwarber to start the inning, but walked Trout.  Cows’ manager lifts Mikolas for Zack Thompson who gets Andres Gimenez to fly out deep to CF, but walks PH Nelson Velazquez and back-to-back jacks by PH Thairo Estrada and PH Donovan Solano. Wil Crowe finishes the inning.  Montgomery allows a leadoff HR to Kyle Higashioka.  Batavia manager Mark Landhuis brings in Adrian Houser to relieve Monty and quickly Ks Garcia and Nolan Gorman.  But the next 3 reach on a Carlson HR, McNeil BB and Arozarena Single. Hirokazu Sawamura induces a groundout with runners at the corners to end the rally, BMD 6, JHC 5.  After a quiet 6th, the Muckdogs get two more runs in the 7th on a 2R HR by Kevin Kiermaier to extend the Batavia lead to 8-5.  The bottom half of the 7th saw the Cows get the go-ahead run to the plate with one out.  Batavia Manager Mark Landhuis elects to leave Jarlin Garcia in to get out of his own mess.  He gets Dan Vogelbach to line out and Ji Man Choi to ground out to 2B to end the threat. Collin McHugh pitched a clean 8th and faced hot LHB McNeil to start the ninth.  McNeil flied out to center. Kenley Jansen enters to get the final 2 outs by inducing a Arozarena flyout to deep LF and Bogaerts to strike out.  Series tied at 3. McNeil and Bogaerts are still hitting above .400.  Solano is hitting over .500 for BMD.  There are now 30 HRs in the 6 games played in the series (16 by Jackson) and Trout leads with 4 HRs.  Anything can happen in a game 7.  The SP matchup will be Ross Stripling for BMD and the traded for this purposed Max Scherzer for JHC.  Stay tuned for tomorrow’s exciting conclusion of the NLDS between these two slugging teams.

Game 7 – Game 7 of this highly offensive series has a matchup of Max Scherzer for the Cows and Ross Stripling for the ‘Dogs. Manager Lou Landhuis in the pregame interview stated, “This game is why the front office pulled the trigger on a deal to bring Max here. We already had Justin Verlander and Miles Mikolas, but needed the final piece to get us deep into the playoffs.” Manager Mark Landhuis when asked about facing his brother in a big game 7, “I am not even sure what our record versus each other in the many times we have faced off against each other in the past nor can I recall us squaring off in a playoff Game 7. Both clubs are playing well and you hate to see either team lose. I just hope the Muckdogs can prevail against unflappable Scherzer and their explosive lineup.” Scherzer started the game by retiring the first 10 batters and got out of a 4th inning jam where he walked Kyle Schwarber and nailed Andres Gimenez in the thigh, but got Mike Trout to ground out and struck out Taylor Trammell to end the threat. Stripling matched Scherzer through 3 with giving up only a single to Adolis Garcia to lead off the second. In the bottom of the 4th, Jeff McNeil led off with a double off the left-center wall and Xander Bogaerts chased him home with a single to break the ice. Both pitchers made quick work of the 5th inning. Max’s magic was finally broken with a leadoff HR by potential MVP Jose Ramirez. Schwarber and Trout both took Max deep, but not deep enough sandwiched around a Gimenez K. “New ball game!!” could be heard from the Muckdog bench with the score now tied at 1 a piece. But rookie Corbin Carroll greeted Stripling with a leadoff double and scored on potential series MVP Bogaerts single up the middle, just out of the reach of a diving Gimenez. Bogaerts then scored a couple of batters later on Ramon Urias’s RBI single, Cows 3 ‘Dogs 1. But Batavia was given a gift with Scherzer still on the mound, Urias had a errant throw that pulled Ji Man Choi off the bag. Nolan Jones advanced on a Franchy Cordero single, and that ended Scherzer’s day. AJ Minter, the Cows lefty specialist, was brought in to face LHB Kevin Kiermaier, The Muckdog’s manager decided to let Kiermaier face the LHP as he wanted his good glovework in the close game. Kiermaier responded by crushing the ball off the wall in left center, scoring Jones. The third base coach decided to hold up Cordero at third with no outs and runners on 2nd and 3rd. The probabilities were in favor of scoring one and possibly more runs, but the bottom two of the order were due up. Minter being another addition made mid-season with an eye to a deep playoff run, needed to be at his best at this crucial point in this crucial game. He answered the call by getting Donovan Solano to whiff, Christian Vazquez to pop up to 1st and Ramirez to weakly ground back to the mound. The fire was extinguished to preserve the 3-2 lead after 6 and a half. After a quiet bottom of the 7th and both ends of the eighth, the slim one-run margin was in need preservation for a Jackson trip to the NLCS. Scott Barlow was still on the mound after getting the final two outs in the 8th, and was assigned to get a 5 out save. Cordero smashed his 3-1 offering to the wall but not over it, landing in Garcia’s glove in deep CF. Kiermaier pulled a grounder to Choi at 1st unassisted for out number 2. The Muckdogs down to their last strike on a 2-2 count, Solano singles to keep Batavia alive. The tiring Barlow was relieved by righty killer Giovanny Gallegos to face RHB Vazquez. Manager Mark Landhuis did not have a LHB left on the bench to face the lefty vulnerable Gallegos. However, Vazquez was able to get his bat on a opposite field bloop single, and Solano advanced to 3rd. Now with the tying run 90 feet away and potential go ahead run on 1st, Batavia’s best hitter steps to the plate. Skipper Lou Landhuis had really hoped that the game ended with Vazquez, but now his matchup did not look so good. Gallegos who struggled vs LHB and Ramirez who crushed RHP gave the Muckdogs hope to maybe pull this game out and advance. But alas, Gallegos got Ramirez to ground out to McNeil to end the game and the series. The Holy Cows home town fans erupted into a joyous roar, and the players tumbled in to a celebratory dogpile near second base to rejoice in their victory. The series was a hard fought series with two worthy opponents. Looking back, the fateful bottom of the ninth in game one was a major deciding factor in the series. “We wish the Jackson team luck in the next series as we had our chances to be in their shoes but just came up short” said a dejected Muckdog 3B Ramirez, “We have an excellent core of players and should be right back in the playoffs next year.” The jubilant Jackson manager/GM Lou Landhuis shouted between showers of beer and champagne, “Maxie (Scherzer) and AJ (Minter) did what we brought them here to do, win in the playoffs. We still have work to do but we are going to enjoy this win tonight. Also, you have to give it up for the Batavia club as they battled us to the very end.”