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Indians Indians Archive Columbus, Kinston Advance to Championsip Series
Written by Al Ciammiachella

Al Ciammiachella

Well, the Indians are pretty much out of postseason contention, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have playoff baseball in the organization! Both theHolt_628x800 AAA Columbus Clippers and High A Kinston Indians advanced in their respective playoffs this past week. Columbus will play for Governor’s Cup 2nd straight year, and Kinston will be making an appearance in the Carolina League championship series and play for the Mills Cup. For Kinston, it would be a great sendoff for the city, as the K-Tribe are moving to Zebulon next year to play as the Carolina Mudcats, and this will be the final season of minor league baseball in Kinston for the foreseeable future.


Columbus dispatched the Durham Bulls (Tampa Bay AAA affiliate) in three games, sweeping them right out of the International League playoffs. In game one of the series, Zach McAllister outdueled Durham starter Matt Moore, probably the best pitching prospect in all of baseball. Moore allowed 3 runs on 9 hits with 3 strikeouts, which doesn’t sound all that bad until you consider that he put up a 1.37 ERA with 79 K in 52 2/3 AAA innings this year. Meanwhile, McAllister turned in 6 shutout innings before turning things over to the bullpen in a 3-0 victory. OF Chad Huffman went 2-4 with a 2B and a big 2-run HR, and Beau Mills, Travis Buck and Nick Johnson also collected a pair of hits apiece.


Game two wasn’t as close, as the Clippers jumped ahead with 3 runs in the 1st inning and coasted to an 8-3 victory. Mitch Talbot got the start and the win, throwing 7 innings while giving up 2 ER on 7 hits, striking out 5 and walking a pair. Akron closer Cory Burns came on to get the final out of the game, although it wasn’t a save situation. Chad Huffman was again the offensive star, going 3-5 with a HR, 2 RBI, a 2B and 2 runs scored. Beau Mills and Travis Buck again had two hits each, as well as Akron SS Juan Diaz who was called up for the playoffs. Every Columbus starter reached base at least once with the exception of Jared Goedert, who went 0-5. The Clipper hitters beat up Durham starting pitcher Chris Archer, who was one of the pitchers the Indians gave up in the Mark DeRosa deal prior to the 2008 season.


The clincher was another well-pitched game, as the Clip Show jumped out to a 3-1 lead in the 3rd inning and held on to win 5-2. Joe Martinez started for Columbus, and went 8 innings, giving up 2 ER on 9 hits with 4 strikeouts. Zach Putnam came on in the 9th for his 2nd save of the series, having also nailed down the game 1 victory. Chad Huffman was held homerless, but did walk and score a run. Nick Johnson went 3-4 with 2 2B, 2 RBI and a run scored. Jerad Head returned to the Columbus lineup and went 2-4 with a 2B.


The Clippers will take on the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs (Philadelphia AAA affiliate) in the International League Championship Series, beginning Tuesday the 13th. The first two games of the series are at Huntington Park in Columbus.


Meanwhile in the Carolina League, Kinston beat Myrtle Beach three games to one to win the Southern Division and clinch a spot in the Carolina League Championship Series. Kinston dropped game one, then ran off three straight victories to move themselves one step closer to the Mills Cup (not named for Beau Mills). Clayton Cook got the start for the K-Tribe in game one, and allowed 2 ER in 5 innings of work, but the Kinston offense went stagnant in a 4-1 loss. Tyler Holt was the only player with more than one hit, as he went 2-3 with a walk, 2 SB and a run scored, but it wasn’t enough to spark the rest of the K-Tribe hitters. Bo Greenwell had the lone XBH, a double to lead off the 6th, but he was stranded on 3rd after a walk and a sac bunt.


Aguilar1_621x800Game two was a tense, seesaw affair that ended up going 11 innings. Myrtle Beach jumped all over Kinston starting pitcher Francisco Jimenez for 5 unearned runs in 2/3 of an inning, and things looked bleak for a Kinston team who sometimes struggled to score runs this season. But the offense came roaring back with 6 runs in the next two innings, and the score was knotted at 6-6 after 3. The score would stay 6-6 until the top of the 11th, when Jesus Aguilar and Casey Frawley came through with RBI singles to make it 8-6 Kinston. Lockdown closer Preston Gulimet made the lead stand up with a 1-2-3 11th, and the series was all tied up at 1 game apiece. Toru Muratu earned the victory by striking out the side in the 10th, while Gio Soto (2 IP), Cody Allen (3 IP) and Nick Sarianides (3 1/3 IP, 1 ER) combined to hold the Myrtle Beach offense in check out of the bullpen. Tyler Holt, Jeremie Tice, Casey Frawley and Tyler Cannon each had two hits for the Kinston offense, with Cannon’s grand slam in the 3rd inning being the big blow for the K-Tribe.


Game three was downright boring compared to the drama of game two, as Kinston jumped out to a 5-0 lead after two and coasted to a 7-0 victory. Michael Goodnight started on the bump and threw 5 shutout innings, allowing 4 hits while striking out 6 and walking two. Chris Jones, Trey Haley and Preston Guilmet followed up with 4 hitless innings of relief, and the K-Tribe had a 2-1 lead in the series. Leadoff hitter Tyler Holt again had a big day at the dish, going 3-5 with a double, a triple, 4 RBI and a run scored. Adam Abraham provided the rest of the offense, going 2-3 with a HR and 3 RBI.


Carolina League Manager of the Year Aaron Holbert decided on Mike Rayl as his game 4 starter. Rayl made that decision look good by throwing 5 innings, allowing two runs on 5 hits while striking out 5 and walking two. Rayl left the game with a 3-2 lead thanks to Big, Bad Jesus Aguliar’s massive 3-run HR in the bottom of the 4th. Kinston added 5 insurance runs in the bottom of the 8th to take out any remaining drama, and the 3-1 series victory was clinched. Bo Greenwell went 3-5 with 2 2B and 2 RBI in the victory, and Tyler Holt and Adam Abraham each had a pair of hits (again). Holt batted an even .500 for the series, and Abraham was right behind him with an impressive .455 mark. Kinston now moves on to take on the winner of Northern Division, where Frederick leads Potomac 2-1 in a best of 5 series.

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