1/18 Baseball Practice Notes

Taylor's impressive preseason continues

After a pitching-dominated first week of practice, the hitters are making their mark in week #2. Three players connected for home runs during Thursday's practice game while a freshman continues his push for immediate playing time in the starting lineup. Here are complete practice notes from Sunken Diamond.

The hitters appear to be settling in during preseason practice at Sunken Diamond.  A day after the two squads combined for 17 runs, Thursday's contest saw the White Team knock off the Cardinal by a 10-5 margin in yet another slugfest.  Brendan Domaracki led the way for the White squad as the junior outfielder smacked a triple and a home run while driving home three.  Meanwhile, Toby Gerhart remained hot at the plate with a pair of hits and two RBI.

On the Cardinal side, home runs from both Michael Taylor and Adam Gaylord weren't enough.  Austin Yount also supplied three hits in the losing effort.

The White Team scored runs in their first four innings Thursday as a Sean Ratliff RBI triple to deep right center field started the scoring.  In the third inning, Domaracki connected for a line drive three-run homer down the right field line against Yount.  Domaracki's triple in their sixth and final at-bat set up another run.

All five of the Cardinal's runs were via the longball.  Taylor's two-run blast in the third inning got them on the board.  Then later in the frame, Gaylord lofted a high fly ball to left field that just carried over the fence for a three-run blast.

David Stringer was the only effective pitcher of the day firing four shutout innings with just two hits allowed and three strikeouts.


BOXSCORE

Cardinal   0 0 5  0 0 0  0   -   5   8   1
White      2 1 3  3 0 1  X   -  10  11   1

Cardinal         POS   AB   R   H  RBI  BB  SO   AVG
Joey August       LF    4   0   0   0    0   1  .118
Austin Yount       P    3   1   3   0    0   0  .556
Michael Taylor    CF    3   1   1   2    0   0  .600
Grant Escue       1B    3   0   0   0    0   0  .214
Brian Juhl         C    3   1   1   0    1   1  .200
Cord Phelps      3B/2B  3   1   0   0    1   1  .267
Adam Gaylord      SS    3   1   2   3    0   0  .438
Jeff Whitlow      RF    3   0   1   0    0   2  .143
Wande Olabisi     RF    3   0   0   0    0   1  .000

2B: Yount, Gaylord
HR: Taylor (1st, 1 on, 1 out), Gaylord (1st, 2 on, 2 out)

                   IP   H   R  ER  BB  SO
Austin Yount      3.0   6   6   5   1   1
Brandt Walker     2.0   2   3   3   6   0
Rex Petrill       0.0   3   1   1   0   0



White            POS   AB   R   H  RBI  BB  SO   AVG
Toby Gerhart      LF    3   3   2   2    2   0  .375
Sean Ratliff      CF    3   1   1   1    1   0  .357
Brent Milleville   C    3   1   2   2    0   0  .313
Adam Sorgi        DH    3   1   0   1    1   0  .214
Brendan Domaracki RF    3   2   2   3    1   0  .286
Randy Molina     1B/3B  3   0   1   1    1   0  .438
J.J. Jelmini      SS    3   0   0   0    0   1  .214
Stephen Brown    3B/1B  3   1   1   0    1   0  .154
Matt Cano         DH    1   0   1   0    0   0  .200
 Steven Swinford  DH    1   1   1   0    0   0  .400

2B: Molina
3B: Ratliff, Domaracki
HR: Domaracki (1st, 2 on, 0 out)
SB: Gerhart
CS: Domaracki

                   IP   H   R  ER  BB  SO
Max Fearnow       3.0   6   5   5   2   3
David Stringer    4.0   2   0   0   0   3



NOTES
* It was not a good day for the pitchers for the second consecutive afternoon.  There were a couple of exceptions yesterday (Jeremy Bleich and Jeff Inman), but just one today.  Junior David Stringer had a dominant outing on the mound with his four scoreless innings of work.  Stringer burst onto the scene in practice games last preseason which led to a very impressive first half of the season.  The local product tailed off a bit during the second half, but has appeared to have recaptured the magic that allowed him to crack the regular rotation of pitchers last season.  Stringer allowed just two hits today with no walks and three strikeouts.  I mentioned it last week - Stringer probably won't begin the season in the starting rotation, but he'll see significant action out of the bullpen and is a nice option to join the rotation later in the year if needed.

* There were plenty of hitting stars on this day.  After just one home run in the first four games, there were three round-trippers during today's contest.  Taylor continues to rake as the junior's long ball was a mammoth fly ball just to the right of the scoreboard.  Domaracki had a huge afternoon with his triple and home run.  Domaracki, also a junior, is making a push for regular time - especially in right field if Taylor has to move to center with the injury to Ryan Seawell.  Finally, Gaylord has displayed a nice bat in these practice games as the freshman homered and doubled on Thursday.  Gaylord is probably slightly behind sophomore J.J. Jelmini for #2 on the shortstop depth chart, but the future looks bright for the Southern California native.  With the lack of infield recruits over the last three years, it's a welcome sight that Gaylord looks like he could be a really nice player before he's done at Stanford.

* No official word on the absence of Jason Castro, but the sophomore first baseman is sporting a small protective brace on his right, throwing wrist.  Castro was seen throwing on the side with no apparent problem before today's game, so his injury does not appear to be serious. 

* Yount may have struggled on the mound today, but the same could not be said at the plate.  The sophomore has made tremendous improvement offensively since the end of last season and looks fully ready to take over at second base for the graduated Chris Lewis.  Yount was one of the team leaders in batting average during Fall Ball and has surprising power from the left side.  On Thursday, Yount went 3-for-3 with three solid hits including a double to right.  Yount is batting second in the order for his team during intrasquads, but figures to bat toward the bottom of the order once the real games start.

* Gerhart continues to show he's ready for immediate playing time with another solid effort at the plate.  Gerhart connected for a pair of line drive singles early in the contest against Yount before walking twice.  In his last at-bat, the freshman drove a fly ball that was caught at the warning track in right field - very impressive opposite field power.  Gerhart also stole a base for the second consecutive afternoon.  The ball just seems to jump off of his bat every time (much like with Taylor).  There's nothing he can't do on the field and the fact he remains in the leadoff spot in the batting order is a telling sign the coaching staff thanks Gerhart is ready to play - and start - immediately.

* Max Fearnow started relatively strong with a pair of scoreless innings before surrendering five runs - on the two homers (Taylor and Gaylord) in his third and final inning of work.  Fearnow jumped ahead of Taylor 0-2 and tried to sneak a fastball by the slugger only to see Michael blast it over the fence for the homer.

* Brandt Walker has impressive stuff, but the freshman had major problems finding the strike zone today walking six batters in just two innings.  With outings like that, it's hard to see the Texas native pitching in key late-inning situations early in the season.

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